Tourism, Heritage and Culture
Investment in strategic infrastructure and a new policy on development for Parlee Beach area10 May 2017
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments are investing up to $3 million in strategic infrastructure and studies to support water quality improvements at Parlee Beach.
Parlee Beach is also being declared as a unique feature of the environment. The declaration means developments that could affect the water quality at Parlee Beach will require an automatic review by the Department of Environment and Local Government to determine if an Environmental Impact Assessment is required.
“The government is taking action to address concerns at Parlee Beach through enhanced monitoring and testing as well as improved communication and efforts are also underway to mitigate water quality issues and get to the bottom of what is happening in this region,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle. “The new policy which declares Parlee Beach as a unique feature of the environment recognizes the gravity of the situation in the region and is the right approach to take.”
Total new provincial funding being announced is $1.2 million. In addition, the province has previously announced $253,000 through the Environmental Trust fund for projects promoting environmental stewardship, education and analysis of water quality in the area, and another $828,000 is being provided federally, through the Gas Tax Fund, for waste water upgrades in Pointe-du-Chene.
In addition, the Greater Shediac Sewerage Commission has submitted a proposal under the Clean Water Wastewater Fund for lift station upgrades. The province has approved the $850,000 application and federal formal approval is underway.
Among the projects being undertaken include:
- An investment to upgrade the Parlee Beach Provincial Park sewage lift station.
- Upgrading two pump-out stations for boats to empty their holding tanks.
- Education and enforcement of responsible dog care at the beach.
- Installation of buoys farther from the swimming area.
- Upgrades to the Murray Beach sewage lagoon.
“The Government of Canada is committed to investing in local infrastructure that ensures Canadians have modern, reliable water and wastewater services that meet community needs and help preserve the environment,” said Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc. “We are proud to be investing in these important improvements to Pointe-du-Chene’s wastewater infrastructure, which will safeguard the health and well-being of residents while helping protect precious local waterways like Shediac Bay for years to come.”
LeBlanc spoke on behalf of Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi.
The provincial government also continues to work with the federal and municipal levels of government to secure more infrastructure funding for wastewater system upgrades in the Shediac area that will help protect the water quality of Parlee Beach.
“With today’s announcement, the government is balancing the need to protect the environment, support the important economic region of Parlee Beach, and manage sustainable development,” said Rousselle. “However, we also need the community and the local residents to work with us and do their part, for example by using the proper infrastructure to empty their boat’s holding tanks, keeping their dogs off the beach as well as properly maintaining their septic systems.”
“The Town of Shediac supports the initiatives being announced by the province concerning the water quality of Parlee Beach,” said Shediac Mayor Jacques LeBlanc. “We are relieved to see that the province is taking this issue seriously and is taking concrete steps to remedy the situation in the long term. Parlee Beach represents an icon of our tourism industry and we are confident that the initiatives announced today will enable Parlee Beach to remain a choice destination for our region.”
“The Greater Shediac Chamber of Commerce is pleased with the investment from the provincial government to improve the water quality situation of our beautiful Parlee Beach,” said Chamber of Commerce president Ron Cormier.
“The Shediac Bay Watershed will continue to work with different partners to educate on best practices to ensure good water quality in Shediac Bay,” said Rémi Donelle, manager of the Shediac Bay Watershed Association. “Everyone has a role to play to improve water quality.”
“Today’s announcement should speed up the repair of our treasured Parlee Beach area,” said Lois Corbett of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “Better sewage treatment, combined with smart education programs, will reduce harmful bacteria that can pollute our coast and jeopardize human health. Keeping our bays and beaches clean always pays off for our coastal economies.”
The government will continue to collaborate with academic and private sector experts to identify the source of bacterial contamination in the Shediac Bay Watershed in the medium and long term and will continue to assess the issues and evaluate the effectiveness of the projects underway.
In April, the provincial government announced the adoption of a new Water Quality Monitoring Protocol which is accordance with the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality and includes increased monitoring frequency and locations, the posting of clear advisory signs that indicate whether the water is suitable for swimming or whether a no swimming advisory is in effect, and that monitoring results and any public health advisories will be posted online for the public to view.
The Parlee Beach water monitoring protocol is also available online.
Backgrounder on Parlee Beach Investments
$500,000 Inspect and upgrade the Parlee Beach Provincial Park sewage lift station.
· This involves a detailed engineering assessment of the condition of the wastewater collection system at Parlee Beach and the replacement of any identified deficiencies such as including a back-up generator into the system infrastructure.
$40,000 Upgrade Murray Beach sewage lagoon
· This involves inspecting and upgrading the sewage lagoon; installing a nutrient infuser for influent, ultra violet purifier on effluent and standby generator.
$75,000 Upgrade pump-out stations at two marinas and work with marinas to educate public regarding boating practices and sewage loading
· This will ensure infrastructure at the two stations is suitable and convenient and easy to use, encouraging more boats to pump-out holding tanks at the stations.
$10,000 Educate about responsible dog ownership
· This education program will help to educate the benefit to the overall environment if people pick up after their dogs.
$5,000 Install buoys farther from the swimming area
· This initiative will determine a broader boater exclusion zone at Parlee Beach and install sightline buoys.
