In reaction to the ongoing consultations on local governance reform, members and collaborators of the New Brunswick Environmental Network formed an ad hoc committee back in March 2021 to discuss the links between local governance and environmental protection. Additionally, an open meeting of NBEN members was held on May 17th. Twenty people registered and eleven attended. Of those not in attendance, several sent along their comments by email.

The NBEN submitted its brief "Beyond Taxes and Services: Local Governance, Strong Rural Voices, Sustainable Land Use Planning, Environmental Protection, and Climate Adaptation and Mitigation" on May 31st. This brief contains 6 key environmental points of concern:
  1. Sustainable land use planning, environmental protection, and climate change adaptation and mitigation must be properly considered in the current process of local governance reform in New Brunswick.
  2. Statements of provincial interest are key in setting minimum standards for sustainable land use planning (including protection of farmland), watershed management and flood prevention, climate adaptation and mitigation, right to a healthy environment, and protection of ecologically important and sensitive natural areas, so that everyone is operating from the same playbook, regardless of the local governance structure in place where they live.
  3. Watersheds, airsheds, foodsheds, wildlife corridors, and other various ecosystems straddle human-defined municipal boundaries, hence the need for collaborative governance structures. Upstream activities impact downstream communities.
  4. Strong rural voices as key to environmental protection.
  5. Natural ecosystems in New Brunswick (forests, wetlands, dunes, salt marshes, etc) provide essential goods and services to our communities, both big and small.
  6. Municipalities need greater access to various forms of authority, powers and fiscal levers currently outside their purview to encourage sustainability solutions at the local level.

The ideas presented outline general consensus points, though each idea is not necessarily endorsed by each participating organization or member of the NBEN.

Prepared by the New Brunswick Environmental Network and its ad hoc committee on local governance and the environment:

Adam Cheeseman, Nature NB
Annika Chiasson, New Brunswick Environmental Network
Céline Surette, Université de Moncton
Lois Corbett, Conservation Council of New Brunswick
Serge Larochelle, Groupe de développement durable du Pays de Cocagne
Tim Leblanc Murphy, New Brunswick Environmental Network

If you have any questions, please contact :
Tim LeBlanc Murphy
Executive Director of the NBEN
 © 2018 NBEN / RENB