Nova Scotia

Car parts, chunks of metal from old Inverness dump washing up on local beach

The county council in Inverness, N.S., is looking to the provincial and federal governments for help because the old town dump is increasingly spilling more of its contents into the ocean, affecting a popular beach.

Councillor says dump used to produce sea glass, but beach now being fouled with rusty old metal

Garbage from the historical town dump in Inverness, N.S., is making its way onto the popular beach due to shore erosion along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. (Submitted by Jim Mustard)

The old town dump in Inverness, N.S., is increasingly spilling more of its contents into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and that's affecting the beach that's popular with locals and tourists.

Coun. Jim Mustard said erosion used to uncover old glass bottles that disintegrated in the waves and then returned to the beach.

Now, he said, the problem is getting out of hand.

"I think the dump was traditionally right along the shore, but maybe it's just eroded that fast, back now into some more substantial materials," said Mustard.

"Historically, I think that's where the beach glass came from ... which is a great tourist attraction, but now we're finding the storms are of greater magnitude and they're just eroding more of the bank away and what's showing up is big chunks of old car parts and metal."

Inverness County council is asking the federal and provincial governments for help.

Inverness County Coun. Jim Mustard says other levels of government likely have experience remediating shores affected by erosion and may have funding to help. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Mustard said the now-closed dump may be a municipal responsibility, but other levels of government likely have experience remediating shores affected by erosion and may have funding programs to help.

Municipal officials say it's not clear when the dump closed, because it was never owned by the county. It was likely part of the former coal mine in the area.

Rose Mary MacDonald, president of the Inverness Development Association, said a lot of work has been done to protect the beach, and it's obvious more needs to be done.

"They're going to need some help," she said of the county. "That's a destination point. Do you really want tourists coming along and seeing old rusty car parts?"

The association has spent time and money helping protect some of the shoreline from erosion by building up the boardwalk.

Some of the heavy stone got moved around by Hurricane Dorian last fall, said MacDonald, and the accessible portion of the beach will have to be rebuilt following that storm.

As well, the association and others complained to the county last summer about sewage wastewater fouling the ocean and the beach. The smell even blanketed part of the town.

Inverness Development Association president Rose Mary MacDonald organized a rally in 2019 over odour and bacterial discharge from the town's sewage system. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

The town's sewage treatment system has been overwhelmed by rapid growth after the opening of the nearby Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs golf courses, and since this summer, the county has been taking steps to resolve the sewage problems.

On Monday, Inverness issued a request for proposals for studies into upgrades to the sewage treatment system.

MacDonald said erosion is causing the dump problem, and she is hopeful the county can access funding to help maintain and improve the shoreline, especially the most popular sections.

"There had to be 30,000 people that came to that beach last year," she said. "We don't want to lose that beach."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Ayers

Reporter/Editor

Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for 36 years. He has spent half of them covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at tom.ayers@cbc.ca.

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