Earth Day celebrated in Tantramar

Katie Tower
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SACKVILLE, N.B. – As Sackville celebrated Earth Day on Saturday with a variety of activities for all ages, a clear message rang out loud and clear throughout the events –every day should be Earth Day.

“I consider it Earth Day every day, 365 days a year,” said Dorchester Mayor JJ Bear during the Locally Produced trade show at the Sackville Legion Saturday afternoon.

Bear said our own wasteful habits and careless actions have led to devastating impacts on our planet.

“Mother Earth is sending a message that she is not healthy,” said Bear. “The question is, are we in time to save her?”

Bear believes we can repair the damage, but it will take a concerted effort from everyone to make it work.

The village of Dorchester, for example, has concentrated some of its efforts on recycling education. Officials there have also sent out a message to the shale gas industry and the provincial government, through a council motion, that the community wants no part in the exploration or fracking for natural gas.

“And hopefully governments will start to listen . . . see the light of what’s going to happen,” he said.

Joe Breau, a councillor from Memramcook, agreed with his neighbor, saying everyone needs to be part of the solution – from residents to business owners to industry and government.

“If everybody puts 100 per cent in it, maybe we wouldn’t have a lot of this stuff going on,” he said.

Val MacDermid, a councillor from Port Elgin, said her village is doing what it can to contribute to those efforts.

From establishing a tree-planting program to making energy-efficient upgrades to its village buildings and infrastructure, as well as approving a shale gas resolution of its own, Port Elgin has made a lot of strides in the right direction over the past few years.

“And we encourage our residents and businesses to do their part as well,” she said.

The town of Sackville is also on the right track, according to Mayor Bob Berry.

He cites, for example, the energy savings and efficiencies found within the new town hall/emergency services facility that opened up two years ago.

“Needless to say, we’re very proud of our building. It’s been a real savings for our community.”

The town has also, over the past few years, put forward an idling policy, has enacted changes to its zoning bylaw to reduce the number of drive-thrus, switched some its street lighting to LED, purchased a hybrid vehicle for its bylaw officer, and is looking at installing electric car chargers in the community.

“We have to look at alternatives to fossil fuels,” said Berry.

Also included among the Earth Day activities was a family walk through the Sackville Waterfowl Park and an afternoon presentation addressing issues related to the unconventional shale gas industry.

Geographic location: SACKVILLE, Dorchester, Tantramar Port Elgin Memramcook Sackville Waterfowl Park

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