Progress update on efforts to address water quality at Parlee Beach22 December 2017
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Construction on two projects, to upgrade wastewater infrastructure in Shediac and lift stations in Pointe-du-Chêne, started this fall and are underway. The provincial government also reported that all other projects announced earlier this year to help improve the water quality at Parlee Beach are either underway or have been completed.
“Your government understands that Parlee Beach is a major tourism draw for New Brunswick, one of North America’s finest beaches, and we are working hard to get things done by having all of these projects completed before the start of the 2018 season. Public safety and a healthy environment remain our main concerns,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle. “We are also committed to keeping the public informed about the progress made on these projects on an ongoing basis.”
The projects in Shediac include the renewal of a lift station on Wayne Street and the addition of a standby generator. Other standby generators are being installed at lift stations on Pleasant Street, Paturel Street and Pussyfoot Lane. The work is on schedule to be completed by the end of May 2018.
In Pointe-du-Chêne, work includes upgrades to the lift station on Jarvis Street and the renewal of 455 metres of sanitary sewer and six manholes along St. John Street. After a review was conducted by the Department of Environment and Local Government, it was determined that the replacement of sanitary sewer on St. John Street had to register for an Environmental Impact Assessment, which was done. The assessment is currently ongoing.
However, the other components of the project are not codependent on the replacement of the sanitary sewer on Saint John Street so the lift station upgrade is underway and the completion of the project is still planned for the end of May 2018.
Following is an update on projects announced earlier this year:
- The installation of a rain gauge and near real-time data logger at Parlee Beach has been completed. A rain gauge was also installed at Murray Beach.
- An education campaign about responsible dog ownership was initiated in May and continued until early fall. Waste bins, bag dispensers and signage were placed throughout Pointe-du-Chêne. Educational flyers were distributed. An estimated 5.3 tons of dog waste was disposed in the bins throughout the 2017 season.
- Upgrades to the Murray Beach sewage lagoon are underway. A nutrient infuser was installed. The tendering process has been completed this fall for the supply and installation of the new UV system and the backup generator so that the work can be completed in advance of the 2018 operating season.
- The independent ground survey to delineate wetlands was completed. The 148 owners of the 277 properties in the drainage area, which have a high potential for wetlands, were contacted to seek their consent to carry out the exercise. After receiving land owner consent, the delineation was completed on 94 properties. The delineation of a large section of wetland along the Pointe-du-Chêne Road and in Parlee Beach Provincial Park has also been completed and a map is available online.
- The Parlee Beach Provincial Park Sewage System upgrade project is ongoing. The project was transferred from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to the Greater Shediac Sewerage Commission because it needs to be connected to the commission’s collection system. The design work is in progress and the tendering is scheduled for early 2018. Although there has been a delay in the start of construction, it is still set to be completed by May 2018.
- New pump-out facilities were installed at both marinas in early October.
- The inventory of private septic systems was completed.
- The Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture is working with Transport Canada on establishing a boater exclusion zone in accordance with the federal Navigation Protection Act. Meetings with stakeholders and the public were held on Aug. 11 and Aug. 24, respectively. The installation of buoys farther from the swimming area is on track to be completed in time for the 2018 beach season.
- All the scientific work has been completed and is currently being reviewed by the steering committee to make recommendations to the government in early 2018.
- In addition, a water quality monitoring protocol is being developed for all other provincial parks based on principles behind the protocol for Parlee Beach, and will be in place for the 2018 season.
“I am pleased to report on the progress on all this work and to say that all projects are on track to be completed before the 2018 beach season,” said Rousselle. “We are proud of the work that has been accomplished and we are now looking forward for the steering committee to make its recommendations to the government in early 2018.”
In April, the government also announced measures to improve water quality monitoring, in accordance with the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality, and to improve communication with the public. Water quality test results were posted online on a daily basis throughout the season and will follow the same process of posting results next season as well.
In May, the government announced about $3 million in investments in strategic infrastructure and studies to support water quality improvements at Parlee Beach. It also declared the Parlee Beach watershed a unique feature of the environment under the environmental impact assessment regulation. The declaration means developments that could affect water quality at Parlee Beach now require an automatic review by the Department of Environment and Local Government to determine whether an Environmental Impact Assessment is required. To date, there have been 78 new projects screened, with two requiring an assessment.