New Brunswick

This man could stop Pointe-du-Chêne's controversial campground project

Bishop David Edwards was taking a walk in Pointe-du-Chêne on Wednesday, part of an annual pilgrimage he set out to make through the seven Anglican archdeaconries of New Brunswick.

Out for a walk, Anglican bishop meets opponents of mega-campsite proposed for local parish's land

Bishop of Fredericton David Edwards was taking a walk in Pointe-du-Chêne on Wednesday as part of an annual pilgrimage, when he was approached by concerned residents. (CBC)

The Anglican Bishop of Fredericton could be the man to stop a controversial campground project near Parlee Beach.

Bishop David Edwards was taking a walk in Pointe-du-Chêne on Wednesday, part of an annual pilgrimage he set out to do through the seven archdeaconries of New Brunswick.

But during his morning hike, he was approached by residents concerned about plans for a mega-campsite on Pointe-du-Chêne Road.

The park of 600 to 700 campsites, which Health Minister Victor Boudreau formerly held a stake in, would be the largest in the Maritimes.

The Anglican Parish of Shediac not only owns the land on which the RV site would be built, but it shocked everyone when it was listed as the project's main proponent in the environmental impact assessment registered last month. 

Asked whether he could stop the project, Edwards explained that the three parties — himself, the Diocese of Fredericton and the Anglican Parish of Shediac — have to agree before the project goes through.

The Anglican Parish of Shediac has refused to explain why it was listed as the proponent of the campground under development. (Facebook/I Love Parlee Beach and Pointe-du-Chene!)

"Even if we sold half a yard of land, all those three groups would have to be in agreement," said Edwards.

"At the moment it's with the first phase, which is the parish."

Edwards said he is not allowed to comment on the controversial issue until he receives the official proposal from the parish for approval.

That has yet to happen, and he doesn't know when it will.

Resident questions church values

Resident Arthur Melanson told the bishop that many people feel building a mega-campsite was not in line with the church's values. The project could hurt the environment because it would be built in part on wetland, he said.

"In the philosophy of the Anglican Church, protection of the environment is one of the key points," said Melanson.

"We're a bunch of concerned citizens in the area, and we're looking at that piece of land, where it's going to be built, and we see a number of issues that it's going to cause."

Arthur Melanson asks Edwards whether building a large campsite for profit on environmentally sensitive land was in line with the Anglican Church values. (CBC)

Edwards said that while the environment is important, the Anglican Church has to work to balance its five marks of mission.

Before heading to the parish for a noon service, Edwards thanked Melanson for sharing his concerns, adding it would help his thought process.

The bishop said he has no idea how the parish came to be the project's main proponent, or whether it is one of the investors in the campground.

The proposed campsite stretches between Main Street and the estuary, and between Pointe-du-Chêne Road and Parlee Beach Road. (Google Maps)