Letters to the Editor

Monday, 12 September 2011

Friends of UNB Woodlot said it was forced to crash city council meeting to be heard on shale gas ban

Upwards of thirty anti-shale gas protesters crowded into the gallery at Fredericton's city hall this evening to hear Friends of UNB Woodlot members Mark and Caroline D'Arcy ask council for a meeting about banning shale gas within city limits. Having been rebuffed by the City Clerk's office in request of a formal presentation to council, D'Arcy felt he had no choice but to confront council during its weekly meeting. An irate Mayor Brad Woodside scolded the D'Arcy's for interrupting proceedings since they weren't on the agenda. Woodside also reiterated the city's position on no shale gas being allowed in the city and was exasperated that it wasn't enough for D'Arcy. As D'Arcy persisted in asking the city for a meeting time and requesting the city take a proactive approach to banning shale gas like other municipalities around the province, Woodside's patience grew thin, asking Police Chief Barry MacKnight to step in and remove the couple. Media crowded around the D'Arcy's and MacKnight outside council chambers, with the D'Arcy's eventually being persuaded to leave the premises. Before leaving, however, the D'Arcy's held court in the city hall foyer and spoke to the media about the necessity of the city to be proactive in banning shale gas work within city limits. 

Mark and Caroline D'Arcy, right, surprised city council Monday evening when they unexpectedly took the podium to ask for a formal meeting with council on the ban of shale gas within city limits. (Photo: Cheryl Norrad)

 An irate Mayor Brad Woodside scolds Friends of UNB Woodlot member Mark D'Arcy for interrupting  Monday night's council meeting. (Photo: Cheryl Norrad)

 Anti-shale gas protesters sat in the gallery to support of Friends of the UNB Woodlot's request for a presentation on banning shale gas within Fredericton city limits  at council on Monday evening. (Photo: Cheryl Norrad)

Mayor Woodside voices his annoyance at the Friends of the UNB Woodlot commandeering the regular Monday night council meeting to request a presentation on banning shale gas in Fredericton. (Photo: Cheryl Norrad)

 Supporters stand in solidarity with Friends of the UNB Woodlot in asking city hall for a meeting on the ban of shale gas within city limits during Monday night's city council meeting. (Photo: Cheryl Norrad)

 Police Chief Barry MacKnight was asked by the Mayor to escort Friends of the UNB Woodlot members Mark and Caroline D'Arcy from council chambers after they crashed proceedings Monday night and persisted in requesting a meeting with the council on banning shale gas in the city. (Photo: Cheryl Norrad)

Friends of the UNB Woodlot member Mark D'Arcy speaks to the media after he and his wife, Caroline, were escorted from council chambers Monday evening. D'Arcy wanted to know why the City of Fredericton isn't taking a proactive approach and bringing in by-laws to ban shale gas within city limits. (Photo: Cheryl Norrad)


  1. lmfao you were all made leave to bad you all didnt get arrested


  2. Throw the bums in jail for a few weeks. Maybe next time they will learn the advantages of due process

    -Agent Green

  3. "Friends of UNB Woodlot forced to crash city council meeting to be heard on shale gas ban"

    "...FORCED to crash ..."? Biased much?

    -- AF

  4. Our aquifers are not bathtubs that exist solely inside our municipal boundaries. Council must take a leadership role and ask the province to implement drinking water protection based on watersheds, not municipal boundaries.

    We asked Mayor Brad Woodside to allow us to make our group's presentation to City Council at their next meeting on September 26th. I spoke with the city clerk prior to the meeting and she relayed our request to Mayor Woodside.

    The Mayor could have simply granted us the September 26th presentation to City Council. Instead, he choose to berate citizens for bringing forward a public health and safety issue.

    Contrary to the Mayor's statements, The Friends of the UNB Woodlot have gone through the proper process.

    July 25, 2011 - e-mail sent to the City Clerk's Office and ALL city councillors to request to speak to Council.

    August 8, 2011 - Mark D'Arcy asks Council-in-Committee in person to make a presentation to Council.

    August 9, 2011 - Mayor Brad Woodside calls Mark D'Arcy and says we first have to make our presentation to the Public Safety and Environment Committee. Mayor Woodside also said that Environment will be contacted to also give presentation at the same time. Mark says that our group will then want to give the presentation to Council.

    Sept. 8, 2011 - a convoy of large franking trucks were observed on the Trans-Canada Highway around Jemseg at 4:30 pm and they were headed towards Fredericton.

    Sept. 9, 2011 - fracking trucks were seen travelling west along Knowledge Park Drive in the UNB Woodlot and turned left onto Regent toward New Maryland.

    Sept. 12, 2011 - Mark D'Arcy asks City Council to make our presentation to Council on Sept. 26th. Mark spoke with the city clerk prior to the meeting and our intention was relayed to Mayor Brad Woodside. During the meeting, Mayor Woodside lectures us on not following the process.

