Coalition of coastal N.B. towns worry about development near Parlee Beach
Published Thursday, April 20, 2017 8:25PM ADT
New Brunswick's government is being asked to put major commercial development on hold near Parlee Beach because some residents say they are worried how big projects are affecting water quality in Shediac Bay.
Five groups representing several thousand local property owners have signed a letter urging New Brunswick Environment Minister Serge Rouselle to put a moratorium on development within 500 metres of any body of water that drains into the Northumberland Strait.
“The bottom line is we all share this ocean, we all have a responsibility,” says Natasha Bell with the Association for the Protection of Beaches and Marshlands l'Aboiteau.
The Red Dot Association first recommended a moratorium during a meeting with the provincial group tasked with looking into Parlee Beach contamination in February.
“The whole idea of continuing with development at the same time you're trying to find the source of contamination does not make sense because this is just adding to the contamination,” says Red Dot Association president Tim Borlase.
This comes on the heels of a report from Mount Allison University linking large projects to high levels of contamination and fecal bacteria at Parlee Beach and nearby Murray Corner.
There are currently three major campground developments proposed in nearby Pointe-du-Chêne, Cap-Brulé, and Cap-Pelé.
“They're being built close to or even within boundaries of wetlands,” says West/Ouest Brûlé Ltd. president Andre Touchburn. “We're very concerned about the possible damage to these wetlands, which will have negative consequences for the water quality.”
Minister Rouselle was unavailable for an interview Thursday, but told CTV News in a statement: "We understand the residents' concerns and our government is committed to identify, address and mitigate the contamination at Parlee Beach.”
Rouselle noted he would not make a decision on a moratorium until the government officially identifies what is causing the pollution.
A spokesperson for the minister says a report highlighting recommended actions to government should be available by June 2018.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Cami Kepke