Floating couch with nails causes popular HRM beach to temporarily close

Less than 20 kilometres away from a municipal waste facility, a large sofa was illegally dumped into a municipal lake.

The object forced lifeguards to temporarily close Campbell Point Beach due to the dangerous debris that began floating in the water and on the shoreline.

“We were not able to let them in at all due to the amount of nails and staples that were all through the walkway. So, no children had been in the water which had stopped the swimming lessons,” Ella Fleet said, a parent who frequently visits Hatchett Lake with her children.

According to Fleet and other residents, the couch had been in the lake for several days. People phoned 311 with the municipality to report it and have it removed, but days had passed without anything being done.

“We just keep getting the run around, we don’t know who is actually coming or when they’re coming. It’s a list of first come, first serve, not top priority. So, we’ve decided to take it into our hands, break it up and move it little by little,” Fleet said.

Municipal communications staff say 311 calls get prioritized passed on a tier system.

“In terms of when calls come into 311, it’s dispatched to an internal business unit. In this instance it would have been dispatched to parks,” said Maggie-Jane Spray, a senior communications advisor with the municipality.

Fleet says illegal dumping is an unfortunate reality for the area and the couch isn’t the first time large items have been discarded into the woods for others to pick up.

“Some of the children have also explored around the area and they have found a dog cage and some other debris in the water,” she said.

As for the couch, after volunteers moved it out of the water, city staff arrived to assist with the final stages of removal.

“It has been removed out of the water and park staff are currently removing it from the beach altogether. Staff have also gone over the area with magnets to make sure that there’s no metal debris or nails left in the water,” Spray said.

Fleet hopes illegal dumping is realized as being detrimental not only to others but the environment as well.

“It’s pretty disgusting that a lot of people just don’t care. I hope that some of these people learn in the future that this can affect their own children and how it affects other people,” she said.

“It is ruining people’s fun time at the beach.”

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