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Old Posted Jul 12, 2007, 12:31 PM
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Work begins on new Waterloo Row water treatment plant
Out with the old | First phase of project expected to cost $2 million; plant to be commissioned in 2008

Published Thursday July 12th, 2007
Appeared on page A4

City water and sewer crews are demolishing the former Waterloo Row service station as part of the preliminary site preparation work for a new water treatment plant.

"We'll go to tender soon with a site works package to develop the site," said Bruce Baird, assistant director of engineering and public works.

A second contract will be issued by late summer or early fall for the construction of the building, Baird said.

The city purchased the property for $285,000 from its owners because of its proximity to its new well field in the downtown west end.

The first phase of the project in 2007 is expected to cost $2 million and the city will use a red-brick finish on its exterior, hoping to mimic the heritage of its historic water treatment plant at the foot of Smythe Street.

The city hopes to commission brick-laying work before the winter.

Installation of equipment and the commission of the plant have a 2008 deadline.

ADI Ltd. designed the proposed 1,130-square-metre facility and Daniel K. Glenn Ltd. will do the landscape design.

Heritage Trust and Waterloo Row-area neighbours of the development had mixed feelings about the plan.

At a May public meeting, Heritage Trust members weren't thrilled with the design.

A few residents said a water treatment plant is an industrial structure that doesn't fit a residential neighbourhood.

Others wanted the former service-station property turned into a park, while some residents said the city should have bargained with the University of New Brunswick to redevelop part of UNB's University Avenue parking lot for the treatment plant.

The city has countered that the former service-station site is the best location due to its proximity to wells that supply Fredericton's drinking water and that it has chosen a heritage-style design for the development.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2007, 12:39 PM
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Money designated to clean northside wetland
Published Monday July 16th, 2007
Appeared on page A4

President of Business Fredericton North Anne Baldaro says she's excited to mark the beginning of an investment to restore a wetland in the heart of her organization's business improvement area.

"It's a great opportunity for our businesses because there will be more walking traffic," she said. "It could potentially be a destination for tourists and our local residents who are interested in wetlands and nature. And it's an extension of the trail system."

The Environmental Trust Fund and the City of Fredericton have teamed up with Business Fredericton North to improve the area around the wetland, which covers the area from the Snow Storage Facility to the Superstore area, and from the river to the back of Hillcourt.

The University of New Brunswick and Ducks Unlimited are additional partners in the project.

A minimum of $60,000 will be invested in two separate projects on the city's north side.

The first project, which will cost a minimum of $50,000, will restore the wetland.

The project will also involve new trails, interpretive signs, tree planting, a boardwalk, nesting platforms and more.

Business Fredericton North will also invest a minimum $10,000 for the second project to beautify the streets.

Currently, Business Fredericton North funds all the planters that decorate the business improvement area.

"I would think that our businesses will be extremely pleased," Baldaro said. "And certainly there may be an opportunity that we can draw more business to that area."

Baldaro said the improvement won't only benefit businesses.

"For our schools, it's an opportunity for an outdoor classroom," she said. "And because we're extending the trail down to where the old Nashwaaksis arena was, it's a great opportunity to park up and walk in through that way as well."

Trina MacDonald, general manager of Business Fredericton North, said this project will help the north side attract tourists.

"Right now, we're lacking a tourism node on the north side," MacDonald said. "This is an opportunity to create at least one tourism node on the north side which will integrate with the trail system.

"So now when tourists are in the downtown, going to all of the things happening at the Garrison District, it'll give them a reason when they are crossing the train bridge to make their way down to the Main Street area and have a look at what is going on there."

Already, Business Fredericton North has cleaned up the wetland area.

MacDonald said people were using it as a dumping site.

They retrieved nearly 400 tires from the wetland.

Some of the improvements should be complete by the end of the summer.

