New Brunswick

Maliseet Council fights Mount Carleton snowmobile plan

The Grand Council of Maliseet Chiefs is calling for a stop to the expansion of snowmobile trails, and the construction of a new fuelling hub, in Mount Carleton Provincial Park.

Chiefs say they weren't consulted, asking government to stop construction of trails, snowmobile hub

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

The Grand Council of Maliseet Chiefs is calling for a stop to the expansion of snowmobile trails, and the construction of a new fuelling hub, in Mount Carleton Provincial Park.

"This would possibly put a black eye on the environment, seeing how much wood they're going to cut and how that would disrupt the natural flow of the animals and the fish and everything else that lives there," Ron Tremblay, spokesperson for the Maliseet Grand Council, said on Information Morning Fredericton.

This would possibly put a black eye on the environment.- Ron Tremblay, Maliseet Grand Council

​Tremblay said the Maliseet council was never consulted by the provincial government and the plan is a violation of peace and friendship treaties.

"We feel the province didn't follow duty to consult in the proper protocol. We'd like to be addressed nation-to-nation," Tremblay said.

"According to those treaties signed with the Crown, that's part of the non-ceded [territory] of our people'" 

In July, the federal and provincial governments announced a new centralized snowmobile hub would be built in the provincial park and 343 new trails would open before the next season starts.

Fraser says more consultation underway

Tourism Minister Bill Fraser said the change would extend the snowmobiling season by several weeks.

In a statement to CBC News, Fraser said the department, "has been in contact with both the Assembly of First Nations of New Brunswick, as well as Maliseet Grand Council, regarding the project at Mount Carleton. 

"The department is taking steps to further consult with our First Nations partners to address their concerns and to provide further clarity on the project itself."

Tremblay said he had sent a letter to the minister and the premier two weeks ago, asking the plan be cancelled, but had not heard back.

Jean-Louis Deveau, a former manager of the park and co-founder of the Friends of Carleton Provincial Park, said he met with the Maliseet council to talk about plans for the park last week.

He said he worries about the destruction of traditional territory.

"It would be like running a snowmobile through a catholic church, it's just not copacetic," said Deveau.

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