“Challenges and Threats to Blueberry Project on Former Tracadie Firing Range”

The creation of blueberry fields on the former Tracadie firing range may not go smoothly. The leaders of Bleuets NB know this very well. That’s why they asked the Minister of Public Safety, Kris Austin, to take the necessary measures.

The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries announced on May 1 that a new step had been taken in the blueberry project: 20 producers in the region had just received “a rental offer to develop a blueberry crop savages in the old shooting range”.

However, the population is partly opposed to this project. The government’s latest maneuvers are pushing many to the brink of exasperation.

The tea towel is definitely burning. On May 16, a fire broke out in a dormant pile of lumber and debris in the middle of a vacant lot, on the old firing range.

The Department of Natural Resources intervened. Where did the spark come from that ended up igniting this stack? The natural elements? The human hand?

Speculation as to the origin of the fire can go a long way. They can also be wrong. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Development confirmed to Acadie Nouvelle on Friday that an investigation is underway. Last week, its employees fought a “small brush fire” at the old firing range. About one hectare (2.5 acres) blazed.

Unhappy NB Blueberries

Nevertheless, it was enough, the next day, to incite René Chiasson, the president of Bleuets NB, and the general manager of the organization, Donald Arseneault, to write to Minister Austin.

L’Acadie Nouvelle obtained a copy of this correspondence.

“Yesterday a devastating fire was intentionally started in the wild blueberry fields near the Tracadie firing range,” it read.

Bleuets NB also sees “recent incidents in the range area and the resulting threat to the wild blueberry industry in the Acadian Peninsula. […] The actions of a few misguided individuals must not jeopardize an industry that is vital to the prosperity and well-being of our community.”

The letter, co-signed, urges the minister to take drastic measures.

“I strongly urge the government to take the necessary security measures to ensure the protection of the Tracadie shooting range and the wild blueberry fields.”

According to Bleuets NB, there needs to be an “increase in the presence of law enforcement personnel in the region, the deployment of surveillance systems [et] establishment of appropriate security protocols to deter criminal activity”.

MM. Chiasson and Arseneault expressed the wish to discuss it with the minister. Friday afternoon, Bleuets NB said in an email to Acadie Nouvelle that it had not yet received any response from the minister.

L’Acadie Nouvelle also tried to find out if the minister would follow up on these requests. The ministry’s communications department tried unsuccessfully to reach Mr. Austin.