MacDonald said she anticipates the entire project being completed by next year.
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 1:49 PM
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[Maybe it's just me, but I have no idea where this is. I was thinking one of those old lumber warehouses off Main Street near Shoppers Drug Mart, but haven't they all been converted into retail?]

[Never mind...looked it up...it's off Cityview Avenue...]

Northside business owner turns warehouse into music venue
Published Tuesday July 17th, 2007
Appeared on page A6

A local company is giving northsiders a reason to rock out.

Lloyd Merriam, owner of Musiplex, is renovating a large warehouse near his business and converting it into a state-of-the-art performing arts centre.

"It's going to give (Frederictonians) the best stage in the city, bar none, designed for live music," Merriam said.

"I think it will give the north side a facility that they currently don't have. A lot of our patrons are northsiders. And in general, it'll give the music community and the arts community a resource."

Merriam said the facility will be used for more than music.

It can also be used for comedy shows, hypnotists, dance companies or theatre companies.

He said the project has been in the works for four years.

"It has always been our intention to open an event centre," he said.

"We wanted a facility that is complementary to the rest of our activities at Musiplex.

"We have an active school. One of the uses of the event centre will be to showcase our students with recitals and various things related to school functions. It was a natural next step from that."

The venue will open in two phases.

Merriam said the first phase should be ready to open by August once it has received proper permits from the city. The second phase should be ready by October or November.

When renovations are complete, the venue will hold approximately 700 people.

Merriam said he hopes his venue will be a part of the 2008 East Coast Music Awards that will be held in Fredericton.

"We will have probably one of the premiere venues in the province of New Brunswick," he said.

"It's a performance arts venue, and it was designed and equipped specifically for live performances. Certainly, it would be logical to be a major player in the ECMAs in 2008."

Tim Yerxa, chairman of the local organizing committee for the ECMA, said it's not too late for venues to get involved in the event.

"For the ECMA, venues are great," he said.

"The more venues that we have, and the better venues that we have in the city, then it's going to make for a better event all around."

James Boyle of Forward Music Group, a booking and management agency for local talent, said new venues could translate into more live shows for Fredericton.

"We're excited that there's more opening up, and it's definitely opening up a lot of doors," Boyle said.

"It's definitely an improvement. It's going to improve the music scene in some way. It's going to have a positive impact."

He said the venue will be great for the north side.
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Old Posted Jul 25, 2007, 11:42 AM
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City silences tree cutters' saws at residential development site
Published Wednesday July 25th, 2007
Appeared on page A4

Fredericton community services staff called an early halt to tree cutters starting to clear land off Union Street for a condominium project.

The city has notified the provincial Environment Department which confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating.

"They're aware of the situation," said Brian Cochrane, the city's superintendent of parks and trees.

The tree-trimming was nipped in the bud about three weeks ago. No big trees were felled, but a few upper branches had been cut.

"We found some guys cutting and we told them to stop and we notified Environment and Workplace Health and Safety," Cochrane said.

He said it's unclear if the workers were cutting on their own land or on city property, but the workers were advised to stop until the property boundaries are clarified.

"They were getting a little too close to the edge," Cochrane said.

The workers did comply, he added.

The city's riverfront walking pathway separates part of the property from the riverbank. The city doesn't want to see mature trees on its property damaged or cut, although a landowner is free to clear his or her own property for construction.

Until a site comes to the concrete-pouring stage, no building permit is required to grade or clear surface land.

The Union Street site will be developed into a five-storey condominium development by local businessmen Marx Miles, John Kileel and partner Greenarm Management.

Neither Miles, nor Kileel responded to messages left for them Tuesday.

Coun. Norah Davidson-Wright said she hadn't heard about any inappropriate tree-clearing, but will monitor the situation.

The property under redevelopment was once owned by Forbes and Sloat Construction and is located east of the Jean Coutu on Union Street on the river side of the street.

A couple of years ago, the city and Environment Department were too late to spare mature trees along the riverbank that were chopped down in front of River City townhouse development.

