Officers’ Square Revitalization Project Gets Third-Party Archeological Review and First Nations Consultation

The Officers’ Square revitalization project will be subject to both a formal archeological study and consultations with First Nations, City staff reported to Council today.

To ensure the project is protecting archeological resources, particularly any that may be important to First Nations, the City has initiated an Archeological Impact Assessment by a respected, independent third-party archeologist.

The City has also agreed, following discussions this summer with the Province’s Culture, Heritage and Archeology Branch, that there will be aboriginal consultation on the project. The Province, in its role as the Crown, will conduct those consultations.

“We have been in discussions for many months with the Province looking for ways to move the Officers’ Square project forward and build confidence that we are adequately protecting heritage assets and any yet to be discovered underground archeological resources, particularly those that would be important to First Nations,” Ken Forrest, the City’s chief planner and director of the Planning & Development Department.

“We acknowledge these resources, if found, are very important. We also want to ensure First Nations are brought into the process,” Forrest said. “We heard the concerns that were raised about the need to go through a thorough process and that’s what we’ve been doing over the summer.”

The City has contracted Grant Aylesworth of Fredericton-based Stratus Consulting Inc. to conduct the Archeological Impact Assessment (AIA) and make recommendations. Mr. Aylesworth is a licensed New Brunswick archeologist, familiar with the area’s history and settlement patterns.

Mr. Aylesworth has been examining historical and archival records of Officers’ Square and the area surrounding the site, including where soils would have previously been disturbed over the years and to what depth. These investigations, along with a review of the Province’s Archeological Potential Model, will determine where more intensive archeological work should be conducted to protect any undiscovered underground resources.

The Province of New Brunswick and the City, with the University of New Brunswick, had already conducted two ground penetrating radar studies of the Officers’ Square site.

A draft of the AIA has been submitted to the Province’s Culture, Heritage and Archeology Branch for review and further recommendations, before aboriginal consultations begin.

The City hopes to continue the revitalization project in phases beginning this fall, once approvals for each phase have been received from the Province, fulfilling the terms of a Heritage Permit the City received to revitalize Officers’ Square. The City received the permit for the project before assuming ownership of the National Historic Site in 2016.

  • Officers' Square Revitalization Plan web page.