New Brunswick

Consultants will help settle Odell Park disc golf debate

The City of Fredericton will be turning to outside consultants to help settle competing visions for the use of Odell Park and other city parks.

City of Fredericton will hire outside firm to help determine appropriate uses for Odell, and other city parks

The City of Fredericton will be turning to outside consultants to help settle competing visions for the use of Odell Park and other city parks.

Fredericton councillor Kate Rogers says the city is hiring external firms to recommend appropriate uses for its various parks, including settling the debate over whether to expand the disc golf course in Odell to 18 holes.

Consultants have already been chosen to do studies of Wilmot Park and Carleton Park.

Rogers, who chairs Fredericton's community services committee, says a management plan for Odell Park will be developed this summer.

"When you have such strong thoughts and desires coming at you from two different sides, it's helpful to have an expert come in and weigh those [opinions,]" Rogers said Wednesday in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.

'Will we make choices where everyone will be happy? No, but … everyone will be able to … understand where those choices came from.- Fredericton councillor Kate Rogers

"It's always nice to have a neutral party get … if not a consensus, at least a compromise and a balance."

A citizens group in Fredericton is fighting the proposed expansion of the disc golf course in Odell Park.

The Friends of Odell Park have stated that old growth trees in the park need protection from unregulated activities.

Rogers says she's optimistic that trees and recreation can co-exist in city parks.

"Right now we're at a stage where we have to recalibrate, and some are feeling that one area is getting more attention than the other, so it's time for us to regroup and get the balance right again," she said.

"Will we make choices where everyone will be happy? No, but we'll make choices everyone will be able to look at and say they understand where those choices came from."

Fredericton's decision to delay the disc golf expansion drew a range of responses on social media.

The Friends of Odell Park have suggested moving disc golf to Killarney Park. The local cross-country ski club has already moved there, and there are plans to possibly develop more mountain bike trails at Killarney.

Rogers says it's an "interesting idea," but it's not a solution to stick all activities in one place.

"We have to get the balance right with all our parks between active and passive recreation," she said.

"That is what these plans are going to do. Guide us through which parks are appropriate for what activities."

Opponents began speaking out about the disc golf expansion last June when the city started cutting down trees to make way for the additional nine holes.

The city's forester has said some of the removed trees were previously damaged by post-tropical storm Arthur.

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