The townhouses have south-facing windows with garages facing the backyards of Dairy Queen and Tim Hortons outlets on Union Street.

Miles said the trees were cut in error by a contractor working at the site.
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Old Posted Jul 27, 2007, 1:01 PM
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City still in talks to buy York House
Let's make a deal | City councillors voted in June to purchase historic 114-year-old building
Published Friday July 27th, 2007
Appeared on page A4

Talks between the City of Fredericton and Brunswick Street Baptist Church representatives are ongoing, but there's still no definitive word on a city proposal to buy the historic York House structure.

"Things are positive. Meetings are still going on, but it's a complex issue," said Mayor Brad Woodside.

City councillors voted unanimously in June to purchase the 114-year-old brick building designed by architect James C. Dumaresq, who was the designer of the provincial legislature.

History buffs and the city see the structure as valuable to the local heritage inventory.

But the church needs space for expansion, and renovating the building still wouldn't meet the religious group's needs, a church spokesman has said.

The building stands alone on the property, separated from the main church structure by a parking lot.

The church wants to demolish the building and start fresh.

City officials have been trying to act as a land-assembly facilitator in order to create a redevelopment package that would allow the church to meet its goals and spare York House from the wrecker's ball.

"We have the blessing of the congregation to give it the best shot we can to bring about a solution everyone can be happy with," Woodside said.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2007, 4:09 PM
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[Another new hotel? I thought tourism was down lately...]

90-room hotel to cozy up on Bishop Drive
Published Saturday July 28th, 2007
Appeared on page A7

Construction has started on a new 90-room, four-storey hotel in Fredericton.

Best Western is opening a location at 333 Bishop Dr. A building permit for the project was issued mid-July and site work has started.

Saulnier Management of Tracadie-Sheila is the general contractor for the development.

Best Western International Inc. is the world's largest hotel brand. It has more than 4,200 hotels in 80 countries.

The hotel chain was founded in 1946. It has four locations in New Brunswick, including hotels in Dalhousie, Grand Falls, Moncton and Woodstock.

A spokesperson for the hotel chain could not be reached Friday for comment on the project.
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Old Posted Aug 7, 2007, 11:44 AM
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[I think Crombie Properties will realize their mistake this winter when people have to walk outside when it's -30...they say "you spend less time waling in the elements", but in the old mall, you spent no time walking in the elements...]

Fredericton Mall reshapes image for big-box shopping
Published Tuesday August 7th, 2007
Appeared on page A3

It's a work in progress, but Fredericton Mall's reshaped image as what the industry dubs a "power centre" is in full swing.

The mall is eliminating its interior corridors and giving merchants more space to allow them to develop their parking lot-facing storefronts into a big-box store style.

Mall manager Ryck Bourgette said the latest round of construction is preparing room for a co-ed fitness facility that will be next to Zellers.

The 2,160-square-metre gym should be open by the fall, Bourgette said.

Redevelopment of a larger space for Staples is continuing, with the office supply store slated to relocate next door to Pets Unlimited.

Once Staples settles into its new digs, its old location, which juts out into the parking lot, will be demolished and shaved back to create a uniform mall front.

Moore's men's clothing store will remain where it is, but will be redesigning its store interior.

"They'll continue to remain open, but they're going to stay the same size with a new store look," Bourgette said.

Music World, an existing tenant in the interior of the mall, will move into its new premises this fall, with its storefront facing the parking lot.

"We have two other tenants that are signed and ready to go. Both (are) ladies fashion tenants," the mall manager said.

The new stores will be 450-square-metres each.

Reitmans will be one of the fashion shops. Addition Elle will be the second ladies wear retailer, specializing in plus-size clothing for women.

Both stores will be ready for fall openings.

They'll be located alongside Moore's in the former Royal Bank location. Music World will be next in the lineup of retailers.

The Royal Bank is slated to move into a new mini-strip mall built where the New Brunswick Liquor Commission outlet once sat next door to Future Shop.

