More than 60 people gathered over the noon hour on Thursday, April 7 to protest the University of New Brunswick’s development of its woodlot. Participants lined up along the New Maryland highway in front of the future Costco site and made up impromptu chants in favour of saving wetlands and the UNB Woodlot. They donned floatation devices, scuba gear and blue streamers to make the point that wetlands are essential for water retention and flood control, especially in a time of climate change.
“We want to make it clear to the UNB Board of Governors that the Costco development plan violates the guarantee of 80 metre buffers that was made to the Board of Governors. As documented by UNB, Corbett Brook Marsh and Larch Swale are ecologically sensitive areas, and the Costco building and parking lot must be built outside this 80 metre buffer,” says Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, a member of the Friends of the UNB Woodlot, the group that organized Thursday’s action.
“If the UNB Woodlot continues to be developed as planned, we are going to see the loss of this valuable teaching and research resource, increased taxes, increased insurance costs, increased flood risk and decreased quality of life for our community and children,” says Lubbe-D’Arcy.
Charlene Mayes, a UNB biologist and member of the Friends of the UNB Woodlot, marked the area with orange flagging tape to show how the future Costco site is infringing on a 80 metre buffer to a wetland.
Present at the action were representatives from the Fredericton High School Environmental Club, CCNB Action, St. Thomas University’s Students for Sustainability, many students and professors from the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, and concerned residents of Fredericton.
The group plans to bring their protests to the UNB Board of Governors’ noon hour meeting next Thursday, April 14 in front of the Wu Conference Centre at UNB.
Mark D’Arcy and Monika Stelzl, organizers with the Friends of the UNB Woodlot, speaking to the crowd gathered for the action at the future Costco site in Fredericton:
Rally participants at the future Costco site in Fredericton:
Video courtesy of Charles LeBlanc.
Tracy Glynn is a member of the NB Media Co-op board.