Council votes for option to conserve character-defining trees in plan to revitalize Officers’ Square

Fredericton City Council has chosen a revised conceptual plan to revitalize Officers’ Square that will conserve eight large, mature trees in the National Historic Site.

Council saw two options for the plan at a special meeting on November 5. One option recommended eliminating a proposed corner entrance at Queen Street and St. Anne’s Point Boulevard and conserving four additional large trees, including the majestic elm on the corner. The second option proposed conserving three large, mature trees and retaining the entrance at the southeast corner proposed in the original design. Council chose option one. 

“This has been a long community conversation,” said Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien. “The revised plan for Officers’ Square strikes the right balance of conserving character-defining trees, as we instructed staff to do, while ensuring heritage is respected and responding to how residents use the Square. My Council colleagues and I look forward to seeing the project come to life.”

The revised Plan protects large mature trees along Queen Street, doubles the amount of trees in the Square, introduces tree protection zones, reinstates the ornamental cast-iron fence, creates a smaller skating surface, and expands green spaces.  Original plan features like the Great Lawn, performances stages, play area, a water feature, and a multi-use plaza for events and parking will also remain.

“Officers’ Square is Fredericton’s great public space and the status quo was never an option,” said Coun. Bruce Grandy, Chair of the City of Fredericton Development Committee.  “The project will now move to detailed construction drawings which we will share with the Province of New Brunswick in our heritage permit application. We expect to begin construction in the Spring with the intent not to affect summer programming in the Square for 2019.”

Construction phasing will begin with plans to rebuild the wall along Queen Street and St. Anne’s Point Boulevard while expanding the enclosure to the back of the Fredericton Region Museum. The next phase will involve revitalizing the main Square starting in the autumn of 2019 with work on that phase set to conclude in 2020. The final phase of the project, which includes installing a play area, will begin in 2020 and conclude in 2021. Additional costs connected to protecting the large, mature trees are expected to increase the total project cost to just over $9.1 million.

For more information on the Officers’ Square Revitalization Plan, please visit www.fredericton.ca/OfficersSquare.