New Brunswick

Public will weigh in on makeover plans for 2 Fredericton parks

The City of Fredericton is holding public meetings this spring to find out what people want in Carleton Park and Wilmot Park.

Public meetings planned for spring will look at residents' wishlists for Carleton and Wilmot parks

It's possible that Carleton Park will include more play spaces on the river, according to a landscape architect creating a plan for the park. (Google Street View)

The City of Fredericton is holding a series of public meetings this spring to hear what people would like to see done with two area parks.

Carleton Park and Wilmot Park are both in line for makeovers.

The company hired to research and create a plan for the parks recently met with students from George Street Middle School, Fredericton Christian Academy and Devon Middle School about how they currently use the park spaces.

Jim Scott, a landscape architect with Trace Planning and Design, says they talked about how the students pass their time there now, and what needs to change to make the spaces more relevant.

"They think a lot about how their parents use park spaces, whereas, if you ask parents, they have a problem telling you about anything other than their kids. So the kids can talk about both meaningfully," Scott told reporters on Thursday.

"I rarely see kids get it wrong. They think a lot about how you organize spaces in parks, how you put them together so they make a whole lot of sense — how they want to feel when they're within the park spaces, what they like to do there."

Tuesday's focus group will be followed by public sessions on June 2 for Carleton Park, and June 9 for Wilmot Park.

History of parks taken into account

Scott says they're still in "the initial stages"of planning, but they're already taking note of the relationship residents have with these spaces.

That's a big question — how do you add contemporary uses to park spaces that have historical meaning to residents?- Jim Scott, Trace Planning and Design

"One is very strongly based on the riverfront, obviously. People largely use [Carleton] for sitting, they like to look at the water … and it's very important as part of the city pathway system as it sits today," he said.

"The kids would like to see stronger things along the river that attract them for different types of activities … play spaces on the river like beach volleyball … and possibly making the green spaces a bit larger."

The City of Fredericton angered many residents when it decided to go ahead with a plan to pave part of Carleton Park for a new Picaroons Brewery parking lot.

Scott says planners are trying to be mindful of people's reluctance to change the nature of their park spaces. They're also taking into account the surrounding area and history of the parks.

"That's a big question — how do you add contemporary uses to park spaces that have historical meaning to residents?" Scott said.

"There's never going to be a significant change to these spaces, there might be a slight reorganization of some things to make it work a bit better."

A master plan for the parks is expected for early July. The public will get a chance to approve a draft version before it goes to council this summer.

Once plans are ready for Carleton and Wilmot parks, the city will begin to study appropriate uses for Odell Park.

With files from Lauren Bird


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