New Brunswick

Fredericton's latest design could save up to 8 mature trees in Officers' Square

Fredericton city council has two new options to consider in order to save more trees in Officers' Square, one of which that could save up to eight mature trees — four more than the original plan called for.

City staff have come up with 2 new options for the revitalization project that would save more trees

The Officers' Square revitalization project was put on hold while staff came up with two new designs to present to council, in an effort to save more trees. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Fredericton city council has two new options to consider in order to save more trees in Officers' Square, one of which that could save up to eight mature trees — four more than the original plan called for. 

A special council meeting was held Monday night, so city staff could present the two new designs in an effort to save as many mature trees as possible.

Council received public pressure earlier this spring when city council announced it would cut down 19 out of the 23 trees in Officers' Square as part of a $8.9 million revitalization project to the area.

A petition was created this past summer to save the trees in Officers' Square. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

Once word got out, it wasn't long before residents voiced concerns, and eventually formed the group Save Officers' Square, which prompted the city to look at different options to save as many trees as possible in the downtown park.

The options delivered 

The first option would save eight trees — that's four additional trees compared to the original plan. This would include a large elm tree at the corner of the park between Queen Street and St. Anne's Point Boulevard.

That option comes with an additional $190,000 to the project.

Option one will save eight mature trees, which is four more trees than the original design. (Submitted/City of Fredericton)

Option two is a cheaper design, but would save one less tree than the first option, and would cost an extra $80,000 to the project.

The second option would also sacrifice the large elm tree at the corner of Queen Street and St. Anne's Point Boulevard for a new corner entrance to the square, which would provide more accessibility to the park. 

Option two is a cheaper option, but will save only three additional trees, compared to the original design. (Submitted/City of Fredericton)

"I think those options are very sound options," said Coun. Bruce Grandy of the new designs. 

City staff are recommending council choose the first option because it would save the highest number of trees, which was what council requested earlier this year.

Protesters wrap Officer's Square trees in blankets

4 years ago
Duration 0:53
A development that will force 19 trees to be cut down at Officers' Square will continue as planned, the mayor of Fredericton says.

Council will vote on the options at the next public meeting on Nov. 13.

Staff hope to start working on the project in the spring of 2019. But the city will still need final approval from the province to make sure plans fulfil the heritage permit. 

Protecting Fredericton's heritage

In May, 19 trees were originally set to be cut down to revamp Officers' Square in Fredericton. (CBC)

Residents were initially concerned the park's heritage would be compromised in the city's revitalization plan.

In the new designs given to council, staff say the concepts follow provincial regulations about the discovered and yet-to-be discovered archeological resources associated with the square's military history.

Both designs include the ornamental cast-iron fence to be re-established, which was planned to be removed earlier this year because of safety issues. 

But the new designs will still include concepts from the original plan such as a skating oval, stage, and a playground with a water feature.

The city also said more trees will be planted in the park.

Beth Biggs, a member of Save Officers' Square, said more needs to be done to protect the trees at the local park. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

Beth Biggs, a spokesperson for Save Officers' Square group, was at Monday's meeting and said she's not convinced city council has done everything it can to save the park's heritage.

"I'm not happy that they are saving just only four trees," she said.

"Where's the heritage impact assessment that determines what heritage stays and leaves?"


Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.


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