Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hilton hotel plan passes final hurdle
(Published in the Daily Gleaner July 27/10)

Fredericton city council has given third and final reading to a municipal plan and zoning amendment change to clear the way for the construction of a downtown hotel.

Dora Construction has already been lined up to start building the 126-room, 36-metre high Hilton Garden Inn adjacent to the city's $79-million convention centre and provincial government office building. Located on property that was formerly called the DiGiacinto building, the Asian Beef Noodle Restaurant abuts the land to the west and the new convention centre to the east.

The hotel will have a full-service restaurant seating 60 people, and a 30-seat cocktail lounge. The hotel will be connected to the convention centre complex by a pedway.

While the city received a handful of complaints about the west-facing wall of the building, which was shown in initial designs as a solid wall with a narrow band of windows illuminating the stairwell, the developer has agreed to work on the design.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Marysville Cenotaph, Gibson Home and Brick Tenements Added to Register (July 26/10)

The Cenotaph in Veterans Memorial Park and a modest Canada Street home where legendary business tycoon Alexander “Boss” Gibson lived until 1866 are among six Marysville properties added to the Local Historic Places Register today by Fredericton City Council. The other four properties are brick homes built by Gibson for employees of the cotton mill he built in Marysville during the heyday of his commercial empire. They are located at 6, 8 and 14 Downing Street, and 42 Bridge Street.
(Brick Home at 14 Downing St)

The Marysville Cenotaph, located near the corner of Canada and Bridge streets, overlooks the Nashwaak River. The First World War monument, an obelisk carved of light-coloured granite stele, was erected in 1925. The Second World War monument of dark granite was erected in 1967. This land was donated to Marysville in 1924 by Canadian Cottons, corporate owners of the Marysville cotton mill.

The one-and-half-story gabled house at 185 Canada Street was built for Gibson by Henry Pickard in 1864. Gibson lived in the home for two years before moving into an ornate mansion in the Marysville area known as “Nob Hill.” During construction, an additional 20 houses were built along Canada Street for his employees. These homes marked the beginning of a building boom in the small community which lasted for nearly two decades.

The three red-brick tenement houses on Downing Street added to the Register were built by John Kelly of Saint John in 1889. Constructed of locally manufactured brick, these four-bedroom, single-family dwellings are among the more than 50 homes Gibson provided for the families of his employees. A few of these homes were converted into duplexes in 1917, reflecting a localized housing shortage as the First World War drew to a close.

The homes, erected in close proximity to the mill, reflect the paternal model of 19th century labour relations, in which workers and management were separated not only by distance but by housing design. The simple brick tenements stand in sharp contrast to the wood frame dwellings constructed for mill managers and overseers. The signature red-brick of these workers’ houses was manufactured locally at Gibson’s brickyard.

The Local Historic Places Register is a list of places deemed to be of local historical significance. It was established as a result of a Federal Government Program called the “Historic Places Initiative” and designed to raise awareness of historic places and encourage conservation.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bricklin: The Musical revs up
New Brunswick's flashy '70s political scandal takes the stage
(Excerpts from CBC post JULY 23/10)

Actors rehearse the Bricklin musical at the Fredericton Playhouse.

One of New Brunswick's most famous political controversies is about to hit the stage. Bricklin: The Musical is set in the 1970s and opens with an actor playing Premier Richard Hatfield disco dancing around an orange Bricklin sports car to celebrate his Progressive Conservative Party's 1974 provincial election win.

Hatfield's 1974 campaign featured an orange Bricklin, but his government's investment in the gull-wing vehicle with little appeal for sports car enthusiasts sparked one of the province's biggest public-spending controversies.

The car was conceived of by Malcolm Bricklin. The wealthy American manufactured it in plants in Saint John and Minto, N.B., from 1974 to 1976. The government agreed to spend $2 million to fund the project. The cost to taxpayers spiralled past $20 million and Hatfield eventually abandoned the project.

Malcolm Bricklin closed the factories in 1976, having delivered fewer than 3,000 vehicles. The company went into receivership owing the New Brunswick government millions of dollars. The Bricklin has gone on to make several "worst cars ever" lists.

