The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2006 December 8

Devious plans — would they work?

Is it time to fight fire with fire?

Rumblings from Ottawa say that there might be another general election sooner rather than later. That puts legislation at the back of the priority list, the most important thing now becomes either getting re-elected,or getting back into power.

Alberta, Ontario and Quebec will be the main playing fields for any election — understandably so given their large populations.Toronto has more people in it than New Brunswick,so it's naturally going to get more attention.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal proponents will quietly continue their procedures, hopeful that the more diverted Canadian politics are internally, the more progress they'll make. And the debate on Head Harbour Passage's Canadian waters pales into insignificance on the Canadian national political stage.

Premier Graham has stated that the issue is important, in spite of the bulk of the issue being in a Conservative riding. Let's hope that he keeps to his word, and that whatever the make-up of the national government six months from now, it's still an issue that warrants attention. Actually, it doesn't need attention, it needs action.

So maybe it's time for us locals to take a different approach.

It's an idea that we brought up to a few people last year. There was agreement that it was fiendishly clever. And it might do the trick.

You see, the U.S. LNG companies are working on their own proposals that affect their own country. The Canadian issue can come later. And by that time, it could be a big fight.

So perhaps, on our own side of the border, we need to develop our own plans to develop our own economic needs.Those needs would, it would seem, revolve around tourism, and definitely not heavy industry.

Anyone who has been to England knows that there are many beautiful seaside resorts, commercial yet tasteful. And many ofthem have tourist attractions called piers. They have them in the U.S., too, actually, and they can be very big money spinners. The piers often have pavilions, or stores, on them, and they become attractions to tourists from miles around.

While it would cost an awful lot of money, surely there's a developer out there who would just love to increase the draw in the region by building, say, Canada's longest pier. Oh, and it's location could be off Campobello Island, in Canadian waters, stretching out towards Deer Island.

It wouldn't meet, because it couldn't — ships need to get to Bayside, for example. However, tragically, it would be too narrow for LNG tankers to get through. An unfortunate by-product of the pier, yes, but it would be simply in the name of increasing tourism in Charlotte County.

It would have to be environmentally friendly, and given the tides and the weather, extremely sturdy. But it's definitely not beyond the capability of science and engineering.

The building on the end of the pier could house a natural history museum, or an interpretive centre, or even a marine aquarium It could have a visitor information centre, restaurant, look-out points. It could even have an amusement arcade for the kids.

Yes, it would be likely be immensely expensive, but the alternative — LNG terminals — would be economically devastating to the area anyway.

If it could be done, it's an option to pursue, alongside the efforts of those on the American side of Passamaquoddy Bay. And if it starts to gain impetus, it's going to throw a serious wrench in the LNG plans. Because, surely, they can't object to Canada trying to do something inside of its own waters, as long as it's not impacting on the current economy of what already exists in the bay, from Bayside to Eastport.

And if it never comes to fruition, that's fine too, as long as the LNG terminals don't either.


© 2006 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB