SHEDIAC, N.B. – A group of residents have filed an appeal against the town of Shediac, after it rezoned an area of land to build a trailer park that would hold more than 750 vehicles.
“The main reason that the whole group is opposed to this project is for the environment, protecting the environment,” said Charlotte LeBlanc, a resident of Pointe-Du-Chene, -near the area of the proposed campground.
She added that traffic in the area is also a concern.
“There’s enough traffic on the road as it is now.”
The community of Pointe-Du-Chene is only a few kms away from Parlee Beach Provincial Park, a large tourist draw in the summer months. The community only has 761 year-round residents, according to the 2011 census, less than the number of people expected to stay in the new trailer park.
The spot for the proposed campground is an 80-acre green space along Main Street and Pointe-Du-Chene Road. The area includes a popular walking trail that stretches to the Provincial Park. It’s also home to diverse wildlife, which LeBlanc said is one of the residents biggest concerns.
The main route in and out of the community is Pointe-Du-Chene Road, where the proposed exit for the trailer park will be positioned. This is leading to the concerns about traffic.
“This is the only piece of land that’s left, 80 acres that they want to build on, the only piece of land that protects us against storm surges and spring thaws,” LeBlanc said, adding that many residents are concerned about the possibility of flooding in the region.
The appeal is not against the town’s decision to rezone the piece of land, but the way the process was done. The group says they do not feel residents were given enough time to voice their concerns during a public meeting held in April.
“We felt that everyone didn’t get a chance to speak, according to the communities act,” LeBlanc said. “Everyone has the right to speak and no one has the right to put limitations on what people have to say.”
The group said they filed 49 appeals to the Assessment and Planning Appeal Board. Requests by Global News to contact the appeals board Wednesday went unanswered.
LeBlanc said the group was told their appeals had been forwarded to the Town of Shediac, but no formal hearing date had been set. The appeal board is required to give two weeks of the appeal date.
There are, however, people in Shediac who support the project including local businesses eager for the prospect of added customers.
“The season has shortened quite a bit,” said Claudette Richard, owner of the Golden Fry.
The Golden Fry is situated on Main Street, not far from the site of the proposed campground.
“We support that more people would be coming to Shediac. The more the better,” said Richard. “It supports all the local businesses and most of the Shediac businesses are local owners.”
Complicating matters around the approval of the campground, Victor Boudreau, MLA for Shediac-Cap-Pelé is one of the main developers for the proposed campground. Reached Wednesday by e-mail for comment, he said that since the appeal is directed toward the town of Shediac and its process, rather than the project, he had nothing to add.