New Brunswick

Crowdfunding launched in Mount Carleton snowmobile fight

The Maliseet Grand Council has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover legal fees in its fight against the provincial government's plan to build a snowmobile hub in Mount Carleton Provincial Park.

Maliseet Grand Council raises money online to cover legal fees in its attempt to halt snowmobile hub plans

The provincial and federal governments announced 343 kilometres of new trails for northwestern New Brunswick in July 2015. (CBC)

The Maliseet Grand Council has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover legal fees in its fight against the provincial government's plan to build a snowmobile hub in Mount Carleton Provincial Park.

The council, along with the group Friends of Mount Carleton Provincial Park, filed for a judicial review in October 2015, after the government announced a few months earlier it would build a fuelling station and open up 343 kilometres of trails in the province's only wilderness park.

The court date is set for later this month.

Ron Tremblay, Grand Chief for the Maliseet Grand Council, says the goal of the online plea is to raise $15,000.

As of Sunday afternoon, 14 donations had been made, totalling nearly $12,000.

"If the decision is not in our favour, then there's a possibility that we'll have to pay the time and efforts spent by the province with their lawyers," Tremblay said.

Tremblay says if the judge rules in his favour, and the council raises $15,000, it may have money left over to launch other court actions against the province over the Sisson mine and Energy East pipeline.

The judge may see us as crazy: Tremblay

Tremblay says the government hasn't consulted enough with the Maliseet Grand Council on the snowmobile hub.

In April, CBC News reported the chiefs of the Kingsclear, Oromocto and Tobique First Nations, all Maliseet nations, met with Tourism Minister Bill Fraser about plans for the provincial park.

The Maliseet Grand Council and Friends of Mount Carleton Provincial Park also believe the snowmobile hub shouldn't be allowed without a park management plan and full environmental impact assessment, which haven't been completed.

But the heart of the issue for Tremblay is the impact of the proposed development on the land.

"I'm speaking [in court] on behalf of the animals, the plant life, the minerals and waters and the insects are there," Tremblay.

"Either the judge will see us as crazy, or he or she will understand where we're coming from."

The crowdfunding post says it's a "special appeal to those of you compassionate two-legged creatures, who understand that we are all interconnected in the circle of life and who are sympathetic to preserving our way of life."

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