March 4, 2009
To: President John McLaughlin, University of New Brunswick
Stephen Strople, UNB Board of Governors
Roland Haché, Minister of Environment
Fredericton City Council
The UNB Woodlot, located on unceded Wulustuk land, is over 3,500 acres of woods, wetlands and wildlife, home to mature forest, herons and lady slippers.
Many residents of Fredericton enjoy the Woodlot as a place of recreation and refuge from the increasing proliferation of concrete, asphalt, litter, light, noise and visual pollution. How many cities can boast a wild area of its size in its city limits? Many people value the UNB Woodlot for its trails.
The development of the UNB Woodlot, replacing forest and wetland for big box stores, is unthinkable in today’s knowledge of the conservation importance of such natural gems. Today, we are deeply concerned about the proposed Costco development that will adversely impact a wetland.
The UNB Woodlot is used by students and UNB Faculty as an important natural research lab for fish ecology, forestry and other studies.
Urban forest such as the UNB Woodlot reduce air pollutants and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is a key factor in mitigating climate change.
Rain capture by the UNB Woodlot supplies the headwaters and tributaries of Corbett Brook, Phyllis Creek, Garden Creek and Baker Brook watersheds, and smaller watercourses that flow through Fredericton and towards New Maryland. The forested wetlands of the UNB Woodlot contribute to our aquifer – the sole drinking water supply for the City of Fredericton – and act as a giant sponge during severe rain events by retaining water and slowly releasing water to surrounding forests and aquifers that supply our drinking wells.
UNB’s land endowment plan in its current form will result in irreversible adverse changes in the ecological goods and services provided by the UNB Woodlot to the City of Fredericton.
We feel there has been inadequate public engagement on the proposed developments in the UNB Woodlot.
We call upon the Board of Governors of the University of New Brunswick to immediately put into place a moratorium on all development in the UNB Woodlot until there is a time for adequate public engagement on the issue. We call on the university to engage the community, including First Nations, conservation groups, forest and wetland ecologists, users of the UNB Woodlot as well as the wider community in any future proposals for the UNB Woodlot.
Tracy Glynn and Julie Michaud,
Fredericton Chapter of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick
180 St. John St.,
Tel: 506 458-8747
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