Archive for the ‘Public Consultation’ Category

University seeks nod to develop more land

March 1, 2011

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the Friends of the UNB Woodlot urged city council to apply the brakes to any more development of the University of New Brunswick’s woodlot.

But city council voted unanimously to support a proposal by UNB to subdivide and rezone eight highway-commercial building lots on university property at 75 Knowledge Park Dr.

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The latest development in the UNB Woodlot will undergoing first and second reading this coming Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm at Fredericton City Hall. Read the Planning Advisory Committee report.

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Prepared by Friends of the UNB Woodlot

Wetlands are under attack by the development community in New Brunswick.  We need to speak up and keep wetlands protected in our cities.

Environment minister to engage New Brunswickers on the topic of wetlands


10 a.m. to noon, Friday, March 4,

Killarney Lake Lodge, Rotary Room, 1600 St. Mary’s St., Fredericton

The public is also invited to send comments by way of e-mail, env-info@gnb.ca.

Please show up and ask the following:  “If we take wetlands away, where is the rain water going to go?”.


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Conservation Council of New Brunswick

Fredericton Chapter

For Immediate Release

April 29, 2009

Fredericton – The Fredericton Chapter of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick is joining those concerned with the way that Fredericton City Council handled the approvals needed to build a Costco in the UNB Woodlot.

“We are concerned with the lack of transparency and the piecemeal process involved in approving the Costco and other developments in the UNB Woodlot,” stated Tracy Glynn, the Conservation Council’s Acadian Forest Campaigner and Fredericton Chapter member.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, it was announced that the City Council would only be voting on expanding the parking lot area for Costco. The gas bar had already been discussed and approved during a closed committee meeting earlier.

“We only take small comfort with the decision of City Council to move the gas bar outside the buffer zone. During our ecological crisis, we should not be considering Costco’s profits ahead of our own needs and the planet’s needs. The city does not need more gas bars and big box stores but it does need forest and wetlands. Lessons should be learned from cities across Canada that are now footing huge bills to restore natural areas and wetlands because of past unwise development,” stated Glynn.

“The UNB Woodlot is home to herons, frogs, blue bead lilies, old-growth red spruce stands, mature forest and wetlands,” stated Megan de Graaf, the Conservation Council’s Forest and Watersheds Project Coordinator and Fredericton Chapter member. “The expansion of big box stores and housing developments into forest and wetlands deprives wildlife of their habitat and threatens our city’s biodiversity. Today, the primary threat to forest and wetlands that remain near Canada’s cities is urban sprawl. We encourage the city of Fredericton to join other cities such as Edmonton in taking measures to halt biodiversity loss.”

The Fredericton Chapter of the Conservation Council reaffirms its calls for a moratorium on development in the UNB Woodlot until a proper public participation process has been done.


Tracy Glynn, 458-8747, forest@conservationcouncil.ca

Megan de Graaf, 458-8747, water@conservationcouncil.ca

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Last Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2009
CBC News

The addition of a gas bar and a parking lot expansion on the proposed Costco site caused close to 100 people to turn out to a Fredericton city council meeting on Tuesday night.

Eleven people spoke against the proposed expansion at the Costco site at the Corbett Centre on the city’s south side. Many used the opportunity to voice their opposition to the entire project.

But Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside made it clear that the Costco development was not up for debate.

“That was approved, went through the entire process we’re going through now. So that part is behind us,” Woodside said.

If the bylaw amendment is passed, a wetland will be filled in to make room for the parking lot expansion and a gas bar.

Claire Gibson was one of people who told the council that it’s a bad idea to put a gas bar in that area.

“I’m not a scientist but it doesn’t make common sense to put a gas bar near a wetland,” Gibson said.

Rick Cunjak, a professor at the University of New Brunswick and the Canada research chair in river ecosystem science, also spoke against the motion on Tuesday night.

“The likelihood, my suggestion would be, that something could go wrong at a gas bar is there, is potentially high. Are we willing to take that risk? I would suggest not,” he said.
Developer says safety precautions being taken

Scott Fash, a planner with the Terrain Group, the project developer said precautions are being taken to avoid any potential harmful environmental impacts.

“Not only the underground storage tanks but the above ground fuel pumps had to be outside the buffer of the existing wetland,” he said.

Council has asked for a report on the possible effects the project could have on surface water and the city’s drinking water supply. The amendment will go to third and final reading on April 27.

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City to conduct vote April 27
A1, Published Wednesday April 15th, 2009

Move it to another location. Don’t build a gasoline bar. Don’t build any kind of big-box store. Put a moratorium on any further development of the University of New Brunswick woodlot.

That’s what the 38 environmental groups and opponents of big-box stores are telling city council about a proposed Costco.

Another five individuals, plus a group of citizens that signed a petition, stated their support for the development.

“This is an emotional issue for a lot of people,” said Mayor Brad Woodside after the nearly two-hour public discussion. “You have been very respectful and I appreciate that very much.”

