New Brunswick

Fredericton's plan for Odell and Killarney parks nearly finalized after 3 years of work

Two park management plans the City of Fredericton began working on three years ago are finally ready.

Both parks finally get management plans, three years after the city promised one

The management plan for Odell Park involves limiting recreational activities and preserving the area as a nature reserve. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Two park management plans the City of Fredericton began working on three years ago are finally ready.

The city promised the plans after public debate erupted in 2017 around how Odell Park and Killarney Lake Park should be used. 

Some believe the parks should be quiet sanctuaries away from the city, while others argue Odell and Killarney should be an oasis for cyclists and disc golf enthusiasts. 

Now, drafts of the plans are complete and ready for public feedback before being finalized later this spring. 

Coun. Henri Mallet, chair of Fredericton's community services committee, said the park plans were designed to satisfy recreational users while respecting the areas as nature preserves. 

"I think it strikes the right balance between people using the park on the recreational side of things and just daily users," Mallet said.

After public consultations in mid-2017, a consultant's report recommended managing Odell as more of a nature reserve and keeping Killarney focused on recreation. 

In an interview with CBC News last September, Mallet said the plans took longer than expected to complete because the committee was wrapped up with other issues, like the revitalization of Officers' Square.

Limiting recreation at Odell, expanding it at Killarney

The committee's proposed plans divide each of the parks into three zones to allow some areas to be used for recreation and others for conservation. In addition to a regular recreation zone, Killarney Lake Park has an added zone for sports recreation.

The city's goal is to make the park "a regional sport tourism hub and national destination for sporting events," according to a news release last week from the city.

"I think the vision is really to create something special that will be useful as your neighbourhood park, but also [will] bring people in from across Canada, the world, for activities."

Coun. Henri Mallet is chair of Fredericton’s community services committee, the committee that oversees the management plans for Odell Park and Killarney Lake Park. (Philip Drost/CBC)

The Odell Park Management plan involves reforesting several sections of the trail and adding boardwalks to some parts of the path. Recreational activities will still be allowed, but could be adjusted in the future to respect the park's natural features and prevent conflicting uses. 

In an attempt to prevent mountain bikers from tearing through trails in the middle of Odell Park, the city will be asking cyclists to stick to trails near the edges of the park.

Mallet said the city plans to install signs defining which parts of the park are for recreational activities and which are meant for conservation and admiring nature.

"If we need to use fences in the future [to keep bikers from conservation areas], that might be an option too," Mallet said.

Disc golf at Odell will also be limited to six holes, but Killarney Lake Park will allow an 18-hole game.

The plans dictate how the parks are to be used and maintained for the next 25 years or so. 

The draft management plans have been posted to the city's website. The public will be able to provide feedback on the plans until Feb. 28 at 4:30 p.m. Feedback can be sent to planning@fredericton.ca.

Depending on public reaction, some parts of the plan can still be altered or changed.

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