2005 September 2
By KATHY BOCKUS
ST. STEPHEN The mayor of this town doesn’t think one comment made by a Calais City councillor, who said he hoped ships carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to proposed sites in Maine would travel through St. Andrews, will change the long-standing relationship between the two communities.
A comment by Councillor Bill Delmonaco, Jr., caught on tape by WQDY news reporter Tom McLaughlin, has ruffled more than a few feathers in the communities on the New Brunswick side of the border, as has the decision by the Calais council to support a third LNG project for the area, a $500 million one proposed by BP Consulting LLC, near Devil’s Head, on the St. Croix River, just up from the international historic site of St. Croix Island and across from the port at Bayside.
"Is this an end of an era? Certainly not in any way, particularly here on the border," said Mayor Bob Brown.
"We are friends, we are family and colleagues."
Mayor Brown said the communities might have their "disagreements, our ups and downs" but stated that St. Stephen had to "be respectful" over what is taking place in Calais. He explained he was referring to the respect for the decision making process.
"A community has a right to vote and say, yes, we want it or no we don’t," said the mayor.
"It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them or support them but we have to be respectful of the process.
"And we certainly have the right to oppose their decision."
Mayor Brown said there are areas in which Calais and St. Stephen work well together and agree upon, like the third international bridge crossing.
Mayor Brown sidestepped the issue of a direct criticism of the Calais Council’s decision by stating, "if Calais prospers and grows, then so do we, but there have to be limits on what causes that prosperity."
Mayor Brown said St. Stephen Council passed a resolution last December strongly opposing the creation of an LNG terminal at Gleason Cove, which the residents of Perry eventually voted not to allow.
At the same time, a letter was forwarded to Prime Minister Paul Martin asking him to take action on the matter. Receipt of the letter was acknowledged by the PM’s office.
Those developers, Quoddy Bay LLC, are now proposing a terminal at Split Rock while a second developer, Downeast LLC, is proposing a $400 million terminal and pier at Mill Cove, south of Robbinston.
"The issue is not a Canada-US issue," said Mayor Brown.
He said the town is looking at it from the vantage point of how LNG terminals will affect the St. Croix Valley, the environmental and fisheries concerns.
The mayor noted that the whole east coast of the United Sates has said no to LNG terminals. He said that should indicate clearly that it is not a Canada-U.S. relationship problem, but an environmental concern.
"It’s not a matter of not in our backyard," he stated.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Premier Bernard Lord’s office reiterated that the premier feels the federal government must "nip this in the bud by just saying no."
Chisholm Pothier, the premier’s executive assistant said "definitely" the province remains opposed to LNG terminals in or near the Passamaquoddy Bay, and with this latest announcement, is now "three times as opposed."
"His stand hasn’t changed with this announcement," said Pothier.
Pothier noted that some American news media have been critical of Premier Lord’s stand on LNG terminals, asking how he can support one for Saint John and not for the Passamaquoddy Bay.
Pothier said Saint John is an industrial city, and the areas support two totally different environments.
Mayor Brown said he expects relations with Calais to remain the same and spoke of the upcoming annual barbecue for the two councils. The communities switch back and forth to hold the event, and it has become a long-standing, enjoyable tradition.
"We host them in a week or two," said Mayor Brown.
"I expect we may talk about everything but LNG," he added with a laugh.
© 2005 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.
The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB