Two men learned last week that it is an offence to remove sand from the shoreline. They also learned that the shoreline is 500 feet wide, even when this distance extends to the inland side of a road.
Horace Reid and Anthony Curtis Watler were each fined $250 for removing the sand last October without the written permission of the Central Planning Authority.
There was no sand on the island for contractors at that time, Defence Attorney John Furniss told Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale. ‘Everybody was taking sand from its natural habitat,’ he said.
Watler had employed Reid as a contractor to help him build and repair his house so he could move into it.
Watler’s situation was especially urgent because the house he was living in had been ‘put together’ after Hurricane Ivan and he had received a notice from Planning Department telling him to take it down, the attorney explained.
The defendants took a truck and got the sand. They did not take it from the beach itself, but from a pile on the other side of the road, Attorney Nicholas Dixey emphasised on behalf of Reid. The value of the sand was $46 and both men cooperated fully, he pointed out.
The magistrate said the offence was one of strict liability and ignorance was no excuse. She agreed there was some mitigation in that the sand was on the other side of the road.
She said she always took the view that offences against the environment were to be taken seriously. Fines for offences against the marine environment went up to $500,000, she pointed out.
In this case, the prescribed fine was up to $500. That was rather low, given that preservation of beachfront should always be on the minds of legislators, she commented. That level of fine was not good for deterrence.
Both Reid and Watler faced additional fines for other matters.
When officers stopped the truck because of the sand, they found that Reid was driving without a licence, without insurance and without registration.
Two months later he was found driving again, without a licence and without insurance.
‘If you come back here again for this I will lock you up,’ the magistrate warned Reid. Unlicensed drivers have no insurance. If an uninsured driver has an accident, how can he fix up the other person’s property or pay hospital bills? she asked.
She imposed fines totalling $2,330 for the driving offences.
For Watler, failure to comply with the enforcement notice attracted a fine of $500.