Canada's waterways will have a stronger voice in 2013, with the creation of a new water-oriented arts and education facility in the nation's oldest city. Inspired by the work of Waterkeepers and other grassroots, community-oriented organizations, the centre will promote swimmable, drinkable, fishable water through community-building, information sharing, research, and leadership development.
"We have amazing individuals from all walks of life working to protect their local waterways right across the country. We also have a passionate, supportive arts community that help our culture imagine new, better, brighter ways of life," says Waterkeeper Mark Mattson. "The only way Canadians can enjoy clean water in the future is if citizens, artists, scientists, educators, and leaders have an opportunity to come together and explore their potential as a community. This centre can help make that happen."
The purpose of the centre is to find creative solutions to water issues and to promote a culture that celebrates Canada's waterways. It is partnership-oriented, recognizing that no one institution or sector can safeguard the country's waterways alone. It is focused on "swimmable, drinkable, fishable" water, the hallmarks of clean water that every Canadian should be able to enjoy. Its work embraces the principles of fairness and justice that are at the heart of effective environmental law and policy. The centre also encourages research and artistic exploration, as well as leadership development, in recognition of the creativity and innovation that will help to determine clean water future.
Its location on the Kennebecasis River with access to the water, walking trails, and proximity to the Bay of Fundy means that visitors will have an opportunity to enjoy freshwater and marine environments.
"The Kennebecasis/St. John River system is a rich, biodiverse system that has helped to shape the culture of our communities over centuries. It flows into the Bay of Fundy, which is recognized around the world for its enormous tides and dynamic and diverse marine ecosystems. We are excited about this new opportunity to help people develop an appreciation and an attachment to these waters," says Fundy Baykeeper Matt Abbott.
One of the centre's first projects will be bringing the Waterkeeper Swim Guide to Canada's east coast. Swim Guide is a smartphone app and website that helps people find places to enjoy the water and avoid contact with polluted areas. It launched in 2011 and has 100,000 users in the USA and Canada. Swim Guide has not yet launched east of Quebec.
Space for the facility was donated by Kenneth Irving, an avid outdoorsman who is passionate about habitat conservation.
Mattson notes, "Ken's support for this national water centre embodies the type of creativity and leadership that Canadians need. I believe his generous contribution will inspire others to step up to protect the water and to strengthen our network of talented, committed people."
Mattson is encouraging nonprofits, researchers, government, and businesses who share an interest in swimmable, drinkable, fishable water to contact him to discuss opportunities to become founding members of the centre.
For more information, please contact:
Mark Mattson (toll-free: 1-855-506-2013 or email@example.com)
Matt Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper (506-321-0429 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Waterkeeper is affiliated with Waterkeeper Alliance, an international network of 200 watershed protection organizations working for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water.