New Brunswick

Fredericton removing 19 trees from Officers' Square

Nineteen trees are being removed from Officers' Square because of construction and revitalization plans.

City had to remove trees to make way for construction and revitalization plans in the downtown area

Plans to revitalize Officers' Square and construction in the area force staff to remove 19 trees from the park. (Philip Drost/CBC News)

Fredericton is cutting down 19 trees in Officers' Square because of construction and plans to revitalize the downtown area, leaving four trees standing.

Greg McCann, a project engineer with the city, said the majority of the doomed trees are next to the wall along Officers' Square and vary in age.

The city also plans to replant 40 trees in the Officers' Square area, with the majority of those being elm trees. The Fredericton Tree Commission will work with the city on those plans. 

McCann said that of the four trees to be spared, two are large elms.

"Removal and replacement of the wall adjacent to Point St. Anne Boulevard and Queen Street will impact the roots, root structure of the trees," McCann said of the construction set to start in the area on Friday. 

Greg McCann, a project engineer with the city, says 19 trees will be removed from Officers Square because of construction and revitalizion plans for the area. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"We're also going to be adjusting the grade in Officers' Square, actually bringing it up almost a metre and a half in some places, that adds to the stress on the roots. It'll impact their ability to breathe."

McCann gave the update Tuesday night at a public council-in-committee session. He said the trees are in great condition and staff looked at a number of ways to save them but were left with few options.

"They damage the roots, they compromise the stability of the trees to withstand windstorms," he said. "It just makes them unpredictable for survival well into the future."

The walkway along the edge of the lawn in Officers' Square will be able to be a chilled rink in the winter months. (City of Fredericton )

Coun. Greg Ericson said staff consulted with the tree commission last week and explained the extent of the construction project. 

"That ruled out a lot of easy options for saving trees and doing things to mitigate damage to the trees," Ericson said.

"Eventually, I think everyone left that room understanding that all efforts had been made to try and save the tree inventory that's in place."

Eight of the trees will be taken down soon and the rest over the next year. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.

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