Stairway to Joggins beach removed

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Residents concerned that beach access restricted

The Department of Natural Resources has removed a set of stairs from Hardscrabble Hill down to the beach at Joggins. Residents are concerned with the decision saying it will restrict access to the beach. Darrell Cole – Amherst Daily News

JOGGINS – Residents are upset after Department of Natural Resources crews removed one of two public access points to a beach at Joggins.

Workers from the province arrived at the beach adjacent to the Joggins Fossil Centre early Tuesday to begin removing steps that ran from the beach to the Hardscrabble Road.

“There’s no need of it. I’ve been taking my grandchildren down to the beach through there almost every day. It’s not fair what they’re doing,” said neighbour Jeanie Burbine, who said she had to climb up the bank on Tuesday to get back from the beach. “It almost seems as though they’re trying to force everyone through the fossil centre.”

Al Mills, whose property on the Hardscrabble Road overlooks the former staircase and the beach, said he’s angry at the decision to remove the stairs and is equally upset there was no warning they were being taken out.

“People like to use the stairs to go to beach to go fishing,” he said. “It was good access to the beach and now it’s gone.”

Mills said removing the stairs also creates a safety hazard should there be an emergency on the beach closer to the Hardscrabble Road than to the fossil centre, located about 200 yards up the beach.

Coun. John Reid understands the frustration because he’s been receiving numerous calls about it. He said the decision is related to the beach access being located on land that’s privately owned. It’s also a budget decision, he added.

“DNR pays a significant amount of money in rent, insurance and maintenance costs,” Reid said. “It’s also my understanding that the landowner was not interested in renewing the lease. The lease has just expired so they’ve decided to remove the stairs.”

Bruce Nunn from Natural Resources said the removal of the stairs at Bell’s Brook is related to the expiration of the lease for the steps.

“The steps are no longer needed. The fossil centre has told us they’re not needed because of the construction of the new steps that are only about 200 metres away,” Nunn said. “There is no charge to use the centre stairs that are always open and never gated. Beach access is not being restricted.”

dcole@amherstdaily.com

 

 

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Joggins Fossil Centre

Geographic location: Joggins, Hardscrabble Road

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Recent comments

  • K
    August 18, 2011 - 03:11

    Drowning is a major concern on Joggins beach, especially with tourists visiting the area who are unfamiliar with the high tides. If anything Joggins needs more exits from the beach, not less. The DNR is jeopardizing the safety of beach visitors -- both guests to the Fossil Centre and local residents -- by removing the stairs; the steps need to be reinstalled immediately before someone is killed.

    • Dara Legere
      August 18, 2011 - 13:32

      Talk about government double talk. First the DNR says the land owner did not want to renew the lease. Then they say the JFC said the stairs aren't needed. Maybe it's time to come up with the truth. Here is an easy solution for the DNR if it is true that the land owner does not want the lease renewed. According to the official government maps on the government website the DNR has property along Bells Brook between Main St and Hardscrabble Rd. The government also owns a right of way along Main St all the way to the edge of the cliffs and on Hardscrabble Rd to the edge of the cliffs. This is the location that the foot bridge once crossed Bell's Brook years ago and later the causeway that crossed the brook. This would be a great place to place the stairs and avoid acquiring any lease or easement from any property owners in the area. These right of ways would avoid all private lands and keep the good people of Joggins who wish to go fishing or to take a walk along the beach off the JFC property and also provide a much needed 2nd access to the beach in case of an emergency.

  • brian
    August 16, 2011 - 08:56

    The last paragraph is interesting. Mr. Nunn said,“The steps are no longer needed. The fossil centre has told us they’re not needed because of the construction of the new steps that are only about 200 metres away" To me it sounds like DNR asked the centre if they were needed and they said no! So, if the centre had said that the stairs add another import access/exit point on the beach then they would have kept the stairs. If they would have said for the safty of the community we believe that it would a wise decision to keep the stairs they would have kept the stairs. Also 200 metres one way is 400 metres round trip. I hope someone doesnt mind holding on for a little longer because we dont have a closer access/exit point. And Bells brook washes out quite quickly and you cannot get across it from the centres stairs at certain times. Now that we know that the owner had nothing to do with it, the story seems to be falling apart. It is more than a shame. The paragraph concludes with, “There is no charge to use the centre stairs that are always open and never gated. Beach access is not being restricted." Well, the stairs by the centre are not gated because there is no gate there. There is a gate though at the opening of the property and it is closed after the centre closes at 6 or 630 pm. I would imagine if this is read today then the gate will be left open which is good but not the point. It has been closed everyday, which to everyone from the community and also who is a visitor, means to stay out, stop, don't go any further etc! So Toni, yes, in a very point your finger way, the centre did have something to do with the removal of the stairs. Also this has nothing to do with a garbage pickup. If you would like to get off the story and talk about what they are doing and NOT doing then that's fine. I would be happy to help you get your facts straight.

  • Toni
    August 15, 2011 - 15:12

    Just so people have their facts straight before they start pointing the finger at the Joggins Fossil Centre, the decision to have these stairs pulled from Hardscrabble Road was a decision made by DNR. The Joggins Fossil Centre has nothing to do with these stairs. The land for the stairs was on land privately owned and rented to DNR. It's too bad that this much fuss (but in a more positive way) wasn't made when the Joggins Fossil Centre cleans up your trash from the Maccan Woods!

  • sherry cameron-calder
    August 15, 2011 - 10:45

    I could see this coming. First the no parking signs along that mud road, how silly, and now they have taken out the stairs. As soon as I heard that Joggins fossil cliffs would become a UNESCO site I knew there would be all these barriers to the cliffs come into play. Joggins no longer belongs to the residents, it belongs to the government departments that have moved in. People have been picking fossils up off that beach for generations and there is still enough for everyone. Kudos to the owners of the land for telling the truth about the non-discussion discussion DNR supposedly had with them about the so called lease. And it's a big safety issue. Especially when the tide is in.