$18,500 Delineate wetlands through an independent ground survey
· This study will improve our understanding of the spacial extent and function of local wetlands.
$50,000 Conduct inventory of private septic systems*
· This is a scoping study to inventory all private septic systems, package plants (trailer parks, subdivisions), and industrial outfalls along the shore of Shediac Bay and rivers within the Greater Shediac Sewerage Commission and with 3 km of their boundaries.
$8,000 Install rain gauge and near real-time data logger*
· A weather station (rain gauge, wind speed and wind direction) for the Parlee Beach area will be installed and automated to make data available in near real-time.
$828,000 Federal Project under Gas Tax Fund – Pointe-du-Chene Wastewater Project
· The purpose of this project is to reduce infiltration in the area and reduce the likelihood of raw sewage overflow resulting from facility failure. If overflow occurred at lift station #7, it would discharge into the Shediac Bay, and as such, could contribute to contamination.
$1,534,500- Subtotal of Actions
$50,000 Investigate storm water runoff and management issues to identify potential non-point sources of contamination
· This project will inventory all outfall pipes in Shediac Bay and conduct monitoring during and after rainfall events to better understand the impact of storm water runoff to water quality in Shediac Bay.
$10,000 Investigate agricultural operations
· This initiative will help identify potential agricultural (non-point) sources that may be contributing faecal bacteria to Shediac Bay.
$25,000 Shediac Bay Report
· This is a comprehensive report that will be prepared by the Shediac Bay Watershed Association regarding environmental conditions in Shediac Bay.
$25,000 Cumulative effects assessment and protocols development*
· This project will aim to advance answers to the following questions: What are the standard protocols to follow in situations where it is important to predict future cumulative development and possible environment effects? What is the future capacity of the municipal waste water effluent infrastructure? How are local planning bylaws linked into possible cumulative environmental effects within the Shediac Bay Watershed.
$15,000 Best Practices for beach management*
· This project will aim to advance answers to the following questions: What is the best time of year and under what conditions is it appropriate to move sand back onto the beach to regenerate coastal erosion? Are there best management practices available for seaweed removal? This project will mostly consist of literature research and compiling best management practices and available protocols. Part of this project requires knowledge of the possible bacteria load in the sand that is to be moved.
$35,000 Coastal hydrodynamic modelling*
· It will be important to establish the influence of tides and currents, coupled with an understanding of prevailing winds, on water movement in the Shediac Bay area because bacteria can move through the environment away from their initial source. This will help better understand and locate the sources of bacteria in the beach area. A short study was done in 1999 – this project will update and expand on this previous work.
$50,000 Beach sand bacteria and shallow groundwater flow paths*
· This study may lead to indications of possible bacteria sources flowing through shallow groundwater versus bacteria from point source discharges directly into the bay.
$80,000 Watershed reconnaissance survey and water sampling program*
· This is a combined survey of visual observations and water sampling in order to locate point and non-point sources of bacteria in the Shediac Bay Watershed. An initial map compilation and review of possible sources (effluent pipe locations, farms including animals and manure storage, septic systems, etc.) will be conducted. Water sampling will be carried out between May and November 2017. As sample results come in, possible sources can be located and remedial action taken throughout the timeframe of the entire project.
$290,000 - Subtotal of Studies
$253,000 Environmental Trust Fund Projects benefitting Shediac Bay Area
· Projects promoting environmental stewardship, education and analysis of water quality in the area.
$850,000 Clean Water Wastewater Fund (CWWF)
· The Greater Shediac Sewerage Commission submitted an $850,000 proposal under the CWWF for lift station upgrades. The province has approved the application and Federal formal approval is underway.
Total Funding: $2,927,500
*Project listed online
Backgrounder on Policy for Parlee Beach
As an additional measure, the Department of Environment and Local Government will employ the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation (EIA Regulation) to ensure that the impact of any new projects or activities on the water quality of Parlee Beach is avoided or minimized.
This is achieved by declaring that Parlee Beach is a “unique feature of the environment” under item “u” of Schedule A of the EIA Regulation.
Any new projects or activities taking place within the Parlee Beach area must be submitted to the Department of Environment and Local Government to determine if the development must be registered for review in accordance with the EIA Regulation.
This area of concern was selected based on the fact that all surface water from this area drains towards the portion of Shediac Bay near Parlee Beach.
The area where this EIA requirement applies includes 1191 hectares and contains approximately 3306 properties.
The following screening criteria will be used to determine if a project or activity must be registered:
· Any projects that potentially affect Parlee Beach, including but not limited to projects that: would result in a significant net increase in impervious area;
· would be serviced by a new sewage system (not connected to a municipal system); or
· would require any ground/vegetation disturbing activities within 30 meters of a mapped or unmapped watercourse, or mapped or unmapped wetland; or
· are a new campground or an expansion to an existing campground
The following will be excluded from any EIA requirement under item “u” of Schedule A in the area of concern:
· Any projects associated with the ordinary maintenance of a residential property,
· Any projects associated with previously approved single family residential lots, and
· Any projects for which a building permit has already been issued.