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Archive for April, 2007

 

Earth Day Rally in the UNB Woodlot

On the way to the Earth Day Rally in the UNB Woodlot. Photo: Charles LeBlanc.

Alex and Kelly speak at Earth Day Rally 07

Kelly and Alex speak at Earth Day Rally in the UNB Woodlot. Photo: Charles LeBlanc.

We love our woodlot

We love our Woodlot. Earth Day 2007 in UNB Woodlot. Photo: Charles LeBlanc.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2007/04/23/nb-earthdaywoodlot.html

Fredericton Earth Day event focused on fate of UNB woodlot

Last Updated: Monday, April 23, 2007

CBC News

Concerned Fredericton residents gathered at Corbett’s Marsh on Earth Day Sunday to express their distress over potential development on the University of New Brunswick woodlot.

The area has been preserved for decades, but UNB has plans to commercially develop half of the woodlot’s 1,400 hectares. A Home Depot store is on a former piece of the woodlot, with more businesses possibly on the way.

About 80 people, along with around 20 dogs, gathered at the woodlot to walk and reminisce about how much they like the property.

“My dogs love it here. I’m bound to meet other people and have a nice chat,” said Kathryn Downton. “I think this place brings out the best in us, and malls and developments bring out the worst in us.”

Carolyn Lubbe-D’Arcy is worried that dirty water and oil are trickling into a nearby marsh from Home Depot’s parking lot.

“I can’t see how this will be able to sustain. Like, this is already bad, but if there’s any more of this, that’s going to be history,” Lubbe-D’Arcy said, referring to the land. “You know it will just be a dead pond with nothing in it.”

UNB president John McLaughlin was at the rally to listen to people’s concerns.

“I really wasn’t wanting to come and give a position,” McLaughlin said. “I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear what the issues are and what students and folks from the community and others are thinking about. And I heard a lot of passion and I heard a lot of important questions.

“There’s no question that we won’t be developing further out, even on the lands that are set aside for development, without a lot more consultation, a lot more addressing the issues.”

UNB officials are holding a public presentation about their plans Wednesday at the head office of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

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In early 2007, citizens of Fredericton, New Brunwick, were mobilized into action to defend the local university’s woodlot from further degradation. A Home Depot built in the woodlot some months before was the first of more planned big box developments in a natural place treasured by citizens, and university students and faculty. Citizens, students and university alumni are relaying concerns to administrators at the University of New Brunswick as well as to the City of Fredericton regarding short-sighted development. One UNB Alumni is asking the university’s Board of Governors to intervene since they have the final design and development say for the UNB Woodlot. A UNB student has created a site called “I don’t want the UNB Woodlot to be turned  into Big-Boxstrip Malls” at http://www.facebook.com Over 600 people have quickly joined this forum since its launching!

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Letter published in the Daily Gleaner, April 21st, 2007

Rally to protest woodlot loss

Home Depots and big box stores can be found everywhere, but the UNB woodlot is something special. Not many cities can lay claim to a green space such as this. I think the plan to develop the woodlot is truly short-sighted. I can’t understand why the area was designated of low cultural value and significance. I hope to see like-minded city residents at the woodlot Sunday at 1:30 p.m. to mark Earth Day by showing our opposition to this proposed development of the woodlot. Check http://people.unb.ca/~j53m1 for details.

Sarah Arnold
Fredericton

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Conservation Council of New Brunswick News Release

For immediate publication

April 11, 2007

Fredericton Citizens Voice Opposition to Conversion of City Natural Space for Big Box Development

Fredericton – Plans to develop the UNB Woodlot, the wooded area across from Regent Mall, are being met with concern and resistance from Fredericton citizens including those who enjoy the woodlot for recreation, conservation groups worried about the sacrificing of mature forest, wetlands and wildlife found inside it, students and faculty concerned about the loss of an important natural research area, and alumni who maintain that the university has made the wrong decision and feel shut out of the university’s decision making process.

Urban forests such as woodlots reduce air pollutants and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is a key factor in mitigating climate change. “Green spaces are becoming increasingly more valuable and appreciated particularly near urban centres. Natural wetlands and mature trees and the associated flora and fauna are necessary to ensure protection of water sources as well as providing a refuge and escape for citizens from the increasing proliferation of concrete, asphalt, litter, light, noise and visual pollution,” stated Earle Arnold, a retired engineer and long time recreational user of the UNB Woodlot. “The devastation and blight associated with the structures, roadways, landscaping and lighting on Bishop Drive, Arnold Drive, Home Depot, Knowledge Park, Kimble and Alison Boulevard should no longer be accepted in the new public awareness of the need for environmental protection.”

“UNB has a choice. Do you want a vibrant public relations showcase or an irreparable embarrassment to this great institution? Fredericton residents and UNB alumni do not want the development of their city and campus dictated by Big-Box retail,” stated Mark D’Arcy, a UNB alumnus, in an open letter to UNB’s Board of Governors, the City of Fredericton, and the New Brunswick Provincial Capital Commission. “The public promises made by UNB’s Board of Governors to develop their woodlot responsibly have been broken. First, we had the park setting of the Knowledge Park buildings erased by the clearcut of UNB’s surrounding woodlot. This centre of excellence campus for technology companies – financed in the millions by all 3 levels of government – is now orphaned in a sea of pavement to make way for 4 large Big Box stores, the first being Home Depot. Second, the public has just learned of plans before the NB Department of Environment to continue the blight of Bishop Drive and extend a four-lane road the width of a football field right through the UNB Woodlot and connect it to Kimble Drive.”

“With machines already clearing land at the corner of Alison and Kimble, it only reaffirms that the environmental impact assessment process in this province is a rubber stamp for projects that the public has no genuine say over,” stated Tracy Glynn, the Acadian Forest Campaigner at the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

Alex Corey is a UNB biology student concerned that the planned developments do not match the guiding principles of the university. “As a student at the University of New Brunswick, future alumnus, and proud, active citizen of Fredericton I truly want the best for both UNB and the city. I realize that there was stakeholder consultation throughout the formation of this development plan, but I do not believe the concerns of prominent professors within the institution, students, and recreational users were truly considered,” stated Corey.

Corey recently set up a facebook.com site on the Internet called “I don’t want the UNB Woodlot turned into Big-Box Strip Malls”. In just over a week, the site had reached over 1,400 people with many UNB students and alumni posting their concerns and opposition to the developments within the woodlot.

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For more information, contact:

Tracy Glynn, Conservation Council of New Brunswick

458-8747, forest@conservationcouncil.ca

Alex Corey, UNB biology student

260-7381, alex.corey@unb.ca


Mark D’Arcy, UNB Alumni, Class of 1986

454-5119, markandcaroline@gmail.com

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