Archive for the ‘Green Space’ Category

Corbett Falls, UNB Woodlot. Oct. 2010.

Silt in Corbett Brook near the mouth where it meets the St. John River. UNB Woodlot. Oct. 2010.


Corbett Marsh. Oct. 2010.

Geese flying over the UNB Woodlot. Oct. 2010.

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March 10th, 2009
By GRAHAM FORBES, For The Daily Gleaner
To some, the University of New Brunswick woodlot represents recreation, green space, quality of life and ecological services.
Photo: REPLACING TREES: New stores at the Corbett Centre can be seen past the trees from the UNB woodlot. While some want development and others want preservation, writer Graham Forbes points out that what UNB teaches in many of its courses is contrary to its decisions on its woodlot.
To others, it represents jobs, housing, tax revenue and opportunities to shop.
The first group wants more protected, the latter, more developed. My point is not so much to debate the percentage developed, but, if development is to occur, to illustrate a better way to develop.
The Feb. 12 information session on proposed changes to a wetland promotes the removal of a wetland (already approved by government) that would retain run-off but also some natural forest and ecological function. It would be replaced with two bathtub-like holding ponds for runoff.
Apparently, the approved wetland needs to be removed simply because Costco stores have pre-determined dimensions and parking areas, and they want the store sign to face the entrance of the road.
I offer that this proposal is another case of poor environmental management by UNB. Two years ago, UNB cleared forest for the Home Depot area. The woodlot development plan has 80-metre buffers on waterways, but, in this first evidence of how UNB develops, the forested corridor oddly becomes 30 metres, the minimum required by provincial regulation.
A road was pushed through a wetland, the site where traffic caused significant frog mortality in fall 2008. A 30-metre buffer on a wetland was clear cut, without a permit, and UNB was forced to mitigate the violation, which they did by replanting trees in the buffer.
Recently, UNB clearcut three lines for geotechnical work, each about four metres wide into this wetland. Was there government approval to impact this wetland? A large wetland was found where the new hockey rinks near Kimble Drive were to be built. The wetland was not in the original environmental impact assessment and would have been destroyed; the hockey rink layout had to be changed at considerable expense and delay.
The water detention pond at the Kimble Road end of the woodlot breached twice and dumped extensive sediment into Corbett Brook. These are not shining examples of sustainable development.
I note that the loss of populations of animals and plants will have no impact on these species. They are not rare, they are found in many places.
The loss is at the scale of Fredericton. People in Fredericton want clean water and natural features, and they want nature close to where they live and work. One would hope we do not have to keep sacrificing natural areas so that a single box-store can have its store sign seen as you drive in.
I am not so naive to believe my values or advice drive the actions of the university. I do, however, question a troubling hypocrisy.
If UNB promotes sustainable management, sustainable development, wildlife management, environmental planning, environmental economics, and corporate citizenship, it would seem we could expect more of that teaching be put into practice.
By my count UNB has over 20 relevant courses in virtually every discipline, from engineering, forestry, biology, to economics and sociology. We have at least 25 professors who research, write about and work in these areas. If a university cannot promote supposed new-and-improved methods, a better balance between development and conservation, then who can?
The woodlot should be a showcase of what is possible, not an example of the status quo, of flat-earth planning or of removing wetlands so a big-box store can fit its predetermined shape.
Graham Forbes, PhD, is the director of the New Brunswick Co-operative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management and Faculty of Science at the University of New Brunswick.

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The Daily Gleaner, Published Friday December 26th, 2008

Re: Story published Dec. 11 called Costco variances approved

I am absolutely sickened by the news regarding the building of a Costco store on the University of New Brunswick Woodlot.

What a sad and pathetic sight it is to now see paved roads, parking lots, and greedy consumerism taking over one of the most beautiful, peaceful and natural areas in this city.

As for the argument that development is taking place on only a small portion of the woodlot, the destruction of any part of a supposedly protected area cannot be justified. If our protected areas can be so easily modified to suit the needs of those in power, how can we have any trust in those who are meant to be protecting these areas?

To those Fredericton shoppers who have been clamouring to have Costco set up, I suggest you make the effort to spend some time in the remaining woodlot where you will undoubtedly see how fortunate we are to have a true forest within our city.

If instead you choose to keep on clamouring for Costco, I hope you enjoy your wholesale super packs of chewing gum.

Jill Seymour

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Letter to the Editor, The Daily Gleaner

Published Monday December 15th, 2008
Re: UNB woodlot development
At a time when climate change has finally been recognized as the world’s number one threat to survival, it is hard to understand how anyone can support plans to develop UNB’s woodlot.
We need those trees. We need those wetlands and watersheds.
Without them, we will face further climate change, further soil erosion, further flooding.
We’ve been told to plant trees by the City of Fredericton’s Green Matters campaign.
Meanwhile, Fredericton clear cuts conservation forests.
UNB has started a new environmental studies program.
Meanwhile, they are falling over themselves trying to convert conservation wetlands into retail development. Enough hypocrisy.
The proposed Costco development will first require a rezoning of conservation land to development land.
City council must not approve such a rezoning.
Not only is it environmentally irresponsible, such a vote will also kill what is unique to this city.
All this big box development is ultimately diluting the special character of Fredericton.
Do we really want to become another Moncton, or do we want to retain the unique beauty of a historical city?
Is shopping so much more important to us than the natural beauty surrounding our city? Are we ready to face a dead downtown core?
Fredericton has so much. Let’s not kill it for the sake of shopping.
Taeyon Kim

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NDP Candidate
New Maryland-Sudbury-West

As a concerned citizen and a supporter of Fredericton’s “Green Matters” campaign, I am greatly disturbed by the rapid development that has already destroyed acres of UNB’s prided woodlot, and that has been given the OK to continue to destroy this environmental landmark as time goes on.

The UNB Woodlot, priding itself as being an active teaching and research base for forestry students, is also “a provincially designated wildlife refuge and is a favourite place for people of Fredericton and surrounding communities to run, jog, walk and enjoy nature.” This is a direct quote from the University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management home page, which goes on to list the large variety of wildlife and plants that call this woodlot home. This UNB webpage, which beams of pride for their woodlot, sure doesn’t make sense when paired with the UNB Board of Governor’s decision to allow 50 per cent of the woodlot to be destroyed and privately developed over the coming years.

As the New Democratic candidate for the New Maryland-Sudbury West riding, I urge UNB to reconsider the consequences of their actions. Please submit this land to comprehensive environmental assessment, and realize that you are putting all of the wonderful aspects of the woodlot at great stake. I also call for a moratorium on any further development of the woodlot. Big box development is not the answer to Fredericton’s “Green Matters.” We must raise our voices together to save our environment, and ourselves.

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In light of Fredericton’s loudly publicised goal to be the first city in Canada to reach the Kyoto protocol, and its self-proclaimed title as a “Green City”, it seems ironic that Fredericton is participating in the destruction of the UNB Woodlot, that it continues to support development of sprawl, and that Lee Breen was jailed for riding his skateboard on city streets, to name just a few. Why has there been so little coming out of Fredericton’s City Council that really gets to the teeth of curbing climate change? Read more…

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July 25th, 2008. A Fredericton company charged with violating the Clean Water Act in March has been ordered to rehabilitate land it has filled in on Bishop Drive.

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