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Archive for September, 2008

Re: Commercial development of Corbett Centre

This letter was sent to David Stevenson, chair of the UNB Board of Governors.

A fellow forestry graduate just provided me with information about the plan by the University of New Brunswick to allow commercial development of about half of the UNB Woodlot.

What a travesty.

The original grant was for the “sole proper use of the College of New Brunswick.”

Surely “sole proper use” refers to the intellectual enlightenment of faculty and students, which by no stretch of the imagination can be defined as the establishment of big box retail outlets and related peripheral stores.

To suggest that the issuance of a 99 year lease retains ownership may be correct legally, but must be considered morally indefensible. Our grandchildren won’t live to see the end of the lease.

In the early 1960s when I was assessing the three English-speaking forestry schools in Canada, I chose the University of New Brunswick principally because of the UNB Woodlot, for its proximity – within walking distance, and size – large enough to be considered ecologically ‘working.’

You will note that I was and am from Saskatchewan, and at that time, travel distances were an issue – and both the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto were closer to my home.

Even so, I chose UNB and earned a Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree in 1966. A sterling choice, made because of the UNB Woodlot and which led to a career in forest inventory of which I am proud.

Although construction to date would be very difficult to reverse, including the Home Depot store and that dreadful highway that destroyed the wildlife corridors, surely the madness can stop.

New Brunswick is not short of land for such commercial and public developments. The UNB Woodlot must be kept sacrosanct from avarice.

James Benson, BScF 1966
Prince Albert, Sask.

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