Fredericton residents invited to shape city's future
‘Imagine Fredericton’ launched to engage public in development of city’s new 25-year plan
The City of Fredericton has launched a year-long initiative to engage the public in developing its first municipal plan since the late 1990s.
"Imagine Fredericton" will involve opportunities for residents to give their input — online and in-person — on how the city should look over the next quarter century.
The engagement process will even involve the installation of a temporary "information hub" located inside a shipping container beside City Hall.
It will allow people to ask questions, share their views in person and see project materials.
"The current plan is 25-years-old and Fredericton has changed dramatically in the 25 year timeframe," said Marcello Battilana, manager of the City of Fredericton's community planning department.
Battilana says, as well as inviting people to the information hub and to the Imagine Fredericton website, the city will actively seek out residents for their opinions.
"We're going to be going to events, we're going to be going to ball games, we're going to be going to the parks," said Battilana.
"So we're going to go where the people are, as opposed to having events where people can come to us."
The new Imagine Fredericton website includes a survey that residents can complete, to highlight the issues most important to them.
At the launch event on Tuesday night, members of the public placed green and red stickers on a city map, to mark their favourites and eyesores.
Attendees were also invited to speak on camera, to express their views on the direction they think the city should take.
The process also includes a Citizens' Advisory Committee, made up of people from different parts of the community.
Battilana described the 10-person committee as ambassadors for the project who will act as a sounding board for public opinion.
Committee member Julia Ramirez is a population growth specialist at Ignite Fredericton.
Ramirez sees her role as one that gives voice to those who are not always heard in municipal planning.
"Making sure all the points of view are taken into consideration, and that we don't forget people in our rush to do certain things," said Ramirez.
Charles Gaffney says he volunteered to be part of the committee to help represent the voice of First Nations communities.
Gaffney is a department head at New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and member of Tobique First Nation.
"How do we represent the First Nations communities in New Brunswick and represent that in the downtown core of Fredericton when developing over the next 25 years. What does that look like?" said Gaffney.
"I'd like to look at the historical relevance of St. Mary's [First Nation]. A huge importance and significance in Wolastoqiyik culture here in the Maritimes."
Other members of the committee include academics, architects, business people, and Fredericton Mayor Mike O'Brien.
After the initial public input initiative this summer, the city will hold a two-day summit in October to identify the areas of importance.
The final municipal plan is scheduled for release in June 2017.