City and NBEX move to next level of cooperation in developing exhibition grounds

Parties agree to hire development consultant and approve contribution agreement

The City of Fredericton and the Fredericton Exhibition Limited (NBEX) have moved to the next level of cooperation in joint efforts to develop a Site Development Plan for the exhibition grounds. These next steps include the hiring of a consultant to prepare the plan, and the approval of terms on a contribution agreement to pay for the eventual development of the site.

Further to a request for proposals issued in January 2020 to hire a consultant to prepare a site development plan for the property, the Joint Land Development Committee (JLDC) has recommended the hiring of O2 Planning + Design to the NBEX board of directors and Fredericton City Council. Both parties have agreed.

In addition, City Council and the FREX board have approved a contribution agreement which sets out the terms and conditions of investment and repayment of funds required to prepare the site for development. NBEX will pay for land development, preparation and marketing costs from land sales or lease proceeds. The City will provide upfront funding that will be recovered as portions of the property are sold or leased.

“The Joint Land Development Committee have been meeting regularly to work on the various aspects of this important project,” said Mayor Mike O’Brien. “The level of cooperation between members of the committee has been inspiring, and I’m excited to begin a community conversation about the transformation of this area and

reimagining of the iconic NBEX.”

“The committee members are very dedicated,” said Jeff Melanson, president of the Fredericton Exhibition Limited board of directors. “We have been listening and learning about each others’ thoughts and visions for the site and have really started to think about the ‘art of the possible’ for the exhibition grounds.”

The NBEX board approved the choice of the consultant and the terms of the contribution agreement at their board meeting of July 20, 2020. Fredericton City Council approved both items at their regular Council meeting of July 27, 2020.

Hiring Process for Consultant

In January 2020, the JLDC issued a public request for proposals for planning consultant services. Seven qualified submissions were received.

The proposals were scored by each committee member, then jointly reviewed and scored, before a short list of candidates was interviewed. The committee was looking for demonstrated experience in planning associated with site modernization projects and related experience in agricultural fair locations.

Considerable time was also spent evaluating the submissions for their ability to perform public engagement, which is a necessary step in arriving at a final site development plan. The committee hopes to begin consultation in September, with the goal of completing the plan by the end of 2020.

The eventual Site Development Plan is intended to be adopted as a secondary municipal plan according to the Community Planning Act.

About O2 Planning + Design

O2 Planning + Design is a Calgary-based collaborative studio that integrates landscape architecture, ecology, urban design, and planning. Their award-winning work seeks to understand the broader social, ecological, and cultural systems that support the economic vitality of successful places. They have created a variety of urban, public space and mixed-use plans across the country, with a focus on design, land-use planning and economic analysis.

About the Joint Land Development Committee

The Joint Land Development Committee, which was announced in February 2019, brought the City and NBEX together to work as equal partners in the future development of the Fredericton exhibition grounds. The committee is made up of City councillors, NBEX board members, community representatives, and staff from the City and NBEX. They were tasked with developing and executing a Site Development Plan for the property. (Search: “Joint Land Development Committee”)