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Guidelines for Economic and Industrial Development within Sustainable Communities in Northern NB

 


 February 18, 2004
Presentation to the
Round Table of Economic and Sustainable Development
 made by representatives of
Bathurst Sustainable Development
Belledune Sustainable Development
 
Good Evening! My name is Brenda Kelley and I am the Community Development Coordinator for Bathurst Sustainable Development and Regional Coordinator for Sustainable Development in North-eastern, NB. With me is Peggy Gordon, of Belledune Sustainable Development. Since Restigouche Sustainable Development was only recently formed, there is no representative with us tonight.

Our three organizations have the joint Mission Statements and Goals under the United Nations definition of Sustainable Development and Sustainable Communities. The background of our 31 and growing list of Director’s includes nurses, teachers, realtors,  chemists, industrial engineers, environmental technicians, conservationists, business and tourism operators, farmers, water resource specialists, business operators, representatives of respected Provincial and National naturalist’s organizations.
 
The 21 Century brings with it, finally, the acceptance that the economy and society live together within the eco system, as the vision of "The New Sustainable Development" shows us. We acknowledge that our human life support systems, water, air, lands, and sea, are interconnected with and dependant on the eco systems and their health. Neither humans nor ecosystems can hope to exist with out the other or if the activities of one degrade the ability of the others to survive and function.
 
You have asked us to provide you with our thoughts on additional industrial development in this region.  We strongly believe that the economic prosperity plan for this region is too heavy industry oriented, if those industries come with an environmental debt. We believe in the need for more diversification in the current economic strategy.  We feel there is not enough emphasis on environmentally friendly, large employee manufacturing, communications, urban services, and the dozens of other economic businesses and activities that could be pursued which we will review with you in this presentation. When we read some of the past economic development reports, we identify how narrow in scope, vision, and diversity they are. Prosperity for a region or urban center, in order to be successful, must address all aspects of life. Diversity in other Cities and regions means much a large variety and our region must develop this diversity if we ever hope to retain our youth and attract new citizens to sustain our population. In the 21 Century, we live in the "global international village". The services, topics, available recreation, learning, cuisine and "flair' of our urban and regional centers should reflect this.

As the fossil fuel era continues to diminish, and the new energy revolution explodes, as the world and its people demand more products from recycled materials, more demand for environmentally friendly and economical modes of transportation, greater and more diversified intellectual, social, recreational and service oriented activities for what now is the global international village, and as communities demand more “greening”, economic opportunities for our region are vast and must be included and pursued.  This diversification in services, goods produced and recreational activities can only be attained if our citizens have the opportunities for higher learning, both in technical and trades skills, retraining and advanced studies; financing for their ventures, and prioritizing of the development of these items.
Unfortunately, increasing the pollution levels, by increasing the number of heavy industries in the region who emit toxins, will convince more citizens to move away, convince less people to move here and harm our future economic development.  Any choice therefore in industry options would have to have a no to low environmental debt rating facility.

Sometimes our choice to rely on heavy industries, and in fact in any economic activity, but particularly those which produce effluent, acid mine drainage, air pollutants and water pollutants, provide short term economic gains and long term environmental drains and are not the best option for economic sustainability in our region. The long term environmental drains or debts  would be such items as the release of biocumulative toxins, depletion of surface and ground water reserves, acid mine drainage, contamination of rivers, streams, and oceans, disturbance of habitats, risk to species, risk to agricultural, food collection and fisheries operations, volumes of waste products and garbage produced, consumption of natural resources,  impacts on quality of life through dust, noise, trucking, the cost of clean up from spills, the impact from fugitive emissions, the impact on real-estate value, resale or financing, impact on tourism potential, degradation of pristine eco systems and landscape management, and ability of citizens to enjoy quality of life.

 In the case of hard rock mining, for example, while it is true that a mine often produces hundreds of jobs and in the case of our local Noranda Mine, thousands of jobs for over 40 years, which is a huge and very positive economic gain, that particular mine, according to Noranda in 2004, will continue to produce, for 1000 years, acid mine drainage into, around and in Little River, plus other rivers, streams and books, all of which eventually connect and drain into Bathurst Harbor, the Bay Chaleur and into the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Excellent water treatment facilities will treat this, however the ability of such companies, to satisfactorily provide the financial compensation for the cost of mitigating the impact of 1000 years of acid mine drainage and ensuring tailing pond wall stability, is considered a long term economic risk to our community that also has the potential to bankrupt the company. This environmental debt passes financially onto the surrounding communities, our Provincial and Federal governments and our children once the company is unable to cover the reclamation and care costs. Our pollution  and environmental debt is not localized; it spreads and impacts other areas creating environmental debt in their community. This can impact the ability of a harbor to be safely dredged to allow for cruise ships, Tall Ships,; impacts shellfisheries etc...When calculating environmental debt, we must factor in these long term changes to our eco systems.

