New Brunswick

Fredericton aims to balance downtown, suburban growth

The city of Fredericton says it can sustain continued growth on its outer edges, while at the same time achieving its bigger goal of attracting more people to live downtown.

City's population has been increasing despite provincial decline

Fredericton growth

8 years ago
Duration 1:51
The City of Fredericton aims to balance downtown and suburban growth.

The city of Fredericton says it can sustain continued growth on its outer edges, while at the same time achieving its bigger goal of attracting more people to live downtown.

Next month, a new roundabout at the intersection of Smythe Street and Highway 8 will open up greater access to Bishop Drive; an area that has seen significant commercial and residential development in recent years.

The city's development committee chairperson is councillor Mike O'Brien. He says it will mean a further increase in businesses along Bishop Drive.

There are many businesses up in that area — already existing property owners — that have approached the city, waiting for this to happen," said O'Brien.

"They have development plans, so you will see an expansion in that area."

Fredericton's City Centre Plan aims to create a new city block with a mix of businesses higher-density residential units. (City of Fredericton)

O'Brien says it will also make the residential area, around Lian Street, at the western end of Bishop Drive, more attractive.

"Although we want people to live in the downtown core, the rents are more expensive. There are people that want to live on the periphery and they want the different kind of lifestyle that comes with that," said O'Brien.

At the corner of Bishop Drive and Lian Street, gas station owner Jeff Green says the growing population in the area has saved his business.

"Two years ago I had two choices: either close my business or diversify my offer," said Green.

"Fortunately the growth in this area enabled me to diversify."

Green says he often loses money selling gas, but with more people now living in the area, he was able to open a new cafe and car wash alongside the gas station.

Councillor Mike O'Brien says the city can grow on the outskirts and downtown. (CBC)
Ultimately though, O'Brien says the city wants to encourage higher-density living in the city centre.

Fredericton's 2015 City Centre Plan document outlines a 20-year plan to build an entire new city block, behind City Hall, closer to the Saint John River.

"You can see the space all along here would be prime. And the idea is to have office buildings, commercial here," said O'Brien, in the parking lot behind the Fredericton Courthouse.

"We need more people in the downtown core. Office buildings, so that at noon hour, they'll get out and support the businesses, and support the pub and the restaurants."

O'Brien says, even in a tough economic climate, Fredericton is a growing city and can sustain development in the centre and on its edges.

According to Statistics Canada, the city's population grew 11.3 per cent between 2006 and 2011. In the first three months of 2015, the province's population declined by 941 people.

"I feel very good that despite some of the challenges the province has, that the city of Fredericton will continue to prosper," said O'Brien.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?