Don’t forget protection from nature, citizens’ mental health: Corbett responds to Fredericton’s flood engagement report

Our Executive Director Lois Corbett spoke to CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown on Wednesday, Nov. 6 after the City of Fredericton released its findings from community meetings held this summer to hear residents’ experiences with back-to-back historic floods in 2018 and 2019.

Read the city’s engagement report, released Nov. 5, here. It includes the city’s response to ideas offered by residents and businesses on what should be done to curtail flooding in the future.

Corbett said she’s happy with the report as a first step, but noted the city is placing too much emphasis on engineering solutions over natural fixes, such as preserving wetlands and looking at broader protections for the whole St. John River watershed.

“It over emphasized the engineering fixes and under emphasized nature’s protection,” she said.

Corbett said the city also missed an opportunity to address a major concern of residents along the river: the mental health impacts of flooding.

“[The] mental health impact of continuous floods and climate change on people’s state of mind and how they feel,” she said. “I’m sympathetic to not having the city be the end all and do everything for all of its residents, but on the other hand, it’s such an important issue to citizens.”

This June, the Conservation Council released a new report showing how climate change and extreme weather such as historic flooding is already impacting New Brunswickers’ physical and mental health.

Read our After The Flood series here, featuring stories from New Brunswickers hit hard by flooding over the past two years and how it has affected their lives.

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