Shediac — A few days before Christmas, the New Brunswick government gifted citizens with a new 10-year water strategy for the upcoming year and extending all of the way to 2028.
While the presents in the document included many items on the wish lists of environmental stakeholders, Shediac residents are mainly worried about getting one item in particular in their stockings.
“This 19-page outline looks great and has lots of positive ideas, but there’s something that’s not quite explicit enough for me,” said 62-year-old Shediac resident Meredith Rivage. “I’d like to see something that says clearly, ‘No more swimming in poopy water,’ or some words to that effect.
“If it’s in here, I’m sorry but it’s just not jumping out at me,” she stated. “I think I’d be more comfortable with seeing a unambiguous commitment to no more swimming in human excrement at Parlee Beach. I feel like we have one shot at getting this right, so for me ‘No more swimming in poop water at the provincial parks’ has got to be in there in black and white.”
“Oh it’s definitely in there!” answered Environment Minister Serge Rousselle. “Over the next two years, we will introduce legislation that will both make watershed protection action plans mandatory and legally enforceable and set science-based water quality standards!
“We also mention managing surface water quality in the province on a watershed basis, improving the management and protection of wetlands and establishing a recreational water monitoring program for the provincial park system that will be ready for next summer,” he concluded.
“Yes, I saw that and it totally sounds great,” replied Rivage. “I swear I’m not trying to be intentionally difficult. But, I think I still need to see ‘No more swimming in human waste at Parlee Beach,’ as a clearly-stated goal. I don’t want there to be any ambiguity down the road where the government says they met the commitment, but people end up still swimming in sewage.
“I understand it’s a sensitive topic for government, they can even make the print really tiny. But, it’s got to be in there somewhere.”