Editor's note: the following article was first published in the June 26, 2012 print edition of The Compass.
A second attempt to fill in much of a small pond known as The Glam in Clarke's Beach again stirred up controversy last week after a property dispute erupted between two landowners, one of whom is the deputy mayor and the other is a prominent medical doctor in the region.
And concerns continued to be expressed about the decision to fill in the pond, with some saying it will increase the likelihood of flooding for some neighbourhood homeowners.
The town council recently endorsed a plan to fill in a portion of the tennis court-sized pond adjacent to the municipal building in order to make way for an expansion to the public works building, and create additional parking. The town has set aside some $10,000 for the earth work, said one town official.
A similar undertaking in 2010 was abruptly halted after provincial environment officials intervened following complaints from area residents. It turned out the town had not acquired the proper permits.
The town has since completed the necessary paperwork, officials have stated.
Council voted to hire a local contracting company to haul earth to the site at its June 11 meeting. Council also agreed to accept a suggestion from Deputy Mayor Kevin Hussey that the fill be taken — free-of-charge — from what he claimed was a bank of earth on his property, which is located a short distance away at the end of Wilsonville Avenue.
Work began on Wednesday, and by Thursday, much of the fill — some say more than 150 tandem truck loads — had been transported to the pond.
But a dispute has since flared between Hussey and another landowner, Dr. Robert Humber, over property boundaries. The RCMP was called to the scene on Thursday after Humber showed up, carrying documents he says proves he owns much of the property and all of the fill taken from the site.
Hussey sold some of the land to Humber last summer, and Humber had plans to build a house on the site.
When contacted on Friday, Hussey said he "wasn't looking for a racket with anybody," and suggested the land dispute would either be settle amicably or make its way to the court system.
"I just hope there's a peaceful resolution to this," he said, adding that all of the fill taken was on his land.
For his part, Dr. Humber was expressing disbelief and anger when reached by The Compass. He accused Hussey and the contracting company of "desecrating" his land, and vowed to take whatever measures are necessary to rectify the situation.
Meanwhile, Amanda Ralph, who lives on Wilsonville Avenue and is a member of the town's recreation commission, opposes the decision to fill in the pond. She said it has served as an overflow during spring run-off, and she said some fear the water will have "nowhere to go" once The Glam is filled in.
As Ralph voiced her concerns on Thursday, steam rose from the freshly disturbed pond, carrying an unpleasant stench. Two ducks could also be seen feeding in the water.
Hussey downplayed any flooding concerns, saying that proper ditching will be carried out.
In the past, Mayor Betty Moore and Hussey have voted against motions to fill in The Glam. Hussey said once a decision by a majority of council is made, he has to abide by that decision.
Some have suggested that by donating the fill to the town, Hussey was improving the value of his land. That's why, Hussey said, he was careful to excuse himself from any debate or voting on the matter.
"I just gave it away to get it off my property," Hussey said of the fill.
He also expressed concern that someone might get hurt.
"There were children flying over that bank on their bikes," he added.
Mayor Moore, when contacted, continued to express concerns about filling in the pond, saying "I never really wanted that."