I'm going to court today in Oromocto and I would happily plead guilty if anyone asked me to take the stand. Fortunately the judge will not be addressing me directly as I'm going to be watching the proceedings as an interested third party only.
I am guilty of caring, and not shy to speak out. I care about the lake with whom I have a common law relationship. Strictly speaking, I'm not married to the lake, but I am in so many ways. I live in Cambridge-Narrows because of the lake, period. If someone harms the lake, then it's my job to ensure that the law is upheld. I want my rights protected. I want my lake to thrive because, without it, I have no home, or sense of place.
Within the last two years an incredibly beautiful new home was built on a property which borders my lake. I have a fondness for residential architecture and this new house meets my ideals for aesthetic splendour. Sure, the house is bit big to be considered responsible in these times of pending resource shortages, but that's likely just the result of one man's ego. It happens everywhere in the world, every day, so it's nothing shocking. My point is that I love the house and it's a pleasure to see it. There is one problem, however.
The problem is not with the house, it's with the landscraping. As you can see in the upper image, a massive retaining wall was built into the lake. Strictly speaking, the wall was built on land that the homeowner does not own. The Province, that means you and me, owns the land between the water and the high water mark,if my interpretation of the law is correct. This area, which merges the land to the water, is known as the riparian zone, and it's crucial that it be left unscathed.
Sadly, in the case of this property, the riparian zone was completely, utterly, unquestionably raped. Yes, raped.
Occasionally the Department of Environment and/or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans gives out permits to land owners for water course alterations, or tweaks to the shoreline. Apparently, this was not the case for this property. The second of the two images shows that the owner, after the fact, removed the lower of the two large retaining walls. By the letter of the law, the upper retaining wall is still in violation of the law, or at least that's my understanding. That's a totally different court case, to be heard at a later date.
The damage to the shoreline has been done, but it's important that the law be interpreted so this doesn't happen again. It will take years for this shore to rebuild and become the filter that it once was. The shoreline, and subsequently the lake, can't sustain heavy equipment tampering with its integrity.
It's the contractor, who scraped the shoreline and built the wall in defiance of our laws, who will be appearing in court today. I'm going because I'm also guilty of being curious. I want to see how our justice system works. I have faith that it will.
You'll hear the ruling, when it is made. Unfortunately there won't be pictures because cameras aren't allowed in the courtroom, but I have another ingenious plan...stay tuned.