April 3, 2002

The Moncton Times and Transcript

Get river study started, Bradshaw says
by Tammy Scott-Wallace

Claudette Bradshaw says while an environmental impact assessment ** on the Petitcodiac River needs to be done right, a little haste wouldn’t hurt. “Everyone knows what has to be done, so let’s go out and do it. Enough is enough,” the MP for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe told the Times & Transcript editorial board yesterday.

And, in order for the EIA to be thorough, she insists Eugene Niles needs to be involved. She was referring to the consultant hired by Ottawa to study how fish navigate upriver beyond the causeway that spans the river between Moncton and Riverview. Last year in his report to the ** Department of Fisheries and Oceans, he recommended the completion of ** an environmental impact assessment to look at replacing a portion of the causeway with a bridge, opening the gates, or maintaining the status quo. Now, one year later, both the provincial and federal governments have agreed to conduct an EIA, but it’s yet to be registered. From the time the registration falls into the hands of Environment and Local Government Minister Kim Jardine, it will be four months for public input, drafting of guidelines and hiring of consultants before the public will get a final look at what the long-awaited EIA will look at. It will be approaching fall before the public knows the details of the study. Bradshaw said she’s developed a lot of patience when it comes to the Petitcodiac River. “I decided as a member of Parliament we made a mess in the ’60s and something had to be done about it,” she said. “I knew one thing, whatever was done to study the river, it needed to be done with both sides or we’d end up in court. That’s money wasted in my opinion.” She said she was convinced last year when Niles released his report that an EIA was necessary, and within months the federal government offered to fund the majority of it even though the causeway itself falls within the mandate of the provincial government. “I don’t think there’s a fight (between the two groups),” she said when questioned about suspected animosity between the federal and provincial governments when it comes to the Petitcodiac River issue. Even though she admits action has occurred at a slow pace since Niles released his report 12 months ago, Bradshaw is confident progress is being made. “I worked to open the file again on the Petitcodiac River, we hired Eugene Niles and a report was produced that finally both sides agreed on,” she said. “We managed to get everyone at the tables, and we managed to get everyone to support the Eugene Niles report, that had never been done before. “Then the province received its funding from us,” she continued. ” Our departments are gung-ho my only concern is that they get Eugene Niles involved again. I tried to get the politics out of it, that’s why I brought him in before, and I think it’s important the politics is left out of it again this time. “It’s up to the province now. My message was loud and clear to Minister Jardine that if you’re going to do this, involve Eugene because he will keep the public informed, and I’m a believer in the public has to know. He doesn’t play games.” A spokesman with the Department of Environment and Local Government didn’t return phone calls requesting information on whether or not Niles will be selected by the province to participate in this EIA. Bradshaw said her priority is coming to a joint conclusion with the province on the fate of the causeway and the river in the estimated three years the EIA’s expected to take. “I’m not going to finish as member of Parliament with an issue in Moncton people think I ran away from when it’s been there for 30 years,” she said. “You can’t say I hid. Now, I just want this EIA done right. “I know already when it comes to the Petitcodiac River I did everything in my power I could, anything else is beyond me,” she continued.