Excavator causing kerfuffle again in Witless Bay

Police received complaints from Witless Bay on Friday afternoon after an excavator was seen doing work near Ragged Beach.

Nearby residents told CBC News heavy equipment was noticed off of Mullowney's Lane Friday morning clearing out parts of the brush. 

Some residents believe owners of property near Ragged Beach are trying to create a driveway into properties that currently do not have one. 

Derek Belbin lives directly across from the construction. He said the town bought Crown land off Mullowney's Lane in order to build overflow parking for people visiting Ragged Beach.

Meg Roberts/CBC

But Belbin doesn't think the decision had anything to do with a need for more parking, he sees it as an excuse to allow property owners to get access to their properties through Crown land. 

Neighbour upset

The town clear cut the land earlier this year. 

"We can't even look out at our own garden now because it upsets us so much," said Belbin. "I get so upset that I could just break down and cry."

Once police arrived on scene the excavator stopped working.

Meg Roberts/CBC

However, the owner of the property where the excavating work was being done told CBC News that he had all the required permits was not told to stop.

When CBC News attempted to talk to someone at the town office on Friday afternoon the building was closed.

Calling for accountability

Belbin said town council needs to be more transparent, and he wants to see the provincial government hold the municipality more accountable. 

"People in this town are sick and tired of complaining to the MHAs and the government departments that are supposed to take an interest to that and it's falling on deaf ears," said Belbin. 

Meg Roberts/CBC

Some residents are concerned if a driveway is built in to the properties on Ragged Beach it will lead to development of a subdivision. 

However, both the town and the property owners have told CBC News they do not want to see a subdivision in the area.

In August, residents were up in arms when an excavator was creating what was said to be a retaining wall on the beach. People feared it was clearing a path to a piece of private property to further a private development in the area.

In that case, the work was shut down because the town didn't have proper permits to be working that close to the water.

At the time, the property owner and the Town of Witless Bay denied that claim.

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