Canada/Deforestation: "a sensitive issue" on the municipal agenda
Deforestation on the Acadian Peninsula and the future of the former Tracadie firing range will be debated by some of the region's municipal councils.
The mayor of Tracadie has called for regional solidarity to protect the forest of the former shooting range.
The New Brunswick government wants to develop blueberry fields on this territory, with the promise of significant economic spin-offs.
Striking a balance
It's a sensitive issue," admits the mayor of Neguac, Georges R. Savoie.
All around Neguac, there are a lot of blueberry fields, which also means deforestation.
These issues deserve to be discussed by the municipal council," adds the mayor of Neguac.
We'll have to be reasonable and listen to different people's points of view," he says. There are people who have blueberry fields and make a living from them. But we also need to look at the balance between the number of blueberry fields and deforestation.
There are also blueberry fields all around the Hautes-Terres municipality.
There are a lot of blueberry growers here. There are small, medium and large ones.
A quote from Denis Landry, mayor of the municipality of Hautes-Terres
Aware that today there are blueberry fields in every corner of the Acadian Peninsula, the mayor of this municipality says he wasn't stunned by the images showing the extent of blueberry fields in the region.
There are blueberry fields behind Tracadie, in Lamèque, in the Shippagan region, in Maltempec, in the Caraquet region, in Saint-Léolin, above Saint-Amateur and Notre-Dame-des-Érables," he explains. Blueberry fields have been developed everywhere, on both private and Crown land.
The Hautes-Terres agenda
Denis Landry intends to put the issues of deforestation and the future of the former Tracadie firing range on the agenda for the municipality's next public meeting, next Tuesday.
When we discuss this at the Forum des maires de la Péninsule acadienne, I want to be informed by my population so that I can speak out on this issue," he explains.
Although he himself felled many trees "in another life", this former forestry worker believes that it's a question of striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection.
In Rivière-du-Nord, Mayor Joseph Lanteigne says that these issues will be discussed at a working meeting of the municipal council.
Shippagan mayor Kassim Doumbia did not return our calls, nor did Île-de-Lamèque mayor Bernard Savoie.
On Wednesday's broadcast of La matinale, Caraquet mayor Bernard Thériault reiterated that the municipal council was sovereign, saying there would be a debate if councillors so wished.