It is our responsibility to choose economic activities that do not produce an environmental debt legacy. We need positive initiatives such as value added products manufactured from recycled materials in total closed loop systems, additional services such as public transportation, cultural, health, educational, social, agricultural expansion, presentation and development of fine arts activities, research and development, unique and specialized services, telecommunications, health care private services would provide the framework and foundation for thousands of jobs for a hundred years or more within the community if they were prioritized and actively sought to be developed. .

Take another example, the proposed soil treatment facility in Belledune. While the proposed facility may provide a service to New Jersey and the other areas where the contaminated material comes from by removing toxic soil and waste from their region and country, the majority of the final output material from, the proposed facility is still not producing a value added product of any value to either our local community or the region. Therefore in our opinion it produces an environmental debt by permitting years of bioaccumulation and toxins emitted both in our air, on our land and in our waters.  Factor in the potential for expansion of the license and the acceptance of soils from international and global sources, and over the years, Canada and specifically Northern NB will be left to manage a large and grossly unfair burden of this waste from the international world.
Focusing only on the 100,000 tons and its unusable by product gives the perception that its negative environmental debt is small. Factor that amount by 25 years of operation and the environmental debt is huge. Short term, localized, treatment, on site,  within each community,  within each country, treating only their own local contaminated soils and waste and then moving on to treat the next communities soils, is acceptable to most citizens, but years of long term exposure by one select region or community and its habitats, from the cumulative emissions, consumption of their local natural resources, build up of contaminates on their land and eco systems, from the treatment of the rest of the countries and indeed the worlds waste is considered a risk to their human health, and a risk to their long term economic prosperity and quality of life. All of this for only 34 jobs.  

Some areas would never be proposed for certain types of heavy industrial operations because they are considered and classified as being “pristine and non degraded”.  North-Eastern NB has been increasing in its level of cumulative contaminating levels for years. The people of this region want it to stop; they want restoration, and non polluting economic ventures.  You will find that the youth of today, especially those with young children and the professionals, have little interest in working in a work setting or facility that poses a risk to their health or that poses a risk to the environment and retired citizens do not want to live in an area that is heavily polluted. 

Before any industries can be proposed or approved for the Renvio Park or any other area in this region, there are some Environmental Infrastructure priorities that need to be addressed. We are presenting you with some:  
"Guidelines for Economic and Industrial Development within
Sustainable Communities in Northern NB”
 “Environmental Infrastructure Priority Requirements"
1)      Water Quantity Supply- making sure the region or area being proposed for expanded industrial, economic and population increases have the stream flow or ground water supplies to support the future essential water (life sustaining) supply needs of the humans currently living within the proposed community.
·        That they have a designated watershed for future residential and non-industrial supplies identified and protected by law both in geography and draw quantities;  
·        That they have adequate availability of local water supplies for current commercial establishments and wildlife already living within the proposed community;
·        That they have identified additional future supplies of fresh water;
·        That they have begun to implement alternative sources of non-essential (non life sustaining) fresh water supplies (i.e. harvested rain water; recycled water)
·        That they allow ample berths in projections of future water resource supplies to allow for the impacts of climate change on fresh water resources.  
These items would constitute as:
First Priority: Environmental Infrastructure Requirements
“Water Availability and Future Supply 
  • Water for increasing supply to existing industries for expansion and or the introduction of new additional industrial facilities in the region, who require water, would be identified as "Secondary Priority", Environmental Infrastructure and should be permitted and approved only after all Priority 1, requirements have been met and secured.
  • Since a cluster of large and heavy industries  can often consume as much fresh water per year as a City of 10,000 people, identification of  if it is possible to introduce additional new heavy industrial development should be based on the findings of a study on the available resource in the area.    

