New Brunswick

Imagine Fredericton to release draft of growth strategy

An urban design firm based in Toronto will present Imagine Fredericton's draft growth strategy for Fredericton on Monday night.

A public release of the draft will take place at the Fredericton Public Library at 5 p.m. on Monday

Imagine Fredericton will release a draft growth strategy for the city on Monday at the Fredericton Public Library on Monday night. (CBC)

A draft growth strategy for Fredericton to be released at a public meeting Monday calls for bringing under-used land in the city's core to life.

The presentation by Imagine Fredericton, the name given to the planning process, will showcase highlights of the draft strategy, which could guide the city's development for the next 25 years.

For Fredericton to grow over the next 25 years, it's important to concentrate on parts of the city that are underdeveloped and underused in the core, said Tim Smith, principal and urban planner with Urban Strategies Inc., an urban design firm based in Toronto.

Smith cited Main Street, the Union Street corridor and the New Brunswick Exhibition grounds as examples.

"There are lands like that that are really being under utilized," he said. "By putting growth in those areas, you're going to bring more vibrancy to the downtown.

"The key is to put growth in places where it is more sustainable."

Smith said the draft strategy would offer people more choices in housing, including affordable housing.

Residents are also looking for ways to move around, with the help of public transit and links in city trails for walking and cycling. 

A few restrictions

"What people are looking for are more choices," he said.

But with a growth strategy, come restrictions. There is a lot of undeveloped land and a rural landscape that residents want protected, Smith said. 

"Physically, you can argue there aren't any physical constraints," he said.

"In reality, development costs money and it costs a lot of city resources to build the infrastructure, the roads, the pipes, the service development. There is a constraint there."

A work in progress

Over the past year, Smith said, he's brought new ideas to the people of Fredericton to get them talking about what kind of city they want to have.

"We bring fresh eyes, fresh perspective on some of the challenges, the opportunities that a city like Fredericton would be facing," he said.  

If we can get residential growth happening there it's going to be a much more efficient city at the end of the day.-Tim Smith

At an open house in February, Smith said the group put out a survey about different ways the city could grow.

Most of the people surveyed said they wanted to see growth in the downtown core, with suburban development and structures more conducive to transit, walking and cycling.

Monday night's event will take place at 5 p.m., at the Fredericton Public Library at 12 Carleton St., and city councillors will be in attendance.

Any recommendations offered by residents and city staff will be fine tuned and brought back to council in June.

"If we can get residential growth happening there it's going to be a much more efficient city at the end of the day," he said.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton