If Tantramar Town Council gives its approval next month, Mayor Andrew Black will receive funding to attend an international wetlands meeting at Amiens in northern France from June 8th to 10th.
He’s the only mayor in North America invited to the meeting after Sackville received its accreditation last fall as a United Nations Ramsar City Wetland Site for such assets as Silver Lake, its 75-acre Waterfowl Park, the Tantramar Wetlands Centre and the habitat created by the 40,000 cubic metre pond that is part of the Lorne Street flood control project
“I think it’s funny that they call us a city,” Black said today as Tantramar councillors met as a committee of the whole council.
He pointed out that aside from being the only municipality in North America to receive Ramsar accreditation, Tantramar has become one of only 25 “cities” recognized for protecting, creating and restoring wetlands within their boundaries.
“It is a fairly significant stamp,” Black said, “a fairly significant jewel in our crown.”
Ron Kelly Spurles, manager of tourism and business development, said Black’s participation in the international mayor’s roundtable in Amiens would give him a chance to gather information.
“It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about how other cities are managing their wetlands, how they’re preserving them, how they’re using them for recreation and other purposes and I’m quite certain that the mayor would have an excellent opportunity to learn a lot and to bring a lot to this event if he’s able to go,” he added.
Kelly Spurles estimated the trip would cost just over $2,500.
‘It’s the public’s money’
Councillor Bruce Phinney pointed out that the deadline for registration at the international mayor’s roundtable was January 13th and he wondered why the town had already agreed to participate.
“We’ve already accepted, we’re already sending somebody, how can we do that?” he asked.
“It hasn’t been passed by council. Could I have an explanation for that please?”
Kelly Spurles responded that roundtable organizers had been told that their invitation had been accepted subject to approval by Tantramar council.
“It’s the public’s money,” Phinney declared. “I’m making sure we do things accordingly and in line.”
When the vote came on whether to submit Black’s trip to Amiens for approval at council’s next meeting on February 14th, Phinney voted no.
Later, during the public question period, Black spoke about the potential for wetland tourism within Tantramar.
“Dorchester has Johnson’s Mills, the UNESCO site that has many shorebirds, we have pretty much the entire Tantramar marsh or a good chunk of it within our town borders,” he said.
He suggested that attending an international roundtable with other wetland city mayors would give him a chance to exchange ideas.
“There’s lots of opportunity for conversation around what the Town of Tantramar looks like as far as wetland conservation goes.”
For previous Warktimes coverage, click here.
For coverage by Canadian Geographic, click here.
To read a brief summary of the first roundtable of wetland city mayors in 2019, click here.