Councillors gave first and second reading Tuesday night to a rezoning bylaw to allow a proposed Costco Wholesale store to be located at the Corbett Centre retail development on the University of New Brunswick woodlot atop Regent Street.

Much of the property needed for the store and its parking area is already within an approved zoning envelope.

But one corner at the Regent Street end of the property has to be added to the site plan for a proposed gasoline bar and that has put project developers at city hall’s steps for tweaking of its zoning.

It won’t be until April 27, when councillors vote on third reading of the zoning amendment, that the city’s verdict will be delivered.

Coun. Bruce Grandy has asked for a staff report on surface water runoff and the potential impacts on the city’s drinking water supply from the project prior to third reading.

Friends of the UNB Woodlot, the Fredericton chapter of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, UNB students and a couple of UNB professors revisited most of the same arguments that the public has heard about the development.

“Putting a gas bar next to a wetland probably isn’t a good idea,” said UNB Prof. Charlene Mayes. “It shouldn’t be about how much risk we can tolerate, but how much risk we can avoid.”

She said councillors have a golden opportunity to uphold the environmental protection goals that are stated in the city’s environmental plan.

“We need to consider whether it’s right and correct to roll out the red carpet for them by allowing them to expand their project, expand their parking lot and construct a gas bar,” said Julie Michaud of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

UNB Prof. Rick Cunjak takes his fish biology class to the Corbett Brook marsh area because the upper part of the brook is the only place where brook trout are found.

“What’s the significance of brook trout? They’re like a canary in a coal mine. They’re a very good indicator of environmental sensitivity … There’s still something right here. Let’s not mess with that,” Cunjak said.

“What’s the likelihood of a problem occurring with a gas bar? I don’t know. I would say is it worth the risk?” Cunjak said. “I would suggest not.”

Professors at UNB and St. Thomas University are working behind the scenes to try to change UNB’s approach to the woodlot plan into a more environmentally sustainable model, Cunjak said.

Wolfgang Faig, retired dean of engineering at UNB, said groups and individuals that want to revisit UNB’s plan for its woodlot had the opportunity to speak when the university prepared its woodlot plan.

“To hear that students didn’t have input is incorrect,” Faig said. “I’m a little frustrated to see now that members of the university community object while they could have objected all through the process.”

Terrain Group Inc., the engineering and site planning group hired by UNB to plan the property layout, has been working with the Environment Department on modifications to minimize intrusion on the marsh.

“Previously on the site plan, we had shown encroachment in these areas (the 30-metre buffer zone) … but the Department of Environment has prohibited any encroachment into those buffer areas,” said Scott Fash, a planner with Terrain Group Inc.

“We’ve agreed and will be putting retaining walls so that the development will no longer be encroaching.”

The gasoline bar fuel pumps have to be moved an additional 30 metres away from the buffer, he said.

“There are significant monitoring programs that are going to be required by the Department of the Environment,” Fash said.

“In terms of water supply, this wetland and the proposed gas bar is outside of the city’s wellfield protection zoning.”

In 2004, UNB adopted a land management strategy to turn half of its 1,526-hectare (3,815-acre) woodlot into future development lands. Because its land is an endowment from King George III dating back to 1800, the university can’t sell it, but can lease it.

At the time the strategy was drafted, the university held stakeholder and public talks about the proposal.

“Forcing Costco out of Fredericton would be a tremendous loss for this city and its inhabitants. I would not like to see that happen,” Faig said.

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Published Tuesday March 24th, 2009

A public hearing of objections to a zoning amendment and subdivision to permit a Costco store at the Corbett Centre retail development on Regent Street will be held by Fredericton city council April 14.

Two weeks later, councillors are slated to cast their final vote on third reading to determine the store’s fate.

As the property owner, the University of New Brunswick is making the application to the city for the zoning approvals needed to allow the project to go forward.

Long before the first store, the 42,390-square-metre (471,000-square-foot) Home Depot was built at the 18-hectare (45-acre) Corbett Centre property, Costco had been identified as a retailer of interest to UNB and its partners.

UNB is working with Terrain Group of Moncton, an engineering, planning and surveying firm, to help it do site preparation of its land and with Ontario’s Trinity Development Group Inc. and its partner RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust to attract retailers.

Costco signed a letter of intent with UNB in the fall of 2008, but hasn’t yet announced a construction date for a Fredericton project.

“Yes, we still have an interest in entering the Fredericton market and the Saint John market as well. At this point, that’s all that I can comment on,” said Ron Damiani, Costco Canada spokesman in Ottawa, in a recent interview.

Due to design changes, the provincial Environment Department has required additional engineering work from Terrain Group to show how it will manage storm water flows from the property and surrounding land.

Local environmental activists are opposed to any further development on the site and want UNB to protect its woodlot holdings from any type of commercial development.

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