New Brunswick

Transformation of Odell and Killarney Lake parks proposed

A consultant's report recommends philosophical changes that play to the strengths of two of Fredericton's parks and would move Odell closer to a nature reserve while keeping Killarney focused on recreation.

Consultants recommend Fredericton make Odell more like a nature reserve and keep Killarney for recreation

The future of Odell and Killarney Lake parks was discussed at Fredericton council's community services committee on Thursday. (Philip Drost/CBC)

A consultant's report recommends philosophical changes that play to the strengths of two of Fredericton's parks, making Odell into something closer to a nature reserve while keeping Killarney focused on recreation.

The proposed changes to the philosophy governing the two parks were presented to city council's community services committee Thursday.

"Killarney Lake Park will be a world-class centre for sustainable recreation and outdoor living," reads the report.

"Odell Nature Reserve will be a world-class centre for nature tourism and the preservation of … environments."

Unique ecology

The presentation highlighted unique ecological aspects of Odell Park and contrasted them with those of Killarney Lake Park. The latter includes some unique ecological components, but they aren't as widespread or numerous as in Odell.

Some of the unique ecological features of Odell Park. (City of Fredericton)

Michael Ormston-Holloway, a principal at Toronto-based consulting firm the Planning Partnership, said the new philosophy doesn't mean the end of recreation at Odell.

Some of the unique ecological features of Killarney Lake Park. (City of Fredericton)

"This isn't to say there would not be overlap between activities, but what this is to say is there would be a rebalancing in the intensity of these activities," said Ormston-Holloway.

Consultations

The recommendations come after public consultations earlier this year on the future of the parks, and after years of controversy over the use of Odell Park.

Environmentalists, walkers and runners have clashed with park users seeking to engage in more high-impact activities such as mountain biking and frisbee golf.

But Jim Scott of Trace Planning and Design said when the groups got together at the consultations they all agreed with each other about what was most important for the park.

"There were a few heated discussions until they all realized they were saying the same thing," he said. "[They] want to be able to move through the park safely, they want to move freely through the park and [they] want to do it collectively."

Game plan

Maps in the report suggest the possible future for Odell Park. (City of Fredericton)
The possible future of Killarney Lake Park. (City of Fredericton)

While the purpose of the report was to outline the proposed new park philosophy, it also gave some insight into what the parks could possibly look like in the future.

Some possible additions to Odell park include an amphibian boardwalk and a new entry garden while Killarney could see an expanded trail system.

Coun. Stephen Chase, who represents the ward that contains Odell Park, said it's important to keep both parks around for future generations but frequent use, the changing environment, and development are threatening that.

"Everyone in the city holds Odell Park and Killarney Park very dearly," he said. "They are extremely important to the city of Fredericton and all the residents."

Chase said there's going to be an opportunity for the public to react to what consultants put on the table between now and October. He said the latest report will also be made available to people online for the public to review.

Chase said a final report is expected to be released in November. After that, council will decide how it wants to react to consultant's recommendations. 

"What we really need is to understand where these parks are today and where we want them to be for the future," he said

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordan Gill

Reporter

Jordan Gill is a CBC reporter based out of Fredericton. He can be reached at jordan.gill@cbc.ca.

With files from Elizabeth Fraser, Information Morning Fredericton

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