Common Vision & Strategy for the Petitcodiac River and Its Communities

Petitcodiac Riverkeeper is leading community outreach and discussions to develop an environmentally responsible vision and strategy to take advantage of new opportunities offered by the restoration of the Petitcodiac River, such as ecotourism, recreation, environmental and public health, economic development and community resilience.

For the past 20 years, Petitcodiac Riverkeeper and its community partners have worked together to bring attention to the plight of the Petitcodiac River. The results have been historic. The natural flow of the Petitcodiac River is returning, as are fish populations and habitat. The tidal bore is once again a major tourist attraction. Never in Canadian history has a tidal river been brought back to life and offered such a unique opportunity to make significant contributions to the quality of life and economies of urban and rural communities.

However, these tremendous accomplishments do not mean the Petitcodiac River is safe from the harmful effects of climate change, erosion, flooding, or from human-made issues. Growing ecotourism and recreational use of the river, while a welcome opportunity for economic development, also create potential issues, and must be done in a way that ensures the safety and well-being of both the river and the public.

With the opening of the causeway gates in 2011, extensive upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility, and a partial bridge currently being constructed, many stakeholders who once rallied around the common cause of the Petitcodiac River have gone back to their “silos” and do not collaborate in the ways they once did. Groups have identified the need to begin working more strategically together.

A first symposium was held in October 2019 bringing together businesses, municipalities, towns and villages, wildlife protection and restoration organizations, universities, artists, economic development organizations, people who live and work along the Petitcodiac River, and others who see potential in the river to build the local economy in an ecologically responsible way.

Four key topics were discussed:

  • Linking Our Communities: How can we improve the trail system and other attractions to unleash the full ecotourism potential of the Petitcodiac River?
  • Water Quality: What are the main sources of pollution in the Petitcodiac River watershed and what can we do to minimize them?
  • The Value of Natural Infrastructure: How do we protect and promote natural ecosystems in the context of climate change?
  • Developing a Vision: How can all stakeholders better collaborate to develop a common vision, and maximize the economic, cultural and environmental benefits of the Petitcodiac River?

A summary of preliminary thoughts and discussions from this historic symposium, which will help guide future discussions and the eventual creation of a shared vision and strategy document, is presented in the following report:

Next Steps

Petitcodiac Riverkeeper will seek further community input and delve deeper into these themes as well as start creating a shared vision and strategy document by identifying common priorities and projects.

It should be noted that Petitcodiac Riverkeeper is also currently working on creating a Community Action Plan for the Memramcook River and Watershed Revitalization and the consultations and research that is needed to create such a plan can also help guide the organization in facilitating collaborative work with the many stakeholders surrounding the Petitcodiac River when work commences on the shared vision and strategy document.

Stay Informed!

  • Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Facebook Group – Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper
  • Petitcodiac Riverkeeper email distribution list – request to be added by contacting info@petitcodiac.org.

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