Fundy — Nature or tourism: for decades, that has been the debate for New Brunswick. The ultimate answer, of course, is always to collect those sweet, sweet tourist dollars, no matter the cost to our natural wonders.
“When all the bumbling tourists get off the cruise ships for the day in Saint John, once the season resumes next year, we’ll need more for them to do. And by ‘do,’ we mean ‘look at for a second,'” said Tourism New Brunswick spokesperson Randall MacDillon. “So we’re just going to go ahead and level out the entire province — literally and figuratively — for these tourists, because there might be some money in it for us.
“And for locals doing ‘staycations’ due to COVID-19, we want them to be able to go directly from the grocery store, to their homes, to a formerly rugged spot in the wild to take a picture for social media. It’s all coming together!”
The province is going forward with a plan to have thousands of motorized shopping carts built and shipped to New Brunswick for use by locals and visitors.
“It’s just the most inclusive vehicle — anyone can operate it, no matter your age or ability,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “We hired some company in Ontario to make them — they successfully beat out some potential New Brunswick organizations by bidding slightly lower for the manufacturing contract. Soon the carts will be in full use all over the province!”
Skeptics say that certain natural areas are being destroyed just to make them less challenging to see.
“Look at Mount Carleton…when you make it to the top, all you see are Irving clearcuts for miles,” said avid hiker Rita Furlotte. “Now it’ll be even worse once the province makes that whole area motorized cart-accessible! I believe this project ruins the landscape just so some people who didn’t have any interest in visiting anyway might find it easier. It’s a shame.
“Not everything is for everyone in life. Maybe while we’re at it we should build a ramp to the top of Mount Everest?” she asked sarcastically. “How about a conveyor belt along the Great Wall of China?”
MacDillon countered by saying that gorgeous natural areas such as Walton Glen Gorge are inherently discriminatory.
“I’ve never been there, myself,” he said. “Back in the ’90s I heard about it, and thought, ‘That sounds like a minefield of liability issues,’ so we got to work coming up with ways to make it more inclusive. Thus, the Observation Deck was born. Better to promote observation than participation; better a safe stroll than a rewarding hike, right?
“According to the photos I’ve seen, it’s not only beautiful, but potentially profitable, so we decided to make the whole place accessible to people who don’t give a crap about it anyway. We ruined the Hopewell Rocks for everyone, and we can ruin this too.”
Many locals support the province’s plan.
“Let’s just pave the whole damn thing — we don’t need woods or mountains or any of that nonsense. It’s just no fair that I don’t get to go everywhere in New Brunswick,” said Karla Rogers, a Miramichier who drives a motorized shopping cart on the road despite not needing one. “I pay my taxes just like everyone else, so I should be able to roll up to wherever I want and dump my garbage there if I feel like it.”
Rogers revealed that she has also been lobbying the City of Miramichi to build a large, inflatable raft for her and other cart-drivers to ride down to river all the way to Fredericton.