The bank is scheduled to move Aug. 24. Royal Bank insurance services will be the second tenant in the three-unit mini-mall.

Bourgette said negotiations are ongoing with a third tenant for that development on the mall property.

By eliminating the mall's interior common areas -- which are paid for on a cost-shared basis by mall tenants -- rents are reduced and the retailer gets the larger space they're looking for.

"Once you realize what's available to you and the potential for each of these tenants, there are a lot of retailers out there looking for this kind of environment," Bourgette said.

"The best part of all of this is that the parking is ample."

The advantage for customers is that they can park closest to their destination store and spend less time walking out in the elements.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2007, 4:38 PM
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City housing market still has legs after years of rapid development
Published Friday August 10th, 2007
Appeared on page A1

OTTAWA - Fredericton's housing market is still going strong, after nearly a decade of unprecedented growth.

New housing starts were up last month from the same time last year, jumping to 58 units from 48 units in July 2006.

The city's multiple-unit starts have cooled dramatically, down from 70 units last July to only two units last month.

But Alex Forbes, assistant director with the city's development services department, said the slowdown in apartment and condo units being built is a reflection of years of strong growth -- not a floundering market.

"We knew we could not continue to bring on an unprecedented number of units," he said. "We're now in a natural state of vacancy that everyone can live with."

He said single-family dwellings increased this year, up to 130 units being built compared to 117 during the same period last year.

Apartment units have also cooled year to date, with only 78 units being built this year down from 169 units over the same period last year.

Canadian Mortgage and Housing spokesman Claude Gautreau said this cooling is part of a natural cycle after a period of rapid growth.

"If we go back three or four years there was fairly heavy construction and because so much was built, it's sprinted ahead of demand," he said.

"It's nothing uncommon; it's likely just a situation where the amount of product was probably a little more than the actual demand was."

The construction of townhouses in the capital city is growing. Forbes said he's seen an influx in townhouse growth, although building figures from last year are not available.

"It's a market that's not slowing down," he said.

Gautreau said the resale market in Fredericton is steady, with many residents searching for cost-saving options when it comes to buying a home.

The cost of a new home in Fredericton averages $211,157, while the cost of an existing home averages $146,794 -- a significant difference for first-time buyers or homeowners looking to downgrade.

"The cost of owning a home is pushing people to enter into more innovative areas of the market," said Forbes.
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Old Posted Aug 11, 2007, 4:32 PM
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Business is booming on the Northside
New Wal-Mart, new Canadian Tire, new YMCA... the other side of the river is really growing.

Clarissa Andersen
Published Thursday August 9th, 2007

The scenic beauty of Fredericton, the picture perfect capital of the Picture Province, is a breathtaking site with its charming downtown area, historic buildings, and manicured greenery.

While Fredericton has maintained the allure of being a close-knit community, over the last few years it's evident that this city, divided by the great St. John River, is moving forward full speed ahead.

Although development plans have seen both sides of Fredericton expand, the Northside of the city has grown faster than many people can keep up with, especially those who move away and return only for occasional visits.

"Everybody is noticing it. It is pretty obvious isn't it?" said Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside. "When the decision was made to build the multi-use sport complexes, one on the Northside and one on the Southside, [we said] the facilities would spur on growth and the growth on the north side has been nothing short of phenomenal." While the city Fredericton, with both the North and South side combined, works as a whole, anyone who has lived there can attest the sparkling waters of the vast St. John River often create a feeling of division. There seems to be a force emanating from the waters, creating a mindset that keeps people on their selected side.

Although the drive from one side to the other isn't the trek it is often made out to be, many people view the river as an invisible barrier: Northsiders only passing over for work, school and shopping, and Southsiders finding no reason to venture over at all. Especially since the once famous "Toonie Theatre" has evolved into a call centre, and the most permanent stores in the Brookside Mall are the ones painted on the walls.

