The recent spate of interest, locally and provincially, in the problems caused by NB Power's wishes to convert Coleson Cove to Orimulsion illustrates the importance of groups who are committed to working on issues of concern.
Years ago, a local group was formed to battle the installation of a nuclear power plant on Heron Island. That group, the Chaleur Environmental Protection Association (CEPA) has since disbanded, but its legacy - a pristine Heron Island - remains to be appreciated by us all. We really have no local group with the tight focus that CEPA had, although the Restigouche Naturalists' Club does concern itself with environmental issues, as part of its wider mandate. Within that mandate, the club has had an ongoing dialogue with Avcel in Atholville, input with NB Trails and Ducks Unlimited, and has afforded the sanctioning of my own "discussions" with Bowater, with Pioneer Chemical and with NB Power over the past few years.
Recently, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB) has made a major effort to become involved with issues on the North Shore. Executive Director David Coon has had discussions with The Stillwater Coalition from Kedgwick and with the group Preservation of the Restigouche River and its Tributaries. The Council has prepared a videotape presentation on the issue of Orimulsion as it applies to Coleson Cove, but with a very strong look at the situation in Dalhousie. At the same time, it has initiated studies into the state of health of river estuaries throughout the north and northeast of the province as a follow-up to its earlier work on the coastlines of the province. (The Council under the title Shifting Sands has published this study: State of the Coast in Northern and Eastern New Brunswick.)
I have been on the Board of Directors of the Conservation Council for the past several years. Recently I had reason to discuss the Council's role in northern New Brunswick and remain convinced that the council sees an important role for itself here. However, it needs our help, specifically in two ways: We have to continue to bring important issues to its attention and we need to support its work by becoming members ourselves.
We often have a tendency here, on the North Shore, to feel that we are ignored by those from "south of the Miramichi". I am guilty of that myself. But then I realize that, unless we make the big fuss ourselves and unless we bring out concerns to the attention of these groups (whether they be government or otherwise) we really cannot expect them to react, simply because they often do not even realize that a situation exists.
So I am making a bit of a pitch here. Join the Conservation Council as a member. (You can write, e-mail or phone them at the addresses below) And/or, you can become a member of the Restigouche Naturalists' Club and voice your concerns that way. We meet on the first Monday of each month at the Centennial Library in Campbellton, and we would appreciate your interest. And remember, if something is bothering you, but you choose not to do anything about it, you really become part of the problem.
Those CCNB addresses are : 180 St.John Street / Fredericton, NB / E3B 4A9
telephone 506-458-8747 or fax 506-458-1047
This article appeared in the Campbellton Tribune, in Mike's "Grains of Sand" column.
It is reproduced with Mike's permission.