No day at the beach: Borden-Carleton residents angry about the state of their shores

Some residents of Borden-Carleton are upset with Maritime Electric about what the company's submarine cable project has done to a nearby beach.

Maritime Electric buried two submarine cables on the beach this winter

Residents of Borden-Carleton are upset about how the beach looks after Maritime Electric's submarine cable project was finished. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Some residents of Borden-Carleton are upset with Maritime Electric about what the company's submarine cable project has done to a nearby beach.

Installation involved digging up a portion of the beach in order to bury the cables, which meant residents were unable to use it last summer.

"We voiced our concern that we didn't want to lose the beach, we wanted it to basically remain the same," said Laurel Palmer-Thompson, a resident of Borden-Carleton.

"And they had told us that once they were completed with the project, we wouldn't really know they were there."

'Very important beach'

Palmer-Thompson said one of the problems with the beach in its current state is it isn't as accessible to residents as it used to be.

The beach is now partially blocked by a riprap wall--  a layer of rock to protect the newly installed cables from the elements. But the wall is making it difficult for residents to walk along the beach, especially when the tide is in.

"It was a very, you know, communal area. It's very important to people in our town," she said.

"Residents want to come back down and use their beach."

Palmer-Thompson also said that as part of the agreement, Maritime Electric was supposed to "designate a trail for residents within the town to access the beach," something residents are still waiting for.

'Absolutely Essential'

The riprap wall is covering more of the beach than originally planned, but Kim Griffin, spokesperson for Maritime Electric, said erosion in the area was greater than the company expected, which meant the wall had to be enlarged.

"We had to make a larger riprap area than initially thought, but it's absolutely essential to protect those cables," she said.

The beach in Borden-Carleton had red shores before Maritime Electric installed the submarine cables. (Submitted by Laurel Palmer-Thompson)

Griffin also said Maritime Electric owns the affected land, but is committed to making the situation acceptable.

'Not really a great first impression'

Original plans for the riprap wall called for the use of red sandstone, but Griffin said when the company tried to purchase the rock, there wasn't any available.

That has changed the shores from red in colour to grey.

The riprap wall is made up of boulder-like rocks and helps protect the cable from damage. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"It's not really a great first impression when people come across the bridge," said Palmer-Thompson. 

"When you're approaching Prince Edward Island from the Confederation Bridge, this is one of the first views you see, is the red banks. Now we have this huge swatch of granite sandstone from New Brunswick or Nova Scotia on our banks."

"That's fine if they wanted to stabilize the bank but they should have used natural sandstone," said Palmer-Thompson.

Laurel Palmer-Thompson, a resident of Borden-Carleton, says the grey granite used in the riprap wall doesn't give people crossing the Confederation Bridge a good "first impression." (Nicole Williams/CBC)

'Win-win solution'

Griffin said Maritime Electric is "committed to keeping our word, and it's very important for us to do that."

She said the company is working with the town to come up with a plan going forward.

Kim Griffin, spokesperson for Maritime Electric, says the company is working the representatives from Borden-Carleton to find a solution that makes residents happy. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"We are looking at options, we're pricing out a couple of options, to meet with the town within the next two weeks to show them," Griffin said.

"I've been meeting with them very often just to try and find a solution that we would like to take to council and/ or the residents."

"We're trying to find a win-win solution for the residents of Borden-Carleton."

With files from Nicole Williams