N.B. resident urges Fredericton city council to consider single-detached homes in development plans

Click to play video: 'Fredericton renter worried about home buying amid new developments'
Fredericton renter worried about home buying amid new developments
WATCH: A big section of Fredericton’s northside is poised for development. The area is likely to be rezoned for apartments as part of the city's growth strategy. But one renter worries those wanting to purchase a single detached home in the city could be left out in the quest for density. Nathalie Sturgeon has that story. – Feb 14, 2023

Brett Gibbons rents in Fredericton, but he’d like to own.

It’s a goal not easily achieved with sky-high housing prices and low stock in single-detached homes in many places, alongside low vacancy rates in other housing options.

On Feb. 13, Gibbons urged city council to consider building more housing stock for families looking to put down roots in a house instead of developing more high-rise rental units.

He lives in the area being rezoned by council on the north side.

“I do have some concerns in leaning more heavily into that multi-residental side of things and not offering single-detached dwelling options,” he told council.

He believes it means that young, prospective home buyers won’t have as many options within the city if it continues to build more apartments in a quest for density. The city has been reaching record levels of development in the past two years, surpassing $250 million in 2022.

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“I think that the current vision, again leaning very heavily on this high-density, multi-residental, apartment building complex zoning, is not going benefit young people who ultimately want to have home of their own to raise their families and live in Fredericton,” Gibbons said.

There is heavy development on a new street off of Cliff, known as Cuffman Street. About 11.5 hectares is being rezoned for D.P. Development Ltd. A new public school and a Shannex facility are already being built on the street.

According to reports, the proponent is tentatively planning to sell plots of land to developers to build what housing of their choice, and there is no subdivision plan submitted to council yet.

Marcelo Battilana, a planner with the City of Fredericton, said the area’s development is critical in a vision the city has to build multi-residential buildings close to schools, stores and different amenities — commonly known as a walkable city.

Brent Gibbons rents in the area that is being developed, but wants to own a single-detached home, which he says is hard to come by these days with his prices and low stock. Nathalie Sturgeon / Global News

The area has three schools already, including Leo Hayes High School, Gibson Neill Memorial and École Les Éclaireurs.

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Willie O’Ree Place is directly across from Cuffman Street and there is a small retail centre being developed about half a kilometre up the road.

Cliff Street and the surrounding area is one of four locations in the growth strategy. The area’s development pre-dates that strategy by about 20 years when it established the street networks, but Battilana said it only serves to further align the areas with the need for density.

“Now, we have the benefit of other documents, like the new municipal plan and the growth strategy, that now identifies this area as one of the core development nodes in the city. So all those plans, all that work is coming together now,” he said.

Back in November 2021, when the province announced it would be placing a school in the area, Battilana said “the province was quite clear, as was the planning department, to make sure this was more an urban school.”

He believes the city is ahead of the growth curve, and continues to be with this new rezoning.

“Put density and people in the right places with the right amenities and with the right types of buildings,” he said. “You see that unfolding with this application.”

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