Bricklin: The Musical premieres July 30 in Fredericton and features a real Bricklin on stage. The musical's website describes it as being about "a charismatic premier and an audacious entrepreneur [who] dream of building a sexy new sports car in New Brunswick, but political and production roadblocks are keeping the gull-winged venture from getting off the ground."

Despite the political content, director Alisa Palmer said that is not the point of the production. "To be frank, we're not actually trying to have a message for anybody or tell anybody anything, but we're trying to capture a moment in history that inspired a lot of people," she said.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Province, partners agree to fund advanced learning technologies centre (excerpts from CNB Media release 23 July 2010)

The provincial and federal governments are working with municipal partners to support New Brunswick’s growing knowledge sector with the creation of the Centre of Excellence for Advanced Learning and Technologies (CEALT) in Fredericton.

This centre of excellence will anchor New Brunswick’s advanced learning sector, generating new jobs and ground-breaking technology solutions for global markets. CEALT will consist of partnership labs along with a research and networking centre to support the advanced learning technology cluster. These partnerships are expected to stimulate regional growth in such sectors as defence, health and energy.

CEALT will be housed in a new 4,050-sq.-m building to be constructed in the Fredericton Knowledge Park. This business park is targeted to companies based in research and development and the application of information technology, advanced learning, biotechnology, health care, forestry and engineering. The building will provide office space and a collaborative environment to advanced learning firms including CAE, a world leader in modelling, simulation and training solutions for civil and defence markets.

Construction, expected to total $6.2 million, will be funded by an interest-free loan of $4.5 million from the provincial government; $1.75 million non-repayable contribution from the ACOA; and a $600,000 non-repayable contribution from the Fredericton Knowledge Park.The City of Fredericton is contributing $750,000 to support operational costs during the start-up.

“We are pleased to support the establishment of this centre of excellence in our knowledge park,” said Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside “Fredericton is home to more than 70 per cent of the province’s knowledge industry, and the support we are providing will help add to our reputation as one of the world’s most intelligent communities.”

For the entire release, click on the following link:
Residents Oppose Building Height
(excerpts from article publicshed in Daily Gleaner July 23/10)

Residents of a north side community trying to rebuild its heritage housing stock opposed the proposed construction of a four-storey apartment building at 453 Bowlen St.

Developer Eric Price, who built a smaller apartment at Bowlen and Hayes streets seven years ago, pledged to create a top-notch development.
"I've had tremendous positive feedback since I built that building," Price said. "It turned out to be a beautiful building."

Price said he could put up a seven-storey building in the mixed use district zone which applies to the Union Street planning area, but he appreciates the investment surrounding property owners have put into rehabilitating their homes.

He said he purchased a home on Bowlen Street because he likes the area.
Price said he will rehabilitate the part of the property which was a former service station and consolidate two separate parcels of land into one lot to build 20, two-bedroom units in a four-storey structure.

"I think redeveloping that site is certainly something that will improve the neighbourhood," said planning advisory committee member Geoff Colter. "It's been an eyesore that corner for years and years and years."

Wayne Gunter, a property owner who has been working with the city and a community group eager to rehabilitate the Union Street area, said neighbours are concerned about the height of the building. "We feel that this is not the way to go," Gunter said. "This is going to be so dominant."
The building will not enhance the area's heritage characteristics and will diminish the historic homes nearby, Gunter said.

City planners said in a report handed to the planning advisory committee that they will work with Price to refine the design of his proposed apartment building.

For the full article, please click on the following link:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Smooth Sailing at FredRock Meeting
(excerpts from article published in the Daily Gleaner, July 22/10)

The organizers of the FredRock music festival say they're thrilled with the enthusiastic response they've received from neighbours and businesses on the city's north side. Before the inaugural 2009 event occurred, neighbours living in the nearby Sunshine Garden area raised concerns about noise levels and potential parking problems.

But so far, it appears to be smooth sailing. A small crowd attended a public meeting earlier this week - a gathering to allow any interested parties to ask questions, gather details, or make suggestions about the FredRock plans.

Ward 3 Coun. Mike O'Brien said he thinks this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. "I think they've found, potentially, a new home for that event," he said. "Only time will tell, after it rolls out, but it looks like they have a really good master plan in place for security, crowd control and transportation and it really seems, at least as of today, that the local community is really supportive of it."