  • Landowner
    August 15, 2011 - 09:52

    Clarification is needed to the article written about the removal of the stairs from the Joggins Fossil Cliffs which sat on private property. My husband and myself are the landowners of the private property referred to and at no time were we approached to renew the Lease. We were presented with a decision made by DNR that the stairs were going to be removed with DNR probably being under pressure no doubt from other organizations. The people of Joggins need to be made aware that in no way the removal of the stairs had anything to do with the landowner of the property. Do you not think the landowner should have been contacted by the Amherst Daily News before the article was written.

  • Donna
    August 13, 2011 - 11:19

    Every time I hear someone talk about the fossil centre in Joggins, the people in that community always seem to bad mouth it, never support it. FWIW the tides come up just as fast along here in economy/bass river area and we do fine with access along steep banks.

  • Band Together
    August 13, 2011 - 08:46

    Citizens! Get some emergency professionals (provincial or federal and not affiliated with/in the back pocket of fossil centre) to determine, in writing, whether it is safer to have the extra steps (of course it is!), then contact the owners of the land (word is that they wanted the steps to stay), and gather a group of sturdy men and women, get some wood donated, and by gum build the steps again! ...and don't forget, nothing says 'we mean business' like a good old-fashioned lawsuit! Don't take it sitting down. Fight for your rights!

  • sickened.
    August 12, 2011 - 18:33

    Everyone in Joggins and surrounding area who is impatiently waiting for the fossil centre to either close due to disinterest, or simply fall off the cliffs, please raise a fossil.. you know, the ones we all collected as kids that are now considered illegal contraband by the 'Gods'? So who does own the land, and how hard would it be to get a bunch of sturdy men and women and some donated wood together to re-install them? Let's band together! Safety IS an issue. Get the steps back. Perhaps even some experts could give THEIR opinions on safety... experts not affiliated with the fossil centre, of course. ..and there's always legal action! Lawsuits are wonderful tools of change. For shame, Fossil Centre and DNR, for shame!

  • Dissappointed
    August 12, 2011 - 13:46

    I am from the area, but moved away about 7 years ago. I came home to visit this year. I have always missed the beach (both Joggins and lower cove). I spent much of my trip home there. I used these stairs. To hear they are gone is 1 disappointment. All I heard about was the fosil center...I have to see this amazing fossil center. That was a HUGE disappointment. Now to access the beach in Joggins, you either have to climb a bank or go around to this eye soar. I only hope Lower Cove is left alone!

  • Dissappointed
    August 12, 2011 - 13:45

    I am from the area, but moved away about 7 years ago. I came home to visit this year. I have always missed the beach (both Joggins and lower cove). I spent much of my trip home there. I used these stairs. To hear they are gone is 1 disappointment. All I heard about was the fosil center...I have to see this amazing fossil center. That was a HUGE disappointment. Now to access the beach in Joggins, you either have to climb a bank or go around to this eye soar. I only hope Lower Cove is left alone!

  • Sad
    August 12, 2011 - 09:50

    Being safe means always leaving yourself an "out"! Now that there is no out.....everyones safety is compromised! Someone with a swollen head in DNR thinks they'll save money etc. taking out the steps. Just wait until the "Big Nasty" happens when the steps might have changed an emergency situation. Then we can go to the person(s) who made the call and say; See what you did?! 200 meters is a long way to go over the Beach there when you might be racing an incoming Tide or trying to save a Life! Put some ice on your head and take down the swelling....you might think better?!

  • unknown
    August 12, 2011 - 08:11

    Are you kidding me?? The steps are dangerous? I totally do not agree as I have been there many of times . So you mean it is not more dangerous now? yes I agree there is aaccess to the beach at the center but have you been there to go down them? they would be much more of a challenge to an elderly person as they are very steep and to my opinion not very well planned out. Another point is you have taken the only other acess to the beach for the long time residence there and it is more than unfair it is DISGRACEFUL!!! How do you expect the community to want to support the new center when you treat them like this or is it that you just dont CARE anymore as long as you make $$$$$$. The sad thing is that even though you all preach for keeping the community happy you will not even try to figure this out!!! So when Joggins is abandoned even more and the center closes it will be TOO LATE to want to help!!! Just an opinion but as the people of Joggins I guess opinions dont matter!!

  • dave reid
    August 12, 2011 - 08:01

    I agree with Mr. Mills,it is a safety issue. The tides in Joggins come in fast, you should have at least two points of access. Proper access and egress...safety shou;d be the first concern,not money.

  • Resident
    August 12, 2011 - 07:47

    I agree, "WHAT A SHAME". You'd think that two accesses to the UNESCO site would be better than one. Not restricting beach access....yeah right! Can we now expect that they'll recycle the wood from the steps they removed to build a big fence at Lower Cove? After all, it falls under the protected area as well.

  • resident
    August 12, 2011 - 07:41

    I agree, "What a Shame"! Beach access not restricted...right! Maybe we should expect that they'll recycle that wood from the original steps to build a big blockade at Lower Cove. After all it is in the protected zone too.

  • What a shame
    August 11, 2011 - 20:40

    This is really a shame, People must of known that this would eventually happen, soon after the Fossil centre opened a sign was placed on these stairs claiming they were not safe and shouId be used at your own risk.....I haved used these stairs in the past and had planned on using them again as I have little or no interest in going through or around the Fossil centre, I guess my walks on the beach in Joggins will now be done in Lower Cove.