Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Statement on the Restoration of the Petitcodiac -

The following is the letter I submiited to the Times Transcript following the information meeting on the EIA. They chose not to print it.

I would like to extend a large thanks to the people at AMEC Earth & Environmental Ltd., for hosting the EIA public hearings this past weekend at Riverview high. It was a highly informative session and I feel there was a fair and civilised exchange of ideas. When dealing with an issue as large as the Petitcodiac River it is important to gather as much information as possible, and this meeting was certainly conductive to that end (and what a shame that the number of public figures expressing views on the matter this week chose not to attend).

One of the most important ideas put forth during the session was that in order to have a “safe and successful” implementation, there will need to be a lot of work done before the gates can be opened. This would include refurbishing the dyke and aboiteaux system upstream, securing the landfill site against a catastrophic event, and reinforcing the riverbank and causeway structure. It’s important to note that many of these steps will be necessary even if the project doesn’t go through. This process, already factored into project costs, would take at least a year to complete.

I feel this timeframe provides a great opportunity to address the issue of water quality coming from the sewage treatment plant. One of the concerns raised at the meeting was the flow of effluent upstream during high tide. The study claims that the increased water volume and flow of the river would mitigate this problem, but not everyone in attendance was in total agreement with this.

Given the time it will take for “Stage One” to complete, why not also look at upgrading the plant to have secondary treatment capability during this period? Regardless of which option is selected, or even if the status quo is maintained (though that course is certainly not recommended), the public good (and health) can only be served by an upgrade of the treatment facility. That, combined with a project option like 4B, would provide for a truly revitalized river system this community so deeply deserves"

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