Overture

Trouble in paradise

John DeMont March 4 2002
Overture

Trouble in paradise

John DeMont March 4 2002

Trouble in paradise

Overture

It's not much really, just 1.62 ha of scrubby trees with a campground and ball field nearby. But a decision to rezone this chunk of green space on the outskirts of St. Andrews, N.B., has stirred up the emotions of the tony seaside resort, whose early inhabitants included United Empire Loyalists fleeing the American War of Independence, and later became the summer destination for Fathers of Confederation. Last month, local council voted 5-4 in favour of rezoning a portion of St. Andrews’ Indian Point for residential development. Now, opponents of the decision have brought forward a 700-name petition. That’s a decent show of

hands for a town with only 1,550 year-round residents. And for classconscious St. Andrews, it’s also an impressive act of unity.

The summer folk, includingfrenchfry millionaire Harrison McCain and Senator Michael Meighen, have yet to arrive and weigh in. But the yearrounders-middle-class native New Brunswickers, artists, descendants of 19th-century New England socialites, and newcomers attracted by the town’s tranquil beauty and Loyalist buildings-have been packing the council meetings.

What’s got everyone so riled? Charlotte McAdam, an archivist who was born in South Africa but moved here 14 years ago, asks why some members of council want to get rid of one of the town’s few remaining public green spaces. Mem-

bers of the local Passamaquoddy First Nation have other concerns. “This Is a sacred place to my people,” says Passamaquoddy First Nation Chief Hugh Akagi, who adds there’s reason to believe the rezoned site may have once been a burial ground. “People have been trying to get rid of us for a long time.” That’s rubbish, maintains Alan Golding, a town council member who supports developing the site to broaden the town's tax base: “If a burial ground is uncovered I totally support stopping work and preserving it.” For now, council has agreed to delay any work on the property until a special committee examines the overall land-use needs at Indian Point. The summer forecast for St. Andrews: watch for rising temperatures. John DeMont

John DeMont