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Fredericton resident plans protest against city’s plan to cut down more than a dozen trees

Click to play video 'Trees to be cut down ahead of Fredericton construction season' Trees to be cut down ahead of Fredericton construction season
WATCH: As construction season is ramps up in Fredericton, the city is getting ready to cut down more than a dozen trees in Officer's Square. Adrienne South has more.

In a city once known as the “City of Stately Elms,” residents are upset that more than a dozen trees in Officers’ Square will be coming down.

As a result, Fredericton resident Christy Rust created a Facebook page called ‘Save the Elm Trees at Officers’ Square’ this week, that now has close to 500 members.

Rust said she’s planning a “peaceful protest” with hopes of changing the city’s plans.

“I’d just like to gain some support on Saturday from the community just to show that there’s other people out there that are concerned for nature and the historic significance of these trees. Again, they’ve been here close to 200 years,” Rust said.

The City of Fredericton posted on social media this week that the trees need to be removed as part of the upcoming replacement of the “failing Officers’ Square retaining wall along Pointe Sainte Anne Blvd.”

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The post also states they intend to raise the lawn area of Officers’ Square, as some of the city’s revitalization plan will also impact trees.

“The replacement and strengthening of the wall will coincide with roadwork along the boulevard. The city has investigated various options to keep the trees, but the impact of the construction work on the tree root structure will be too great,” city officials posted.

According to the social media post, the overall plan for the square calls for more trees to be planted than are currently there — including elms and shrubs.

Global News reached out to city staff several times this week and did not receive a reponse.

Rust said it’s great new trees will planted, but she wonders if there’s a better way that wouldn’t involve cutting down older trees.

“I just hoped our smart engineers could come up with maybe a better plan, a different plan to work with the trees instead of just removing [the trees],” Rust said.
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Rust believes it’s an important issue discuss, and while she knows the rally may not stop the trees from being cut down, she feels she had to do something.

Posters have started popping up around the Square, but Rust said they aren’t her doing.

“I’ve had probably hundreds of people [who] have connected with me, most of them strangers, to show their support and say they’re going to attend, so it would be nice [if there is a big turnout],” Rust said.

Rust doesn’t know how many people will attend the rally, but she’s happy to at least show her children the importance of standing up for the environment.

“I guess in my heart-of-hearts, I hope that some of those 19 trees can be saved,” she said. “Maybe they can come up with a new idea, maybe they can look outside of our city. I’m sure we’re not the only city that has historic trees that they have to work with,” Rust said.

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The rally will take place at Officers’ Square Saturday, May 25 at 3 p.m.