Urban places, green spaces

On Monday the Nature Trust of New Brunswick announced that, thanks to a joint effort from the government of New Brunswick along with a generous donation from John Irving, 27 hectares of green space in the Millidgeville area of Saint John is now designated as an official nature preserve, protecting it from future development and ensuring it will be a green space available for people in the area to use and enjoy.

"We realized how quickly New Brunswick was developing, so we started looking at areas within municipalities for potential nature preserves," says Renata Woodward, conservation program director for the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. "This area is not developed, but there are evident trails, particularly by the school and along the coastline. Making sure these trails are made safe is the extent of the development that will take place.

The Nature Trust of New Brunswick is a non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving New Brunswick's outstanding ecological landscapes for people and nature. The nature trust maintains 28 nature preserves around the province, including five in the Saint John region. It will be responsible for the conservation and management of the land, however land conservation will also fall to those who live near and use the area.

"Our goal is to bring local people together and have them take ownership of the property," Woodward said. "I'd love to see the community be proud of this area, and willing to do their part to protect and enjoy what's in there."

The announcement was made at Rockwood Park, a perfect example of the advantage the city holds has over its counterparts in New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada - Saint Johners can access great green space without leaving the city centre.

Few other cities in our region can offer access to walking trails, waterways and rock-climbing courses within the city centre. Protecting and maintaining green spaces adds to our appeal and overall esthetic, but access to the "great outdoors" plays a big part in the overall health of a community. Ensuring people can easily access these areas is important not only from an appeal and esthetic perspective - it's vital if Saint John is going to position itself as a city offering a unique quality of life for those who choose to live and work here.

As Saint Johners, we can all be proud that one of our greatest assets is our mix of green spaces all within close proximity to our urban core. As a community, we must all do our part to ensure our city continues to flourish.


Telegraph Journal - Published Tuesday December 15th, 2009