A highway being built along the New Brunswick coast of the Bay of Fundy is affecting the Outdoor Pursuits classes at Bernice MacNaughton High School.
According to Greg Hughes, the Outdoor Pursuits teacher at MacNaughton, the construction has led to sedimentation in the Walton Glen Brook and Little Salmon River watersheds, which may affect where the Outdoor Pursuits class goes on future trips. Hughes said, “I would not take students to an area that has that sort of damage happening to it. I like taking students to these places to experience wilderness. This isn’t wilderness – it’s destruction.”
When Harley Tingley, the president of the Fundy Trail Development Authority Incorporated, was asked to comment on this, he said, “Everything is in compliance with the Clean Water Act and the Department of the Environment. We’ve worked very closely with them and that was one of the conditions in getting the funding.” The project has funding from both provincial and federal governments to cover the 146 million dollar cost.
Bernice MacNaughton student Alena Bors was one of the students who attended this year’s Outdoor Pursuits trip to Walton Glen Gorge, at which time no sedimentation was visible. When asked to comment on the construction of the highway, she said, “It’s sad that the nature, and a beautiful part of our world gets destroyed, just to make it more comfortable for humans to travel.”
The highway project is being built as a part of the Fundy Trail Parkway, which when complete, will link St. Martins to Alma and connect the Fundy Trail, Fundy National Park, and the Hopewell Rocks. It is expected to draw in 30 000 additional visitors in its first full year of operation and have a total indirect and direct job creation of 750 per year ten years after it is complete. It is set to be completed by the fall of 2017.
The Clean Water Act is provincial legislation designed to safeguard the water quality of rivers, streams, and lakes that are important for ecosystems, recreation, or drinking water. The document and all other current New Brunswick legislation can be found on the government of New Brunswick’s website under the Office of the Attorney General, or by following this link: http://laws.gnb.ca/en/BrowseTitle.