    It is clear to me that City Council does not want to be formally asked to adopt a resolution that will make clear and binding their anti-fracking position.

    This public health and safety issue must be tabled to Council.

  5. This was nothing more than a media event planned by Mark and Caroline D'Arcy.

    They are dishonest, arrogant and may not have a clue about what they are talking about but they sure know how to get the attention of one sided bloggers such as we see here

  6. anonymous 06:00 i agree and couldnt have said it better

    J.A.G 4 shale gas

  7. Anonymous 06:00, you may want to take a look at this presentation:



    The main issues covered in this presentation are the following:

    (1) aquifer mapping and our understanding of groundwater flow systems in New Brunswick is very limited;

    (2) weak wetland protection policies throughout the province of New Brunswick;

    (3) no province-wide, watershed-based source protection of our drinking water;

    (4) fracking will require the removal of 100s millions of gallons of fresh water from our natural water cycle;

    (5) fracking will widen natural fractures and create new fractures in, and between, shallow and deep aquifers; and

    (6) release of radioactive fracking sand and toxic fracking water into deep underground drilling wells.

  8. well how about people that have worked in the industry guys/gals?...I support the anti-shale exploration and stand with them with there concerns and have drilled and cased many wells all over North America from 800 meters to 7000 meters...if your saying they dont know what they are talking about, and neither do I, where are you basing your conclusion on the natural gas exploration with hydraulic fracturing of shale formation safe?

    Maxime Daigle

    1. You got kicked out of every company you worked for! I know I used to work with you, you useless piece of shit!

  9. So, a presentation has to be made first to the Public Safety and Environment Committee. (Reference Mr D'Arcy's post above, date entry 09 Aug) Then the next timeline entry provided above jumps to Sept 8, when fracking trucks were spotted. **When was the presentation to the PSEC scheduled for?** And if it didn't happen, why not? Was it that they schedule is full for a while, or the committee only meets monthly, what? If there was a letter of refusal to see the presentation, we'd like to see that.

  10. You should give some thought to what you want this site to be. Are you an anti-shale gas blog with a few little trappings of journalism? Are you a journalistic blog with an editorial stance against fracking? Either of those is OK, but right now you're trying to be both, and it's not credible. Headlines like "Friends of UNB Woodlot Forced to Crash" being changed to "Friends of UNB Woodlot said It was Forced to Crash" don't cut it.

    Report what happened. "Friends of UNB Woodlot Crash Fredericton Council Meeting" or "Shale Gas Portestors Crash Council Meeting". If you keep showing obvious bias, fair enough, but then don't be surprised when you aren't taken seriously as a journalist. Professional journalism requires some effort be made to keep from obviously taking sides.

  11. Sept. 06, 2011 - I gave our group's presentation to Public Safety and Environment Committee.
    They were indifferent to our concerns and did not pass ONE resolution to move this issue forward. I repeatedly asked that they allow me to make this presentation to City Council but they would not pass the resolution.

    Friends of the UNB Woodlot - Presentation to the Public Safety & Environment Committee, City of Fredericton (Sept. 06, 2011)

  12. Anonymous 16:14,

    Regardless of our content, we expect to be treated professionally when we make inquiries to government or business because we approach them in a respectful, professional manner.

    However, we can't make authorities respond to our inquiries so we go with what we've got. We understand how this would make us look bias to some.

    We have to give credit where credit is due, however, and say SWN's Mr. Alexander has never once not responded to us. We wish we could say the same for our inquiries to government departments.

    The change in headline was an attempt to placate readers who felt it showed bias. We will never do that again.

    It seems you are very familiar with our blog, however much you disagree with it, and we are curious but grateful you dedicate so much of your time to it. Would that we had so much time to wile away.

    We would like to suggest that if it pains you to read our publication, then just don't. Make a different choice. Instead of putting yourself through the agony of perusing something you obviously dislike, choose something that makes you feel better.

    It makes no sense to us when anyone reads something they don't like and then make nasty comments about it, as if it's the publication's fault they read it. We cannot fathom the thinking or the meanness involved. We can only conclude they are unhappy or have an untreated mental illness. We wish them luck in sorting themselves out.

  13. JAG and AF, where are you basing your conclusion that is it safe?...from what education this came from?..did you work in the field/...na probably have an angle to make money off this potential exploration?...yes?

    Maxime Daigle

  14. Anonymous should be band from this site!!! It obviously has no clue what it is talking about!!

  15. @Maxime

    Upon what are you basing your conclusion that I have concluded that hydrofracking is safe?

    -- AF

  16. (Thanks Mr D'Arcy for responding to my questions. I saw the gap in the timeline written, had to ask :)...)