New Brunswick

Preservation group expresses concern over future of Odell Park in newest plan

The group Friends of Odell park says the new plan management plan released for Fredericton park leaves them concerned for their safety and the environment. 

Friends of Odell Park says only mountain bikers were considered when creating the new management plan

Friends of Odell Park said they haven't been invited to take part in the redesign of Odell Park. (Philip Drost/CBC)

A group that focuses on the preservation of Odell Park, says it was never consulted by the city after it released a new management plan for the Fredericton park. 

The release of a new management plan for the south side park will allow cyclists to play a role in the redesigning of trails and the possibility of keeping some previously unauthorized mountain bike trails. 

"There needs to be separation of these trails between most of the mountain bikes and the hikers or the walkers in order to ensure their safety," said group member Rick Butts, during an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.

'Managing the risks'

Butts doesn't want to keep mountain bikers out of Odell Park but he does want the city to consider the safety of everyone who uses the park. 

"We really need to pay more attention to managing the risks that could go on." 

He also worries about damage being done to Odell park by unauthorized mountain bike trails and said he's surprised some trails might not be decommissioned.  

The city began developing the management plans in 2017, after public debate erupted over how Odell Park and Killarney Lake Park should be used.

Some argued Odell and Killarney should be quiet sanctuaries from the cities, while others said the parks should be an oasis for cyclists and disc golf enthusiasts. 

Butts said a previous plan that was released in February was better than the final management plans that were presented to the city's community services committee last week.

In February the plan encouraged cyclists to bike around the edges of Odell Park. It also included the decommission of eight kilometres of unauthorized trails used for mountain biking. 

New documents show Odell taking a more conservationist role, while Killarney takes a more recreational role.

The new plan includes consulting cyclists on the decommissioning of trails. 

He said the new plan also reduces the kilometres someone can walk but increases the length of mountain bike trails and that no other groups were considered when these decisions were made.

Different users giving input

"[The city should] broaden that so that we have a number of different users giving input as to what should be decommissioned and what should survive."

Butts said the group isn't trying to represent themselves but wants to see a number of different groups involved in the process. 

"Friends of Odell's original concern is that there was a lot of damage being done in Odell and a lot of future damage to be done." 

Plans still need to be voted on by city council at their next meeting on July 13.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton

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