We received a complaint about the approval of a development at 251 Kelpie Lane in Point Deroche alleging that it violated provincial legislation in two ways. The complainant believed that the new buildings were unlawfully closer to the shoreline than their predecessors and did not meet environmental buffer zone setback requirements. They also complained that the new seawall was larger than its predecessor and that it extended farther onto the public beach than the pre-existing wall.
We contacted the Department of Housing, Land and Communities (Department of Land) regarding the complaint about the new buildings. Through this we learned that the developer applied to replace the existing buildings with new ones located approximately 20 feet farther back from the ocean. As this created a larger setback from the environmental buffer zone than what had previously existed, the Department of Land, through consultations with the Department of the Environment, granted the setback variance.
We contacted the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action (Department of Environment) regarding the complaint about the new seawall. The construction of this seawall involved the placement of large rocks within an environmental buffer zone and therefore required an environmental buffer zone activity permit. We confirmed that a permit was issued in accordance with professional engineering standards and under the requirement that it extend no further towards the ocean than its predecessor. We learned that when the new sloped rock wall was placed, its seaward edge was located slightly farther back from the ocean than the pre-existing vertical wall.
We concluded that both the Department of Land and the Department of Environment had the legal discretion to act as they did and, as they provided reasonable explanations for why and how they exercised that discretion, we closed our file.