Historians in Fredericton are urging the city to reconsider plans to modernize Officers’ Square.
The national and provincial historic site located in downtown Fredericton is a place where locals and tourists can hang out, ice skate and attend events such as Harvest Fest.
“It also has over 6,000 years of an Indigenous habitation, the loyalists, the British and the Acadians all settled there,” said Beth Biggs, a member of Save Officers’ Square.
The city plans to develop a concert venue at the site. That revitalization would involve removing cast iron fencing, mature trees and a statue of Lord Beaverbrook.
Heritage Trust, a historic group, says a petition signed by 10,000-plus people in addition to significant campaign efforts were launched to encourage the City of Fredericton to conserve what they deem cultural assets in the national historic site.
The group says the city is ignoring its responsibilities in protecting Officers’ Square, saying they lack a heritage management plan.
“The city needs to put together a group of experts of people with experience, people from the community, people from business from all sectors from the Indigenous People and they need to come together and get a solid plan on how to move forward,” said Biggs.
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The group, along with local and provincial politicians, met at Charlotte Street Arts Centre Auditorium to try and preserve the site and halt scheduled construction.
“The minister Robert Gauvin has a decision to make as to whether or not he (is) going to agree to alter any of those characteristics that gave it its heritage value in the first place,” said David Coon NB Green Party Leader.
Biggs says citizens must safeguard Fredericton’s storied history and hometown atmosphere to ensure historic sites are protected for future generations to enjoy.
“Once that past is erased, it’s gone. It’s gone from our hearts and our being,” said Biggs.