ANTIGONISH: County council is hoping the province will allow them to remove a whale carcass from a local beach.

During last week’s regular monthly meeting of council for the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, councilor Gary Mattie mentioned receiving complaints from local residents of a whale carcass on the Tracadie Island beach facing St. George’s Bay.

County clerk/treasurer Glen Horne said staff received word of the carcass on November 7. Horne said staff have removed similar carcasses from local beaches in the past, including two from Cape Jack this year.

However, the beach on Tracadie Island is considered protected.

“In order to go on the beach, we require an access to the beach permit from the Department of Natural Resources [DNR],” said Horne.

“When we inquired with them this time, they indicated this is a protected beach and that we would not be permitted to either go onto the beach or remove the whale.”

The community responded with disappointment and concern, said Horne, including year-round residents and other community members who use the beach recreationally. During the council meeting, Mattie said some residents are concerned the carcass will bring predators to the area.

After learning of the province’s response, council voted to stay in contact with DNR.

“We reached out to the Department of Natural Resources even previous to [the council meeting] requesting they reconsider their position,” said Horne. “We’ve not heard back from them formally since then. Once we do hear back, we’ll determine if another letter needs to be sent or if the situation will be remedied.”

Horne said such matters usually fall to municipalities, noting it isn’t their responsibility but “we often do it because we recognize if we don’t, nothing is going to get done.”

“It would be nice to seemingly have a partner in the province to address these whales washing up from time to time,” he added.