Decontaminating the Tracadie shooting range would cost an additional $ 12 million

The decontamination work at this site – which has been the center of intense controversy for several months – is far from over. National Defense estimates it will take at least another five years, possibly more, to decontaminate the land.

2027. Cependant ce plan est sujet à changer selon les trouvailles effectuées, les priorités sur les autres anciens sites, ainsi que les plans de développement pour le site en question”,”text”:”Présentement nous avons un plan pour effectuer des travaux UXO [des travaux de nettoyage de munitions explosives non explosées] jusqu’en2027. Cependant ce plan est sujet à changer selon les trouvailles effectuées, les priorités sur les autres anciens sites, ainsi que les plans de développement pour le site en question”}}”>Currently, we have a plan to carry out the UXO work [des travaux de nettoyage de munitions explosives non explosées] to 2027. However, this plan may change according to the findings made, the priorities on the other old sites, as well as the development plans for the site in question.said Andrée-Anne Poulin, spokeswoman for National Defense.

We will never be able to declare former military training areas, such as Tracadie, completely free of unexploded explosive ordnance (UXO). They will still be considered to have an outstanding risk in UXO. »

A quote from Andrée-Anne Poulin, spokeswoman for National Defense

What is currently being done or to come is, among other things, associated with potential blueberry farms or recreational developments.

Shells found in the old Tracadie firing range.

Photo: Archive

National Defense justifies this new delay because of the very delicate nature of the task.

For safety reasons, it is necessary to dig by hand and carefully all [les munitions potentielles] to prevent accidental triggering of UXO and thus causing an explosion that could lead to serious injury or death.explanation by Andrée-Anne Poulin.

Dense vegetation also contributes to slow site decontamination. The Tracadie firing range area exceeds 18,000 acres.

It’s hard to know where the bullet is

The National Defense also contends that daily records of military training conducted between 1939 and 1994 were not properly kept, making it difficult to know where exactly the bullets were.

Former soldier Luc Perron has been part of the team of unexploded ordnance experts since 1997, when Ottawa handed over coverage to the New Brunswick government.

A man being interviewed on camera.

Hundreds of shells have been excavated from the firing range since the 1990s. According to Luc Perron, ammunition identification and disposal technician, the site still presents a security risk.

Photo: Radio-Canada / David Maltais

40, avec les efforts de guerre, il n’y avait pas grand registres”,”text”:”Il y a une absence de registre. À partir de 1970 quand les avions tiraient, il y avait des registres de tenus, mais avant ça dans les années40, avec les efforts de guerre, il n’y avait pas grand registres”}}”>There is something missing in the register. Since the 1970s when the planes fired, there were logs being kept, but before that in the 1940s, along with the war efforts, there were not many logs.said Luc Perron, ammunition identification and neutralization technician.

But the problems don’t end there.

Part of the demining work should be examined because the work was done only on the surface or up to 45 cm deep in some particular area, which refers to the National Defense.

Research has shown that the action of freezing and thawing can bring UXO from below the depth required for surface cleaning, which puts a new risk to site users.reasoning by Andrée-Anne Poulin.

Luc Perron, ammunition identification and neutralization technician in the Tracadie area.

Luc Perron will continue inspecting the site on foot with his team in early May.

Photo: Radio-Canada / David Maltais / Radio-Canada

Luc Perron, who works for one of the companies that won National Defense contracts for decontamination work in Tracadie, explained that the new site inspection standards are more stringent.

GPS pour localiser et avoir la position exacte des items sur le terrain. Dans le passé, la préparation du terrain et le nettoyage de la végétation étaient pratiquement inexistants. Aujourd’hui, on prépare le terrain adéquatement pour permettre une très bonne détection des munitions. À ce moment-là, les coûts augmentent”,”text”:”On n’a pas les mêmes systèmes de détecteurs qu’on avait dans le passé, ceux-là sont beaucoup plus dispendieux avec les GPS pour localiser et avoir la position exacte des items sur le terrain. Dans le passé, la préparation du terrain et le nettoyage de la végétation étaient pratiquement inexistants. Aujourd’hui, on prépare le terrain adéquatement pour permettre une très bonne détection des munitions. À ce moment-là, les coûts augmentent”}}”>We don’t have the same detector systems we had in the past, they are more expensive to GPS to find and have the exact position of objects on the ground. In the past, soil preparation and cleaning of plants were virtually non -existent. Today, we prepare the ground sufficiently to allow very good detection of bullets. At that time, costs are risinghe said.

