City Receives All Required Permits for Next Phase of Officers’ Square Revitalization

The Officers’ Square revitalization project will move forward later this fall, now that the City of Fredericton has received all required final heritage and archeological approvals and permits from the Province of New Brunswick for the next phase on the project.

“It’s great news,” said Ken Forrest, the City’s Director of Planning and Development. “There’s been a very intensive heritage review by the Province and approvals will allow the City to get on with improving the condition of Officers’ Square. It’s an important National Historic Site, a precious asset and our most important public gathering space. And it’s in a very poor state.”

The next phase of the project focusses largely on completing work started last year at the perimeter of the Square, and preparing the site for future phases of work. The Officers’ Square plan was revised in November 2018 to protect all the large mature trees in the Square.

“Everyone can now be assured the appropriate heritage and archeological review of the project’s next phase has been done thoroughly,” said Forrest. “It’s taken a lot of painstakingly detailed discussion, but everyone should now feel confident that the City’s revised plan for the Square fully respects and celebrates the important heritage of the Square and ensures it will be available for the next generation.”

This fall, the City will focus on re-establishing the crumbling and unstable perimeter wall that runs along Queen Street and acts as a retaining wall for the street. When completed, the wall will be capped with cut sandstone capstones and black fencing that matches the current ornamental fence. It will also provide better public safety protection.

This year’s work will also include removing the existing sandstone capstones and establishing new entrance stairs and accessible entrance. The monument to the 104th Regiment will be temporarily removed during construction and will be re-established in a prominent location at the entrance to the Square. As well, the Lord Beaverbrook statue will be relocated to a new home at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in a spectacular garden area that will include the return of the historic Robbie Burns statue and the Three Muses fountain. 

This next phase of work follows the revised Officers’ Square plan passed by Council last November that protects all the major mature trees in the Square. The City will also remove 11 smaller trees from Officers’ Square and the area just outside the Square. Following this work, no other trees will be removed. The City plans to plant 28 new trees on the site as part of the completed revitalization project.

The City has received Site Alteration Permits and Archeological Monitoring Permits from the Province. The City has also received a new heritage permit as well as authority to complete further work pursuant to the 2016 heritage permit for the project. Tenders for the work will be issued by the City this week and the work is expected to be completed before winter.

The work the City will be doing at Officers’ Square this fall takes place in areas above ground level or in areas where there has been substantial previous ground disturbance.  Appropriate archaeological measures are in place to ensure the work meets provincial requirements.

All future revitalization work after this phase will be based on a third-party Archeological Impact Assessment conducted this summer by Stratis Consulting. To ensure protection of any undiscovered aboriginal archeological assets, the City has agreed with the Province of New Brunswick that First Nations consultations will take place before any underground digging takes place in any areas of the Square that have not been previously disturbed. This phase of work is anticipated to begin next summer.