  • Finally, the assessment of the economic dollar value to the local economy of the proposed new industry, its employment level, tax base and spin off should be compared to the economic dollar value and economic spin off an equal amount of new residents that could be enticed to relocate to the region by some other means, who would utilize the same volume of allocated fresh water that the industry would use. This would result in knowing what is the "total net environmental cost and economic impact".
For example, if one new industry consumes the same volume of water per year that 2000, 5000, or 10,000 new residents would consume- which one provides greater long term economic value, purchases more local goods and services, and provides a larger tax base to the local economy when you calculate the length of time the industry lives in the community to the length of time that each of the new residents live in the community?
Is it the 2000 – 10,000 new citizens who produce the greatest economic gain or the one new industry?
In order to truly see the final figure, the total negative as well as positive environmental and economic costs over the life span must be included, such as the production of greenhouse gas emissions, spills, contamination clean ups, bioaccumulation of toxins in the environment, smog, emissions, volumes of garbage and waste, etc...produced by both the new residents and the new heavy industry.

2) Eco System Assessments- Since the basis of true Sustainable Development is that society and the economy are located and co exist inside the eco system and need the eco system to sustain human life , as well as all wildlife life, knowing the current "state of the eco system" in the proposed development area would constitute as :  

Priority 1- Environmental Infrastructure-Eco System Health.
Taking an "Ecological Audit" of the state of your natural resources, health of eco systems, particularly if the area has been under the impact of pollutants, development stress and climate change stress for many years,  is a requirement to obtain knowledge of the impact on the eco system of societies current years of activities. 

In other words, no industrial development,  large commercial, any large development should take place on any property without a Biophysical Assessment, Species and Habitat Assessment, to  identify what species, wildlife, vegetation is currently in the proposed area, what is its "At Risk", is it rare, vulnerable or threatened,  its classification, status, habitat and migration needs.

At this point it really is not possible to determine what if any facilities could go into the Renvio Park since no ecological assessment has been done on the remaining acreage to determine if it is suitable able to be developed. What we do know is that the water table on the proposed Bennett property is high, and may also be on the rest of the Renviro Park properties, we know that ecologically significant habitats and vulnerable species were identified as being on the remaining undisturbed areas of the Bennett property and on the perimeters of bordering properties. We have no way of knowing what was on the property prior to the disturbance since no pre assessment was completed prior to it being clear cut. Do we know if there are species at risk and critical habitats on the rest of the Renviro Park? Do we know if there are valuable ground water reserves there? No, we do not know this, and we will only know once the ecological assessment and a hydrological assessment is completed and we review the technical report. These two items need to be done before the properties are approved for development.   

This should not be optional or voluntary, it should be mandatory, for it is the loss of these items which threatens the biological stability of life on earth.
This would involve also assessing in detail the impact and status on land, rivers, streams, lakes and oceans and all natural resource based activities. We already witness, daily, locally, what mans history of activities has done to the balance of life on earth. We see it in the changes in the weather, increased storm surge, changes in migration, loss of species, increases in disease, drought, pestilence and yes, global warming. Since our life support system is integrated with theirs we cannot ignore their needs since to do so would be to threaten our own existence- this is the balance required for life on Earth- it is called "biodiversity". There is no separating the needs of the eco system from economic development.

4) Priority 1- Environmental Health- Some communities simply cannot sustain an increase in industrial emissions and expect to safely maintain a human population. There are limits to the safety of long term exposure, levels of exposure and cumulative impacts from bioaccumulation and uptake through the food chain that must be known and accepted. I use for example, mercury in fish. It is not the first , young fish that has the highest level of mercury, it is the larger fish, further up the food chain, such as tuna, which  has been the predator of several smaller fish and they of other fish all containing levels of mercury which never diminish, instead they accumulate. Smaller fish such as salmon can be heavily impacted by being fed other fish or fish food containing levels of mercury. Humans are the final top predator in the food chains. The impacts of toxins, in concentrated areas, push the human health impacts over the limits. There are limits to how much of these toxins citizens are willing to expose themselves and their children to before making the decision that either the proposed additional pollutants go or the citizens move away from the area. In some communities, encroachment on long time residents from additional industrial facilities is making it impossible for them to remain living in their homes, without a risk to their long term health. People, especially the young citizens, simply will not continue to live in a region with high levels of contaminates and risk. They have options, they are mobile, and they will make the choice to live and raise their families in a "cleaner" area. 

