Opponents push alternative to Mt. Carleton gas bar and snowmobile trail on mountain
Fredericton - A perfectly good alternative to developments being proposed for within Mt. Carleton Park exists outside the wilderness park, say people dead-set against an enlarged snowmobile circuit and gas bar being promoted by the Province.
Jean Louis Deveau is spokesman for a group of citizens concerned about the expanding presence of snow machines in the Park and their impact on wildlife. The group is advancing alternative locations to keep the park free of new infrastructure and what they view as incompatible use by motorized vehicles in New Brunswick’s only designated wilderness park.
Governor's Lodge at Popple Depot, located east of the park, is one such alternative and is at the centre of a proposed snowmobile ‘hub.’ “From my understanding, Governor’s Lodge has the space for sled gatherings and it also sells gas,” Deveau, a former manager at Mt. Carleton said Tuesday.
“Why build new infrastructure to enable sleds to gas up in a wilderness park when there are already private establishments in the area offering the services they want?” Deveau asks. Taxpayers would pay for the gas dispensary being proposed for the park, whereas the gas dispensary at Popple Depot was paid for by the private sector.
“By putting a new gas bar in the park, the Province may well disadvantage or even handicap Governor’s Lodge and other privately owned gas distributors in the area. Won’t that defeat the Province’s goals of trying to create new jobs with this project?” Deveau said.
Park advocates including Deveau have launched a legal challenge to force the government to abandon the scheme to infringe on the Park, and to follow its own legislation. A crowdfunding campaign on gofundme.com was launched in June to help cover legal fees. The court is scheduled to hear the case on September 2nd in Woodstock.
The Parks Act (2014) stipulates a management plan based on a zoning system must be completed prior to any development in Provincial Parks. Mt. Carleton has been zoned but doesn’t have a management plan.