Kloiya Bay is private property and is not open to the public to treat as they see fit, property owners PEP Co. said, on April 27. It may be the old case of a few spoiling it for the majority.
Port Edward Power and Water Company, a bulk water supply and bottling organization, is the private owner of the 307-acre property which runs for 11 km from Taylor Lake to a trestle that crosses into Port Edward heading to Watson Island.
This span includes Kloiya Bay, the popular and only saltwater beach access, in the region which has for years been open to the public, but which may soon be closed.
Spokesperson for the company and Managing Director Peter Tiani told The Northern View that garbage is the main reason they are considering closing off the public access to Kloiya Bay and placing locks at the roadway.
“The reality is, it is private property. We left the gate open in the beginning and there were no issues. But now there are issues,” he said.
PEP Co. likens the situation to a private homeowner finding someone pitching a tent in their backyard and leaving the mess behind.
Unauthorized long-term campers, bags of household garbage, broken bottles, furniture, and appliances are being dumped on the property, which is time-consuming and expensive to keep cleaning up.
Tiani said if ‘everyone’ is using the property then ‘everyone’ should contribute to the clean-up costs. The company has tried to engage other interested parties in sharing the responsibilities, however as it is private land, legal liabilities are also a factor.
“It’s not a case that we want to lock the gate, it’s a case that we are kind of getting forced to lock the gate,” he said.
Mayor of Port Edward Knut Bjorndal said the district did assist with some road maintenance and garbage collection over the years until last month when the garbage bins were removed. However, Bjorndal said it was costing the district almost $20,000 per year for a property they didn’t own and that situation could not continue for the small municipality.
The property which consists of 52 lots is for sale, but PEP Co. believes the property is ideal for park spaces and should be for everyone.
“The best solution is that [BC Parks] takes it over and it actually becomes a park of some sort,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a perfect place for a park with fantastic access.”
Tiani said the company doesn’t wish to be painted with the wrong brush or be seen as the bad guys. He just wants people to understand where they are coming from regarding the garbage and legal liability. He said it is completely ‘unfair’ for the public to misuse the property with the owners having to foot the bill for clean up.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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