Demonstrators call for an end to shoreline development in N.B.
Published Sunday, July 16, 2017 6:37PM ADT
Last Updated Sunday, July 16, 2017 7:07PM ADT
Hundreds marched through the streets of the town of Shediac, N.B., on Sunday, demanding the government take action to bring an end to pollution problems at some of the most popular beaches in the province.
Protesters were also calling for a halt on shoreline development until pollution issues are addressed.
“We're having a peaceful demonstration,” says Natasha Bell of the Save Wetlands, Water and Tourism group. “We are trying to send a very strong signal and message to the government that we need to take action on what's going on with our water quality issues.”
Shediac resident Bonnie Folkins says she wants to see the area’s beaches rejuvenated.
“I want the beaches to be the way they were in the 1950s when I was a child,” Folkins says.
“This question is too important to just sit back home,” says one demonstrator who flew in from western Quebec for the protest.
Diane Melanson has had a cottage at Parlee Beach for two decades. She says it’s the spot she hoped her family would enjoy for generations to come but now she’s unsure.
“I have grandchildren, I have four of them and they want to go swimming and guess what? All of the work that I have done for 20 years creating this little Shangri-La for them to come and play is at risk,” says Melanson.
Until the pollution sources are identified and solved the group is also calling for a moratorium on shoreline development from Cocagne to Murray Beach.
Karla Roberts of Shediac says she’s worried about the safety of her children frequenting the beaches.
“We're living on the shore and we'll be raising them here and it's important that we advocate for them, and one day hopefully they'll advocate for their children so we can enjoy the water for a long time to come,” Roberts says.
Environment critic Brian Keirstead acknowledges that changes from the government can take a long time to come about.
“It's just that often times the wheels of government move really slowly and this is an example of it moving very slowly. I don't know what you can do to move it quicker but these are the kinds of things that draw the attention to government officials and members of the legislative assembly,” says Keirstead.
There are multiple active petitions asking the government to protect wetlands over development. Members of the coalition say they will continue their fight after Sunday’s protest until their voices are heard.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.