‘Pro-environment’ engineer charged with damaging Upper Tantallon wetlands

A Bedford engineer who called himself “pro-environment” in February is now facing charges for claiming a vast swa of wetland in Upper Tantallon.

A development officer with the city blew the whistle last September on grading and elevation work being carried out without a permit at 105 Westwood Blvd. That prompted an inspector with Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change to get a warrant to search the site, as no authorizations had been issued to alter wetlands on the property.

“The department has laid charges against developer Peter Beaini and his company (3308067 Nova Scotia Limited) related to the infilling of a wetland in the Upper Tantallon area between Sept. 22 and Dec. 6, 2021,” said Tracy Barron, who speaks for Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change.

“The three charges are for contravening the Environment Act or regulations under Section 158 related to wetland alteration, watercourse alteration and contravening a directive of an inspector.”

Beaini is slated to appear June 30 in Halifax provincial court.

‘I haven’t done anything wrong’

The Bedford engineer downplayed the investigation in February.

In a brief interview Wednesday, Beaini — who had planned to build a 20-unit seniors housing complex on the site — maintained his innocence.

“I haven’t done anything wrong,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Pam Lovelace fears more wetlands could be damaged as developers struggle to provide more housing around the city.

“Right now, we’re in a market where any piece of land is going at any ridiculous price to build any kind of dwelling,” Lovelace said. “Were in a crisis situation with housing, so folks who want their property developed to get top dollar, they’re moving ahead with it whether they have permits or not. For those law-abiding developers, it’s really painting them with a terrible brush.”

The latter are the following regulations, she said

“And then you get these other folks who are just going in and being destructive and not caring about the implications to potential flooding, to removal and destruction of species at risk, and to recognizing the importance of the role that wetlands play overall in our communities ,” said Lovelace, who represents Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets.

Pam Lovelace - Contributed
Pam Lovelace – Contributed

Area residents tipped her off last summer about work happening at 105 Westwood Blvd.

“They said, ‘Hey, we want to know what’s going on. Why is there this new road being built?” Lovelace said.

She called the city’s planning staff about the issue.

“Planning staff went in and had a look and said, ‘Ooh, this is not good,’” Lovelace said.

The city issued a stop work order for the property dated Sept. 21. The next day, a provincial environment inspector visited the land, along with a wetland expert.

They noted a road had been built into the site.

“This road was blocked with an F150 pickup with no plates attached,” Derrick Peverill, an inspector with Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change, wrote in his application for a warrant to search the site.

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