Residents protest Sand Bay septic; Clarendon issues “final word”

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About 40 residents rallied in front of the Clarendon municipal office to express their concerns for the health of their waterfront, specifically the Sand Bay beach.

Deborah Powell

CLARENDON – Close to 40 residents rallied in front of the Clarendon municipal office on July 14 to express their concerns for the health of their waterfront, specifically the Sand Bay beach. The demonstration was timed to coincide
with the municipal council meeting and arriving councillors were greeted with chants of “Shame on you” and “Save our beach”.
The ongoing issue dates from the fall of 2019 when a waterfront home installed a septic system that included a drainage pipe running under the municipally-owned beach and discharging into the river. Residents have expressed concerns, questioning the municipality’s approval of the septic system and an association was formed to pursue the matter.
At the June 9 meeting, in response to these questions and concerns, Clarendon council passed a motion “to begin a complete study of the issues of Sand Bay and the property identified as 5 640 667”. The motion stated “council will need time to study each of these concerns…” since “…there will be a need to consult with Insurance, Municipal Affairs, Ministry of the Environment and legal council”. The resulting report was presented at the July 14 meeting. It says, among other things “all proper procedures were followed regarding the septic installation”. The report is available on the municipal website under the title “Sand Bay Community Study”.
Sand Bay Waterfront Association members are disappointed with the report, which they say leaves many of their concerns and questions unanswered. “We’ve failed to get information from council, so we’ve been forced to seek new legal council at our own expense to get Access to Information and are pursuing our options,” said President Mia Hempey. “We are just concerned citizens who want an independent test of the septic system done,” she continued.
When asked for comment on August 6, Clarendon mayor John Armstrong said, “The study was done and that’s the final word.”