Shediac town council is expecting a large turnout at a public meeting tonight dealing with zoning bylaw changes related to a controversial proposed campground.
Michel Boudreau, one of the men behind the proposed 700-site park, slated for the wooded land between Parlee Beach Provincial Park and the road to Pointe-du-Chêne, said he is optimistic the project will get approved and hopes to start developing in the spring.
He says the latest plans exclude development of a wetland in the area.
"There's several biologists and scientists and archaeologists, trust me, that's cost our group a lot of money. We knew there was a lot of scrutiny on this project so there was no stones left unturned," said Boudreau.
"I'm prepared to share all that information with them to say, 'Listen, I don't want to hurt the environment.'"
But Brenda Joan Ryan, a resident of Pointe-du-Chêne and a member of the group opposing the campground, said she isn't convinced.
She said she hopes the meeting will bring the project to a halt.
Ryan contends the campground will have numerous negative impacts, including increased traffic, flooding and harm to wildlife.
"We're representing over 2,100 people who have signed our petition from up and down the coastline. We know that we've certainly raised awareness of the issues, so we're expecting even bigger numbers at this meeting," said Ryan.
Boudreau says he expects to see many supporters among the crowd, despite the opposition.
He says several people have encouraged him to push forward with the project and not to let the "naysayers" bring him down.
'We're looking at this as a positive development, it’s something that will make Shediac grow. It's a positive use for the land.' - Michel Boudreau, developer
"We get the feeling some people are saying no because they have their cottage and they want it to be private. They don't want any more people than there already is. We don't accept that," said Boudreau.
"We're looking at this as a positive development, it’s something that will make Shediac grow. It's a positive use for the land."
Liberal cabinet minister Victor Boudreau, co-owner of the company planning to develop the campground, set up a blind trust for his stake in the business after being elected to avoid any conflict.
A blind trust involves delegating all decisions about the business to a trustee and not talking to that person about those decisions.
Boudreau has said he will also recuse himself from any cabinet discussions about policies or laws affecting his campground business.
The law says ministers can't hold other jobs or own businesses, unless they get the approval of the province's conflict commissioner and follow his advice on how to handle the situation.
Boudreau became a partner in the campground company while he was an opposition MLA.