People in Fredericton can now say how they'd like to see the New Brunswick Exhibition Grounds developed.
Public consultation for development of the site has begun.
There is a survey online and a series of open houses will be held Oct. 1 in 45-minute sessions.
"With COVID-19, we have to be very careful about how we structure meetings, how we run the meetings," said Andrew Steeves, chair of the joint land development committee.
The city hired 02 Planning and Design of Calgary earlier this year for $100,000 to look more closely at the potential of the 31-acre property and come up with a development plan. The city, facing an increase of 25,000 residents over the next two decades, wants to put housing on the land.
Worked out COVID protocols.
Steeves said putting the public engagement together has been tricky, especially bringing in the consultants from Alberta, where there are more than 1,400 active cases of COVID-19.
Normally because of the pandemic, non-residents who fly into New Brunswick from elsewhere in Canada have to go into quarantine for 14 days.
"We have hired a consultant who's coming in and has had to work through the COVID protocols with our provincial government and with themselves," Steeves said. "I mean, they are business people. They can't just come down here and stay long stretches of time. So it's tricky."
The consultants are coming from Calgary this weekend. Jeff Trail, the city's deputy chief administrative officer, said proper COVID-19 protocols have been worked out with WorkSafeNB to make sure the consultants can attend the open houses safely and responsibly.
During the open houses they'll have to stay farther than six feet away from others and use a separate washroom.
The survey can be found at engagefredericton.ca. It includes prompts about "connectivity" and "open space" use. It will be open until Oct. 12.
"This is the initial information gathering," said Trail.
"The consultants will take this away and develop some concepts. They'll be coming back and there'll be another opportunity in November for additional input, probably. I mean, we haven't hammered out all the details, but it'll probably look fairly similar in terms of ensuring that we have multiple means of gathering that information, validating concepts, talking about them and getting input from people, their opinion, what they think in terms of where we're headed with with the plan."
The city and Fredericton Exhibition Ltd., also known as NBEx, started working together in 2019 on a plan for the development of the site.