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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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?”.


Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

The Daily Gleaner, Published Saturday March 21, 2009



A student group calling for an immediate moratorium on construction in the University of New Brunswick woodlot says it’s encouraged after a meeting with university president John McLaughlin.

Students delivered a petition with 650 signatures to the UNB president’s office Friday, and they were invited in to speak to the president.

They emerged confident they will be consulted in the future on development decisions.

“He has pledged to include students in meaningful consultation by setting up a structure while he is still in his position as president to start to include students, faculty and community in the way the development is done, so we thank him for that,” said Kerri Krawec.

The students have called for:

* a moratorium on development until the university and Fredericton communities can be included in meaningful consultations;

* faculty and student expertise tapped to create an innovative development process;

* a full environmental impact assessment for the entire UNB Woodlot;

* and adherence to a university promise to protect wetlands and 80-metre buffers.

Costco is the next big-box store expected to be built on the woodlot property.

Development in the areas has raised plenty of opposition from those who want to see it preserved.

Incoming UNB president Eddy Campbell will also be apprised of the discussion, Krawec said.

“So far, the student representation on this issue has not been satisfactory for us,” she said.

“There has not been any student voice in this process.”

Krawec said the group is agreeable to being part of discussion about development in the woodlot.

“Absolutely, this group has never been against development, in the sense that there is recognition that the university is in need of revenue,” she said.

“The provincial government at this point is unable to provide it, and we don’t want students’ tuition to go up. But there is certainly a concern for how that development takes place and its very reasonable to suggest that environmentally sustainable development is sustainable, especially with all the expertise in house.”

Krawec said it’s a question of better development.

“I think that that’s something the UNB community is deserving of and that this university is fully capable of,” she said.

The desired result would be to have students and faculty use their expertise to create something that would stand up as an ideal, she said.

“We’re approaching this from as diverse a perspective as we can, but … if UNB is going to have sources of funding such as the woodlot, we need it to be in as sustainable a manner as is possible. And not by just looking at the economic circumstances, but by looking at the overarching circumstances of the environment and also the social implications of putting stores like Costco and Home Depot in what is a weltand area,” Krawec said.

In recent months, some have come out to say that the UNB woodlot was always intended to be a source of income for the institution.

UNB student Jens Ourom, who served the petition on McLaughlin, said the land grant is open to interpretation.

“We’re talking about a document that is literally hundreds of years old,” Ourom said.

“It (the land) was given to the university… It basically says it’s for the benefit of the university community and you can interpret that essentially any way you want to.”

Students say the university has a responsibility to make the best practices it teaches students a reality on the lands it stewards.

“At UNB, I’ve been learning how to develop responsibly for the future, to optimize social, environmental and economic variables,” said Marc Girard, who is a graduate student in UNB’s environmental management program.

“It is troubling when I see that the institution responsible for teaching me is not applying any of its own lessons.”

Read Full Post »

The Daily Gleaner, Published Monday February 23, 2009

* Internal and external consultation sessions to prepare UNB’s land management strategy and woodlot implementation plan, 2001-2004

* Information sessions on the woodlot implementation plan held for UNB community, stakeholder groups, media and the general public, October 2004

* Municipal plan amendment, public process, 2004

* zoning for 45-acre Corbett Centre retail development, public process, 2005

* Environmental approvals and environmental impact assessments conducted for the retail development, 2005-07

* Retail development construction begins, fall 2005

* First retail store, The Home Depot, opens, June 2006

* Subdivision of land and lease negotiations for the Sports and Leisure Complex, 2005-06

* Subdivision approved for extension of Knowledge Park Drive, public process, 2006

* Environmental impact assessment conducted and approved for Knowledge Park Drive extension, 2006-07

* Work on extension of Knowledge Park Drive by city of Fredericton, 2007

* Call for expressions of interest for development along extension of Knowledge Park Drive, February 2008

* Groundbreaking for Sports and Leisure Complex, spring/summer 2008

* Knowledge Park Drive extension to open, spring/summer 2008

Read Full Post »

BODY {font-family=”Arial”} TT {font-family=”Courier New”} BLOCKQUOTE.CITE {padding-left:0.5em; margin-left:0; margin-right:0; margin-top:0; margin-bottom:0; border-left:”solid 2″;} SPAN.TABOOHEADER {display=none}

March 10th, 2009
By GRAHAM FORBES, For The Daily Gleaner
To some, the University of New Brunswick woodlot represents recreation, green space, quality of life and ecological services.
Photo: REPLACING TREES: New stores at the Corbett Centre can be seen past the trees from the UNB woodlot. While some want development and others want preservation, writer Graham Forbes points out that what UNB teaches in many of its courses is contrary to its decisions on its woodlot.
To others, it represents jobs, housing, tax revenue and opportunities to shop.
The first group wants more protected, the latter, more developed. My point is not so much to debate the percentage developed, but, if development is to occur, to illustrate a better way to develop.
The Feb. 12 information session on proposed changes to a wetland promotes the removal of a wetland (already approved by government) that would retain run-off but also some natural forest and ecological function. It would be replaced with two bathtub-like holding ponds for runoff.
Apparently, the approved wetland needs to be removed simply because Costco stores have pre-determined dimensions and parking areas, and they want the store sign to face the entrance of the road.
I offer that this proposal is another case of poor environmental management by UNB. Two years ago, UNB cleared forest for the Home Depot area. The woodlot development plan has 80-metre buffers on waterways, but, in this first evidence of how UNB develops, the forested corridor oddly becomes 30 metres, the minimum required by provincial regulation.
A road was pushed through a wetland, the site where traffic caused significant frog mortality in fall 2008. A 30-metre buffer on a wetland was clear cut, without a permit, and UNB was forced to mitigate the violation, which they did by replanting trees in the buffer.
Recently, UNB clearcut three lines for geotechnical work, each about four metres wide into this wetland. Was there government approval to impact this wetland? A large wetland was found where the new hockey rinks near Kimble Drive were to be built. The wetland was not in the original environmental impact assessment and would have been destroyed; the hockey rink layout had to be changed at considerable expense and delay.
The water detention pond at the Kimble Road end of the woodlot breached twice and dumped extensive sediment into Corbett Brook. These are not shining examples of sustainable development.
I note that the loss of populations of animals and plants will have no impact on these species. They are not rare, they are found in many places.
The loss is at the scale of Fredericton. People in Fredericton want clean water and natural features, and they want nature close to where they live and work. One would hope we do not have to keep sacrificing natural areas so that a single box-store can have its store sign seen as you drive in.
I am not so naive to believe my values or advice drive the actions of the university. I do, however, question a troubling hypocrisy.
If UNB promotes sustainable management, sustainable development, wildlife management, environmental planning, environmental economics, and corporate citizenship, it would seem we could expect more of that teaching be put into practice.
By my count UNB has over 20 relevant courses in virtually every discipline, from engineering, forestry, biology, to economics and sociology. We have at least 25 professors who research, write about and work in these areas. If a university cannot promote supposed new-and-improved methods, a better balance between development and conservation, then who can?
The woodlot should be a showcase of what is possible, not an example of the status quo, of flat-earth planning or of removing wetlands so a big-box store can fit its predetermined shape.
Graham Forbes, PhD, is the director of the New Brunswick Co-operative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management and Faculty of Science at the University of New Brunswick.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.