(CNS): Woody DaCosta, the new chair of the Public Lands Commission and a long-time strong advocate for maintaining access to local beaches, told CNS he was serious when it came to resolving any obstacle “to significant access to the beach”.
This week, the commission’s inspection warned all landowners that it is currently re-inspecting all riparian public rights-of-way and that they should remove anything blocking access, as they could break the law and they have already found that some landowners have taken deliberate steps to block access.
The growing attempts by riparian owners to prevent the public from crossing their land to access the beach are of particular public concern that goes to the very heart of local culture.
Chief Public Lands Inspector Winsome Prendergast said: “During inspections we came across recorded accesses to the shoreline that are being intentionally blocked by landowners. We want to alert the public that we are currently working to clear all blocked registered public accesses and erect standardized public access signs for better identification of public access points.
DaCosta said this commission will be very active and is already working hard to ensure that public access is properly preserved.
“This commission has the full support of the ministry and we look forward to ensuring that the public has meaningful access to the beach and that when access is blocked we quickly address the issue,” he said. . “Everyone knows that I have been very frank and that I have publicly expressed the importance of preserving public access to our beaches.”
Da Costa said that by the New Year, the commission will have its own website where the minutes of its meetings, maps of beach access points, legislation that protects access and other information. related documents will be available to the public.
The commission is currently working on the necessary changes to the laws to ensure continued protections and close gaps, DaCosta said. He further noted that the committee hopes to work with the Central Planning Authority to become one of the agencies consulted when access is a problem in a development application, which is very often the case for properties in the area. beach and seaside.
But DaCosta confirmed that the CPA neither consulted the commission nor informed it of an app that has been listed last week for a multi-million dollar house at Prospect Point where landowners demanded that their obligation to provide a 12-foot beach access point on the site be lifted, saying it was not necessary as there are other access points along the road where the house will be built.
The minutes indicating whether or not the request was examined and what the result was are not yet available.
The PLC advises all landowners to remove any blockage to public access recorded on their land. If a landowner has any doubts about registered public access to their property, they can contact the Public Lands Commission at [email protected] or (345) 946-7110.
See here for more information on the Public Lands Commission and to review the entire Public Lands Act (2020 Revision).