At least $ 40 million from the pockets of taxpayers

National Defense cannot say how much work has cost since the early 1990s. However, Radio-Canada has determined that past and future decontamination work is now in excess of $ 40 million.

Taxpayer money, money of us all. After decontamination is done to exploit these lands, we immediately know that it is for blueberry fields.reasoning by Jeff Rousselle, member of the Tracadie Hunting and Fishing Club.

Jeff Rousselle

Jeff Rousselle, a hunting and fishing enthusiast from the Tracadie region, was opposed from the start to the provincial government’s intentions regarding the development of new blueberry fields in this territory.

Photo: Courtesy

And commercial projects for the use of the shooting range do not pass the test of socially acceptable.

They take taxpayers ’money to give to big companies that no longer have to run the land, if we can call it our land, our own little corner of paradise.reasoning Jeff Rousselle, who has been involved in mobilization efforts against the blueberry projects the province wants to establish on the site for months.

Wait for the end of the job to decide on the future?

As decontamination work continues, the future of the site is the source of much debate on the Acadian Peninsula.

I am very glad that the federal government is making a long -term commitment to cleaning up the military camp area (…) Hopefully this will continue and when it is finished in 2027, we will be able to say that the site has been decontaminated said Keith Chiasson, Liberal MP for Tracadie-Sheila.

Elected regional officials, both at the provincial and municipal levels, believe New Brunswick should consider the new work delay as an opportunity to take advantage.

A man in an outdoor setting.

MPP for Tracadie, Keith Chiasson.

Photo: Radio-Canada

2027 pour considérer qu’est ce qu’on va pouvoir faire suite à la décontamination. De toute façon, ce processus-là va permettre de voir justement ce qu’il est possible d’être fait”,”text”:”C’est certain que ça peut être une option d’attendre après2027 pour considérer qu’est ce qu’on va pouvoir faire suite à la décontamination. De toute façon, ce processus-là va permettre de voir justement ce qu’il est possible d’être fait”}}”>Certainly it could be an option to wait until after 2027 to consider what we can do after decontamination. However, this process will allow us to see exactly what can be done.reasoning Denis Losier, the mayor of Tracadie.

Better wait. Let’s take the time to clean up the site in a good way. 30 years we have been talking about the military camp, the first wave of cleanup was not done properlyadded Keith Chiasson.

The province’s plan to build blueberry fields at the old shooting range was based on public consultations held more than 20 years ago, in the early 2000s.

In June 2021, Tracadie City Council stood up against making land from the former Tracadie shooting range available for the development of the blueberry industry.

The province ignored this position and decided to pursue the call for tenders in September 2021. We learned in February that several companies were running to operate blueberry fields northwest of the site.

The province indicates it has no timeline for the decision to award the contracts.

The mayor stood on the balcony of a building, in front of microphones, wearing a winter coat.

Mayor Denis Losier addressed those who took part in the demonstration for a moratorium on work at the former shooting range, on Feb. 5, 2022 in Tracadie.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Yves Levesque

The important thing is that we can seek to consult everyone to get everyone’s ideas. And in order to conduct field tests, we know that pumps are not necessarily biodegradable products, so we need to have water and soil tests.said Denis Losier.

The impression we get is that the government seems to be in a hurry to do the development, even before the land is properly decontaminated.reasoning by Keith Chiasson.

Return the firing range to the citizens

Former NDP MP Yvon Godin fought for site rehabilitation during his career, when he represented the federal riding Acadie-Bathurst.

Now that this goal is about to be achieved with taxpayers ’money, he believes the fate of the coverage should be in the hands of local citizens.

I am one of those who believe that the shooting range should go back to the community, should go back to the Tracadie region, go back to these people and they make the decision of what to do here.believes Yvon Godin, the Acadie-Bathurst MP between 1997 and 2015.

Former NDP MP for Acadie-Bathurst, Yvon Godin

Former NDP MP for Acadie-Bathurst, Yvon Godin

Photo: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld

Yvon Godin is also positioned against the exploitation of blueberry fields in the former shooting range.

Blaine Higgs or the others who are there, whether Liberal or Conservative, cannot have the right to go and take our land to do what they want without the consent of the people. These lands, which the people have expropriated, are really unacceptably set asidehe said.

The families were taken during the establishment of the Tracadie shooting range in the 1930s and 1940s.

National Defense said it has agreed with the province of New Brunswick to suspend tree cutting activities this year in the scope until the province conducts further consultation with key groups about the blueberries planting project in the area.

Leave a Comment