Petitcodiac River, NB - Daniel LeBlanc
Hi, I’m Daniel LeBlanc. I’m from the former Petitcodiac Riverkeeper here in New Brunswick.
My water body that I’ve been most close to is my own river in the Petitcodiac River near Moncton. I grew up in that region. My first memories of the river is going there as a kid and watching the tidal bore go up and as a 3-4 year old just noticing that there was excitement around the river.
Then later on, growing up to see my grandmother very sad about the river - our river ended up being dammed. When I grew up, the fish were no longer there in the river. The river was silted up, there was no navigation. So I kind of grew up in the river that was dead by the time I was a teenager. I guess, you know, I just felt bad for my grandmother but I also felt bad for all the people in the river who were not getting the worth from the river but also I guess people just had sadness around the Petitcodiac.
For me, I later became a history buff and I just love the history of this region in the Maritimes. I’m Acadian so my ancestry is here. I know that on the Petitcodiac 250 years ago there were battles between the Acadians and the English for the control of the region. My ancestors were involved in that battle. Because of that battle, we remain in Acadia because otherwise all the Acadians were meant to be deported. So the Acadians are very attached to this region.
Certainly the people who live along the river have a deep bond to the river. To see these people suffer, it was a bit too much. Certainly we knew that there were some injustice involved – illegal injustice. I am so honoured and thrilled to be part of a movement that has been able to restore the river over a long period, after a very hard fought battle. In the last 5 years it’s been remarkable to see the river come back to life.
The people smiling, happy, on the river. I actually started to surf on the river. It is a bad experience when you have the power of the board coming towards you, it’s like a train coming towards you. But when you catch a wave, it is exhilarating. One of my friends has actually been surfing and seen a salmon leap next to him. So the river is coming back to life. The people love the river now. It’s a wonderful story. I’m happy to have been a part of it.