5) Consultation With and Acceptance by the People
The foundation of our communities is its people, the family, which include individual citizens, and their children. We will have no need for economic development in the North, if our families have already moved away. In the 21 Century, people no longer want to be “told” what is going to be done by those at the top. Democracy is from the bottom up. Citizens want to be involved in the development of plans, ideas, pre-screening and selection of what industrial activities, if any and other economic activities will be permitted and encouraged to be active in and near their communities.  Every proposed economic activity or development you consider must somehow link positively directly back to the following questions:

What does the family need in order for the family to be happy, healthy and continuing to want to live and raise their children in our community or region? 
Does our decision to recommend this particular facility, in any way, send negative messages to the family?
Does the facility poise long term cumulative health risks to the family?
Does it impact the property of the family? 
Does it degrade our natural environments which the families cherish and want to be pristine? 
Do families who do not live here, view the proposed facility as a negative and risk activity?
Will it stop that family from vacationing here? Considering relocating here?  Starting a business here?
Accepting employment here?  Going to college here?  Retiring here? 

While we appreciate tonight’s consultation and the two public meetings you have arranged, the “by invitation only” sessions should have been open for public viewing and observation. We are discussing their future, our future, and activities that will directly impact their daily lives. Therefore we will be sharing our presentation with the public.
The people of this region will not accept the siting of a heavy industry, or other large operation in or near their community without adequate consultation. They also identify that on the economic decision making Boards, there is not enough, if any, representation from the citizens and community groups in the sectors of the Environment, Health, Social Services, Women in Business, First Nations, Agriculture, Fisheries, the Challenged and Youth.  Before you will be able to move forward with any further industrial development in this region additional seats will need to be placed at the tables of the economic development initiatives in this region and the people of the communities of the region freely delegate their choice of representatives for each of these additional chairs.  Also, studies for increased development must be inclusive of a diverse list of topics and assessments.
 
Here is our list of potential businesses, industries, manufacturing items, cultural, recreational, educational, and social initiatives which we believe could, with the integration of renewable energy and energy efficiency incentives, greatly bring stable, long term, jobs and economic prosperity to our region with positive environmental debt ratings: 
 
Communications Centers
(Moncton employees 6500 citizens in Communication centers with another 3000 in spin off and support jobs)
(Companies pay full benefits, These centers are asking for public transit to be available in  the NB City they select for their centers)
Micro Brewery                                                                             Cultural Villages
Winery                                                                                          A National Park
Wind Power Development                                                   Greenhouse Food Production
Solar Power Development and Distribution                           Energy Home Retrofitting                         
A Regional Composting, Recycling Program                        Weekend Festivals/Events
Agriculture Expansion                                                                   Chocolate Factory
Frozen, Fresh and Packaged Vegetarian Food Products            Coffee Houses
International Café’s                                                                           Health Spas
Sun-Dried Tomato Production and Products                          Regional transit system
Seniors Services- various                                                              Performing Arts  
Retirement Villas                                                                      Workshops/Conferences
Research and Development Center                                        Private Health Services-                                                        
Specialty Schools                                                             An Aquaculture Research Station      
Manufacturing of Rain Water Harvesters                                   Training Centers
An English University Campus                                      An Agricultural Research Station
Continuing Education Center                                              Clothing Manufacturing
Television and Movie Production                                   Ecological Tourism Attractions
Solar Thermal Energy Manufacturing                               Solar Air Manufacturing
Hospital& Medical equipment and supplies                     Solar Greenhouse Construction                                                  
Pharmaceuticals Supplies                                                    Sporting equipment manufacturing             
Furniture Manufacturing                                                        Diaper Manufacturing
Wheat and grain production                                                        Outdoor Café’s                  
Indoor, on land, closed loop, aquaculture                            Corner Food Vendors
Old Tyme Country Store                                                      Expansion of Farmer’s Market
A Biosphere Reserve              

                                                
List of potential weekend or week long festivals events focusing on the following topics:
 
Blueberries Fest                        Strawberry Fest                        Maple Sugar Festival
Tomatoes Festival                     Multicultural                             Astronomy Conferences
International Food Festival        Wine Festival                            Country Harvest Festival
Beer Festival                            Comedy Festival                                 Solar Festival
Opera Festival                          Symphony Festival                        Blue Grass Festival
Eagle Observation Festival        Ballet Presentations                    Agricultural Fairs
Sailing Competitions                 Mystery Weekends                       Flower Shows
Woodsman Competitions          Country BBQ’s                            ECMA Awards
Cross Country Ski Competitions                                                 Earth Sciences Events
Celtic Festival                           Barvarian Festival                    
 
The New Sustainable Development
 The Environment IS Our Economy

© 2017 Bathurst Sustainable Development