But the persistent growth swelling on the Northside of this magnificent city could create a flood of reasons for residents to travel to both sides of the river.

"The interesting thing about the city, which I'm extremely pleased with, is that we're having a real balanced development which is important. It doesn't make a great deal of sense to have everything all in one place," said Woodside. "I think there is a pride in the community that we are moving ahead, that we are growing, without differentiating between Northside and Southside residents, there's a good feeling in the city of Fredericton." Noticing the need to build evenly, plans came to fruition with the new Northside YMCA fitness complex, which Northsiders have welcomed.

"We're right in an area that is going to be all built up in the next few years. [It] is very central and everything is going up around it. We're really happy, we have lots of new programs on the go, and it has been really great. I think it was needed for sure," said Margaret Scott, one of the managers at the new Northside Wellness Centre.

As Woodside predicted, upon completion of the sports complex other businesses followed. There's Wal-Mart, a new Canadian Tire being built, and Kent Building Supplies and a government office building are on the way. Even Frank's Finer Diner has moved its neon and pies to an area of the north side that many say will rival Prospect Street in the next 20 years.

"It has huge growth potential. There will end up being a large cluster there and as I've said all along, it wouldn't surprise me if somebody comes out and wants to build a hotel," said Woodside.

While the many phases of development have seen commercial businesses being pulled to the Northside of the great river, the dollars have also been flowing through the personal real estate market, and now more people are living in this area of the city than on the south side.

"A lot of people that I talk to really like the Northside. I've got a new family relocating from Saint John who really wants to stick [to this area] because it seems more family-oriented," said David Watt, a real estate agent with Exit Realty.

"It's an up and coming spot, people love the Northside, definitely." While the family friendly vibe that many of the neighbourhoods and subdivisions of the Northside give off is attractive, the rapid growth areas are another reason people seek homes on the Northside.

"It was funny, when I went to high school, nobody came to the north side, there was no need to. But now that there's a second high school, a new Wal-Mart, a new golf course coming in, Main Street is really being brought up, people are really finding that, wow, the Northside is just as good as the South," said Watt.

Watt, unlike his fellow Northsider Woodside, believes the Northside expansion will accentuate the invisible barrier the winding St. John River seems to create.

"I think [development] is making both sides of the river self-sufficient. One of the big things about going to the south side from the North- side was Regent Mall and Fredericton Mall. But with the new Wal-Mart and the other big box stores that are going to go up in the next few years, it will create quite a divide in the city of Fredericton," said Watt.

While Scott thinks likes Watt, "I say why go to the Southside if you can do everything on the Northside... everything I need is right here," there are still others who agree with the mayor.

"It'll probably bring everyone closer," said Monica Bottos, a Southside resident who works in the tourism industry.

Whether or not the Northside expansion will dissolve any division amongst the ranks, or whether the invisible force shield will continue to contain each resident to their side, it's obvious that those who live in Fredericton are proud to call it home.

"The Fredericton North and the Fredericton South issue is really a moot point," said Woodside. "This is a pretty united community. There is still a lot of pride in where people live.

"But we're all from Fredericton and that is the way I'd like to keep it."
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Old Posted Aug 14, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Contract awarded to begin site preparation work at new southside water treatment plant

Published Tuesday August 14th, 2007
Appeared on page A5

Charmac Construction Co. Ltd. was the low bidder to win a contract to do the site preparation work and build a base for a new water treatment plant on Waterloo Row.

The former Waterloo Row Esso will be replaced by a city-owned facility to treat water pumped out of three new well fields in the city's downtown east end.

Charmac's $316,069 contract will have the company build a sub-base for the driveway and walking area, install fill to create the proper grade for the building foundation, preliminary landscaping and hydro-seeding.

It has to finish its work before the end of September.

Coun. Cathy MacLaggan, who represents the area where the plant will be located, has been working with her constituents to ensure the 1,130-square-metre facility designed by ADI Ltd. of Fredericton meets appropriate heritage-design standards.

