What happened to Fredericton's plan for Odell and Killarney parks?

Some Fredericton residents are wondering what happened to a plan to manage Odell and Killarney parks.

Graham Forbes is one of them. His concerns come years after city council promised to put a plan in place.

The management plan was promised after there was controversy about how the parks should be used. The debate was around whether they should be quiet sanctuaries away from the modern pace of life or an oasis for cyclists and disc golf lovers. 

A consultant was hired and public consultations were held in mid-2017. A few months later, recommendations were made to city council's community services committee.

The report recommended philosophical changes that played to the strengths of the parks, making Odell into something closer to a nature reserve while keeping Killarney focused on recreation.

The public was invited to provide feedback and a final report was supposed to be presented to city council in April 2018.

But it hasn't happened and Forbes, who was the chair of the now-disbanded Friends of Odell group, believes that's a mistake. 

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"Without that plan being public and available then there's a risk that some of these conflicts will flare up again," he said.

First things first

But Coun. Henri Mallet, who is also chair of the community services committee, said it hasn't been forgotten. He said other things needed to happen first and the plan is expected to be presented to council this fall.

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"Obviously, in that department, there's the Imagine Fredericton process and the Officers' Square took a lot of staff hours when we redid the plan," Mallet said.

"So it's not usual. It doesn't usually take that long but we're going to take the time we need to get it right and we'll have a great plan for future."

Mallet confirmed the plan was still the same as recommended by the consultant but things have to be determined for the future use of the parks. 

Philip Drost/CBC

But Forbes said without people knowing what is in the management plan promised by city council three years ago, it won't help if conflicts resurface. 

"I'd like to see a release of the management plan. … I've never heard or seen anything. If one was done and one was agreed to, then I think it should be a public document. That's what everybody was expecting."