O'Brien said he's been impressed with the way the organizers have handled the planning for last year's concert and the upcoming festival. "I asked them for a few commitments, which was to run a first-class act like I knew they would, and to keep the community informed," he said.
"They've done both and the people who were there (the other night), although it was a very small crowd, certainly seemed pleased with what they heard about security and the access in and out of the area.

"The organizers are committed to doing a good job. They want to find a permanent home for this festival. I have full confidence that they'll take care of everything." He said it's going to be a great time for music-lovers, and it should also provided a significant boost to the local economy.

Tickets for the July 31 festival are available at

To read the full article, please click on the following link:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Use of City Trail System Spikes In Week Following Bridge Closure

The number of cyclists and pedestrians using the City’s Trail Visitor centre between 4-6 p.m. in the week following the closure of the Princess Margaret Bridge was significantly higher when compared to the week before the bridge closure.

“We counted the number of bicyclists and pedestrians as they passed by the Visitor centre as a way of sampling residents’ use of recommended alternative forms of commuting during the bridge closure,” said City of Fredericton Recreation Officer Kathryn Baird. “The number of cyclists increased by 125 per cent and the number of walkers went up 28 per cent from one week to the next.”

The use of the City’s trail system by cyclists and pedestrians is one of the reasons why traffic congestion on the Westmorland Street Bridge has been lower than anticipated during construction on the Princess Margaret Bridge. The City’s introduction of Park & Go and Park & Ride locations as well as car-pooling, adjusted work schedules and use of City Transit also are contributing to easing potential traffic delays in the City’s core.

Also, more than 4,000 alternative commutes have been logged in Freddy’s Commuter Challenge by more than 350 active participants. Freddy’s Commuter Challenge is hosted by the City of Fredericton through its in motion strategy and Green Matters campaign in partnership with the Government of New Brunswick, UNB and other major employers in the City.

Monday, July 19, 2010

City Donates Bicycles to Community Agencies, Volunteer Groups

The City of Fredericton has once again donated unclaimed lost, stolen or abandoned bicycles to community agencies and volunteer groups for use by at-risk youth, the disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens.

This year’s beneficiaries of the City’s Bikes for the Community program include: Fredericton Youth Residential Services; Christ Church Cathedral Outreach; the Fredericton John Howard Society; Fredericton Boy’s and Girl’s Club; and Doone Street/Wilson Row Tenants Association.

Created in 2007, the Bikes for the Community Program provides unclaimed, lost and found bicycles to community agencies and volunteer groups to distribute to their clients for recreational, transportation and social opportunities.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Revised Patrol Car Design Features Traditional Look Favoured by Officers Fredericton (July 14, 2010)

Police Chief Barry MacKnight announced today that new patrol cars will feature the instantly recognizable black and white colour scheme favoured by the overwhelming majority of the City’s police officers.
“Last year, we asked the public to help us come up with the design for our new police vehicles and this black and white design was on the short-list,” said Chief MacKnight. “During a review of the basic white with blue and green trim design we initially selected, we discovered most of our officers strongly preferred the retro look of this black and white design and we have accepted their recommendation.”
Chief MacKnight said the design speaks to the traditional values and professionalism of the Fredericton Police Force. The car is basic black with white doors. It features the Fredericton Police Force crest and the City of Fredericton logo.
I’d like to thank all the people who took the time to send us their design suggestions and everyone who assisted in the selection process,” said Chief MacKnight.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Province of NB Provides Additonal Funding to Fredericton Project

The provincial government is providing an additional investment in support of the Grant-Harvey Recreational Complex under construction in Fredericton.
(L to R: Minister Rick Miles, Coun Tony Whalen, Minister Greg Byrne, Premier Shawn Graham, Mayor Brad Woodside, me)

Premier Shawn Graham, Finance Minister Greg Byrne, Environment Minister Rick Miles, Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside and City Councillor Mike O'Brien participated in the announcement today at the construction site for the complex.

"Our government is pleased to be making an additional investment in this important recreational project for Fredericton," said Graham. "Ensuring that we have good recreational facilities will help improve the quality of life for city and area residents, strengthen our communities, and help us keep more of our young people home."

