City of Fredericton officials said they’ve received all the required final heritage and archaeological approvals and permits from the province to complete the next phase of Officers’ Square revitalization project this fall.
“There’s been a very intensive heritage review by the province and approvals will allow the city to get on with improving the condition of Officers’ Square,” said Ken Forrest, the city’s director of planning and development.
“It’s an important National Historic Site, a precious asset and our most important public gathering space. And it’s in a very poor state,” he added.
The revitalization project was announced last year, with the city planning to develop a concert venue at the site. The revitalization plan would involve removing cast-iron fencing, mature trees and a statue of Lord Beaverbrook.
The next phase of the project, which was approved, focuses largely on completing work started last year at the perimeter of the Square, and preparing the site for future phases of work.
The city said the Officers’ Square plan was also revised in November 2018 to protect all the large mature trees in the Square.
“It’s taken a lot of painstakingly detailed discussion, but everyone should now feel confident that the city’s revised plan for the Square fully respects and celebrates the important heritage of the Square and ensures it will be available for the next generation,” said Forrest.
This fall, the city said it will focus on re-establishing the crumbling and unstable perimeter wall that runs along Queen Street and acts as a retaining wall for the street.
When completed, the wall will be capped with cut sandstone capstones and black fencing that matches the current ornamental fence. It will also provide better public safety protection, according to the city.
This year’s work will also include removing the existing sandstone capstones and establishing new entrance stairs and accessible entrance.
WATCH: The City of Fredericton plans to develop a concert venue at Officers’ Square. Local historians are lobbying to preserve the site.
The monument to the 104th Regiment will be temporarily removed during construction and will be re-established in a prominent location at the entrance to the Square.
In addition, the Lord Beaverbrook statue will be relocated to a new home at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in a garden area that will include the return of the historic Robbie Burns statue and the Three Muses fountain.
The city said that this next phase of work follows the revised Officers’ Square plan passed by Council last November that protects all the major mature trees in the Square.
However, it will remove 11 smaller trees from Officers’ Square and the area just outside the Square. Following this work, no other trees will be removed.
The city plans to plant 28 new trees on the site as part of the completed revitalization project.
To ensure the protection of any undiscovered aboriginal archaeological assets, the city has also agreed with the Province of New Brunswick that First Nations consultations will take place before any underground digging takes place in any areas of the Square that have not been previously disturbed.
According to the city, this phase of work is anticipated to begin next summer.