Fredericton considering new location for all-wheel sports plaza
Published Sunday, February 11, 2018 7:32PM AST
User groups have been campaigning to have a new sports plaza in Fredericton for nearly two decades, but officials say the preferred construction site may cause problems for the city.
The groups are hoping for a new all-wheel sports plaza overlooking the river in Fredericton’s downtown.
The concept includes a park designed for skateboarders and bikers with green space and spots for lounging. The park is designed to be 25,000 square feet and would cost the city approximately $1.4 million.
Rodney Mann is an avid skateboarder in the community and he’s been advocating for the park since he was in middle school.
“We finally have council on our side and at the eleventh hour now, there’s an issue with locations when we’ve already known about the issues for many years,” he says.
Mann says he was disappointed earlier this month when a press release from the city implied that the project wasn't going to happen downtown.
City staff had originally identified a location adjacent to the Small Craft Aquatic Centre, but due to the cost associated with removing underground infrastructure, that location was deemed unacceptable.
“We found the wording to be a little misleading,” Mann says. “It didn’t mention that downtown was still an option even though they told us it was.”
City staff say they’re considering developing the plaza next to the Willie O'Ree Place on the north side of town. Users groups strongly disagree with the new location.
"It creates more vibrancy downtown; it gives kids and adults a place to play essentially,” says business owner Matt Savage.
"I think it benefits people with from lower socio-economic backgrounds because it’s so easy to access with the bus routes,” says Riley Davis.
Fredericton councilor Kevin Darrah supports having the plaza downtown, but says the original location has underground water pipes that supply fresh water to the north side.
"If council wanted them to move that it would be somewhere north of $400,000 thousand dollars just to do that and then there would be a lot of other issues of course because you'd have to cut the water off,” says Darrah.
He says the city hasn't ruled out this location just yet, but they’re waiting to hear back from consultants.
"We want to see the press release updated to be more neutral and less leading and acknowledge the fact that downtown is still an option,” says Mann.
The city is scheduled to host a public consultation Feb. 22.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.