The provincial government is providing an additional investment of $2.5 million for the complex, situated on a (18-ha) 45-acre site on Knowledge Park Drive near the intersection of the Vanier Highway and Kimble Drive. This is in addition to the $1-million investment announced in 2006 under the Canada-New Brunswick Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund.

The complex will feature an arena, an artificial turf field and a six-court indoor tennis facility.

"Building recreational infrastructure as impressive as the Grant-Harvey Centre is made possible through partnerships like the one we are celebrating today with the Province of New Brunswick," said Woodside. "This regional sport hub will benefit Fredericton and the surrounding region for many years to come, contributing to the health and wellness of our community."

The Grant Harvey Recreational Complex arena will feature an Olympic-size ice surface, an NHL-size ice surface, a three-lane walking/running track, a community event room and multi-purpose meeting room and full kitchen facilities. The new artificial turf field and two acre "dog park" are to be constructed next to the arena, with plans for an indoor six-court tennis facility on site.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fredericton Appoints New Manager of Legislated Services / City Clerk
(June 14, 2010)
Brenda Knight has joined the City of Fredericton as the new Manager of Legislated Services / City Clerk. Fredericton City Council made the appointment at their June 14 regular Council meeting.This new position assumes all functions previously held by the City Clerk, with additional responsibilities for the Official Languages Act and the Right to information and Privacy Act. The position reports to the Office of the City Administrator.

Ms. Knight has over 24 years of local government experience. She is a former Acting Town Manager, Secretary/Treasurer for the Town of Nackawic. She spent 11 years as the Assistant Town Clerk in Oromocto and a number of years as the CAO of the Town of St. Stephen. Since 2005, Brenda has been with the Province of New Brunswick as a Municipal Advisory Officer.

In addition to her work, Ms. Knight has been an active volunteer serving as the President of the Association of Municipal Administrators of New Brunswick (AMANB) from 2000-2002 and as the Province’s representative on the AMANB Board of Directors, Education Committee and the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick/AMNB Conflict resolution committee. She is also a member of IPAC Fredericton and the Atlantic Municipal Advisors Committee.
Council Adds St. John River to Local Historic Places Register (July 28, 2010)

The section of the St. John River granted to the City of Fredericton by Queen Victoria in 1848 was added to the City’s Local Historic Places Register during a meeting of City Council here today.

The 1848 Act of Incorporation granted the City the portion of the St. John River bed bounded by the eastern and western City limits, including the Nashwaak River, and extends from the south shore to the high water mark on the northern bank.
This designation acknowledges its importance to not only Fredericton’s past but also its present and future. It’s a beautiful river and one of Fredericton’s greatest assets.Its historic association with First Nations people and the role it played in facilitating settlement of this area make it a suitable candidate for inclusion in the Register.

In fact, the river was called the Wolastoq or “beautiful river” by the First Nations people who settled along its banks, long before Samuel de Champlain discovered its mouth on June 24, 1604 and renamed it after St. John the Baptist, on the occasion of the Saint’s feast. The presence of the “people of the beautiful river” endured even in the midst of French, British, and American colonization efforts.

A fur trading post was established on the site of Fort Nashwaak in 1765 and another across the river at near the present-day site of Government House, paving the way for the arrival of the Loyalists in 1783. The river soon became a hub of activity bringing passengers and supplies to the area. River boats plied the waterway between Saint John and Fredericton, and ferry boats connected Fredericton to the opposite shore.

The dependence on the river spawned a local shipbuilding industry that continued into the 1870s and 1880s. The river was also a source of domestic water consumption until the City switched to ground water in 1955.

The age of ferry service came to an end with the completion of a highway bridge in 1885 which revolutionized travel and communication by providing free and year-round passenger traffic across the River. Three years later, Fredericton’s first railway bridge was completed. The first highway bridge, also known as the Carleton Street Bridge, has been replaced by the Westmorland Street Bridge. The Princess Margaret Bridge also spans the St. John River while all that remains of the Carleton Street Bridge are the granite piers.

The Local Historic Places Register is a list of places deemed to be of local historical significance. It was established as a result of a Federal Government Program called the “Historic Places Initiative” and designed to raise awareness of historic places and encourage conservation.