Plan for Fredericton's Odell and Killarney parks delayed again

Plans for managing Odell and Killarney parks in Fredericton have been delayed again, nudged down the list by city hall's work on Officer's Square.

A management plan for the two parks was promised in 2017 after a controversy over how they should be used — as quiet sanctuaries or for recreational pursuits such as biking and disc golf. 

The delay coming up with a final plan has cost the city $20,000, Ken Forrest, director of planning and development, said Monday.

"That would represent less than 20 per cent of the project budget," he said.

"So not significant issues around cost, but, you know, unfortunate but necessary in this case, given how we had to allocate resources."

A draft report on the parks, based on the findings and recommendations of a consultant, was presented to council in 2017 after some public consultation.

The report recommended philosophical changes that would make Odell into something closer to a nature reserve and keep Killarney focused on recreation.

A final draft was supposed to be presented to city council in April 2018.

     But that never came. Forrest said work associated with the Officer's Square revitalization project took precedence over the park plans. Plans to revitalize the downtown square, which called for the removal of trees, also provoked controversy.

The Killarney and Odell plans were expected this fall, but council heard at Monday night's committee meeting that they won't be ready until the new year at the earliest. 

"We're in the final stages of kind of perfecting a final draft that we will then be able to share with council and for the public," Forrest said. 

Philip Drost/CBC

Once the plans are released, more public engagement will be needed before they can be adopted. 

"Because it's taken longer than we would have hoped," he said. 

Forrest said the city's plan is to still make Killarney into a recreational space and to maintain Odell Park's ecology. 

"In a park that big, those are pretty complicated issues to work through and we really want to make sure that, you know,  when we do have it completed that we've done it right."