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Notes from New Brunswick

Dear sir:

I joined some 3000 UNB’ers in Fredericton for the Millennium Reunion Aug. 3-6. The organizers did a bang-up job and kept us busy breakfast to midnight plus. The city is alive, the University “On the Hill” had expanded four fold (since ’48), but the old arts building, the oldest in Canada, was still in use.

In the past, Saturday forestry field work began at the back door woodlot; now students are bussed to the new proximal boundary of the woodlot. There intervening space has new teaching halls, residences, and beyond campus an expanded community, a by-pass highway and the Ranger Schools is incorporated with a Forest Research Centre.

Our forestry class of ’48 picture on the third floor of the forestry building pictured all 33 of us. It included the first ever female forestry graduate in the country.

Sadly 11 have departed for that ‘forest in the sky!’ There was then “A” Forestry (engineering bent) and “B” Forestry (biology bent). In keeping with the times, the name is now Forestry and Environmental Management.

Students number 143 of which I believe 43 are female.

Quite aside a story circulated that a transport truck had run off the highway and plunged into the adjacent St. John River.

The driver survived but the entire load which was Viagra was lost. Downstream six lift bridges went up and on leaving for Newfoundland there was no news on the bridges.

A first ever visit to Newfoundland was my attraction, the General Annual Meeting of the Canadian Institute of Forestry was the excuse to go.

The “Rock,” as Nfld. is called, together with Labrador became Canada’s newest province. The forests support three paper mills on the island, and the wood furnish is about 60 percent black spruce and 40 percent balsam fir. (The mill here does not care for balsam and the MNR does not accept it as satisfactory stocking).

Air Nova flew me to Deer Lake on the island and a shuttle bus was available to Cornerbrook the centre of our conference in the western part of the island.

Again the organization was first class. The theme “Unchartered Waters” provided much knowledge and food for thought’s however, in my view there is over emphasis on micro-management.

The latter leads to so many variables and hence complications that become overwhelming therefore maintenance of a healthy forest with site suitable species will meet most environmental concerns.

Foresters were also urged to tell their stories because by and large it is a good one.

One in-conference tour travelled from Cornerbrook eastward and south across barren lands to the fishing village of Burges. Like most of these coastal villages it was previously only accessible by village to village ferries.

Crossing the barrens we spotted several caribou. At one of these stops we tasted the “bake apple” berry known elsewhere as cloudberries. These sweet juicy single fruit per plant are used for liqueurs in Finland.

A post conference tour took us from the hilly and forested wets side to the east side and capital St. Johns. En route three former military airport of Grander is still functional and provided an emergency stop for a British Concord in trouble.

The events provided opportunities to experience Maritime and “Newfie” cuisine; moose soup, roast moose and roast caribou, seal flipper pie and cod tongues (similar to walleye cheeks but larger). Of course there was lobster, cod and flounder also. As an added touch local pigeon berry/blueberry wine was also available.

One item I noted was in both provinces highways travelled were much better than those in northwestern Ontario.

Stockwell Day and his grand Alliance entourage were electioneering in the Maritimes. They were trying to upset Joe Clark’s plans to gain a seat in parliament and hoping for Alliance votes. Unfortunately one of his cohorts contrary to Day’s “Agenda for Respect” labelled Maritimers as stupid etc. and left Day apologizing for his tour there. One wonders what his Alliance members think of northern and northwestern Ontario citizens when they keep noting Liberal and NDP.

Normally I stop all newspapers but because of the bridge/custom facility question I did not do so for the Fort Frances Times and Bulletin.

On returning it was a disappointment when I read that all but Councillor Struchan Gilson stuck to his guns in opposing the new customs facility. All others previously opposed capitulated when Mill Manager Gartshore threatened to go to the on bridge facility or perhaps as our Federal Minister feared the company may do nothing with respect to getting a new bridge councils approval was a tactical blunder and pushed a new public bridge far into the future. An on bridge facility or no new one would have brought a public bridge sooner. Now Mr. Gartshore envisions reasonable tolls if stretched over 40 years. His bosses will probably tell him he has to recoup the expenditure in at least half that time.

Council as they indicated they would, should exert all possible efforts for toll regulation.

With respect to planning for a new bridge the Canada Customs Revenue Agency (CCRA) planning for this new facility since 1990 must have gotten in bed with company planners whether or not that was the case CCRA laid an egg on this one.

They are better left out of any future bridge committees. In addition to those already cited for a new public bridge committee participants by Nestor Falls, Sioux Narrows, Kenora and Dryden should also be sought for their benefits will exceed ours.

Yours truly,

B. Seppala

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