Proposed bylaw change sets stage for Costco debate in Fredericton

Fredericton city council held a special session that could pave the way to allowing a Costco outlet to be built in the University of New Brunswick woodlot area.

Fredericton's city council held a special session on Thursday to introduce a bylaw that could eventually allow a Costco outlet to be built in the University of New Brunswick woodlot area.

Councillors thought they had officially introduced the bylaw on Monday night but it turns out a map that was part of the package was not the correct one.

Another procedural vote was held on Thursday and that will start what is likely to be a contentious process.

As of Feb. 9, the public will have 30 days to review the bylaw and file their objections.

Development of UNB's endowment land has been controversial. Environmentalists have been outraged to see wetlands replaced by Corbett Centre, a retail development site.

The news that the site might expand further to include a Costco outlet will mean a barrage of opposition.

Dan Keenan, the chairman of the city's development committee, said the council expects a lot of concern to be expressed in the next few months.

He said members of the public can also appear before council on April 14 when first reading of the bylaw change will be held.

"And that is probably the key date. The general public has the opportunity to come to council and present their views regarding the proposed rezoning and municipal plan amendment," Keenan said.

Keenan said council will then review both the written and oral arguments for and against the Costco bylaw.

The final vote on whether the changes are accepted will likely come at the regular meeting on April 20.