During public information sessions about the project, Fredericton Heritage Trust voiced concerns about the building's design, as did neighbours living nearby.

The site is within the city's St. Anne's Point Heritage Preservation Area.

MacLaggan said the city's heritage preservation review board is asking for a number of cosmetic changes to the original plan, including a visual reduction to part of the roof, changes to some windows and approval of the building's sign.

"At the board review, the design was substantially improved," MacLaggan said. "I think people will be very favourably impressed with the design of the building."

The board has given tentative approval to allow site work to proceed, while architects draft the recommended design alterations.

"We are working on the specifications for the new building and we hope to award a tender for the construction of the building by the

middle of September," MacLaggan said.

"With this contract, we are moving another step closer to making this new water treatment plant a reality. This major capital project is coming together nicely," said Coun. Tony Whalen, chairman of the city's public safety and environment committee.

The city's engineering and public works department undertook the demolition and renovation of the old service station.

Council has awarded a contract worth $802,687 to California firm Pureflow Filtration Division to supply the filters and related equipment for the proposed plant.

More tenders will be called later this month for mechanical and electrical equipment.

The city has budgeted $2 million for the project.

Fredericton's water supply is derived entirely from drilled wells, but high levels of manganese and iron have to be removed and the water chlorinated before it is mixed into the rest of the city's drinking water supply.

The water supply is treated at the Smythe Street water treatment plant.

Record construction in Fredericton has pushed up demand for drinking water in the capital city.
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Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 12:21 PM
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[This is what happens when you build a big subdivision outside city limits for no apparent reason. It seems that there are way too many of these in the Maritimes but barely any in the rest of the country....]

Chateau Heights pumped for water funding
Deal | Birchwood Estates will also get cash for projects

Published Wednesday August 15th, 2007
Appeared on page A1

After seven years of hauling water from a Fredericton fire station, Wayne Flinn said he's excited about a new federal-provincial pledge to help sort out water woes at Chateau Heights

Residents of the community, just outside Fredericton city limits on the north side of the St. John River, learned Tuesday that their area will get $3 million out of $42 million in federal-provincial funding to find new sources of water.

The funding is part of $116 million in federal gasoline tax revenue transfers, plus a $30-million transfer of provincial gasoline tax revenues to top up the fund.

"It's good news. I am looking forward to seeing it happen," Flinn said. "As much as I'd like to see it happen immediately, it could still take time."

Chateau Heights was built in the mid-1970s.

Flinn's family moved into the development in 1977, but over the last few years he's had to haul water in a trailer he's rigged up, buying it from a Fredericton fire station and trucking it home to replenish his converted plumbing system.

He's not alone. As many as 450 other residents of the community are perched upon volcanic rock.

Regardless of rainfall, only a limited amount of water refills the subsurface aquifer.

A Chateau Heights water committee was formed years ago to begin the costly search for reliable water sources, but the community knew it needed federal-provincial help.

"There are two options being reviewed," said Daniel Lessard, spokesman for the provincial Department of Local Government.

"The first one is a well-water source and distribution specific to the area, a system of their own."

The other option is a connection to Fredericton's public water system, he said.

Lessard said meetings are being held between provincial and city officials to determine the option to be chosen.

There will also be meetings with residents, but no date has been set for those meetings, he said.

"The cost of the project is estimated at $3 million," said Lessard.

He said construction could start in the 2008-09 fiscal year if an agreement can be reached on an option.

Even with $3 million in funding, there are hurdles to overcome. The steepness of McLeod Hill Road means that even if the community could negotiate a water purchase from the City of Fredericton, it could take significantly more than $3 million to build the series of water booster stations to pump water up the hill.

The search for a well with high enough yields to serve the community hasn't yet been successful.

Bruce Baird, Fredericton's assistant director of engineering and public works, said the city hasn't yet been approached by community or government officials regarding the funding announcement.

"I have been discussing the issue with (Liberal) Minister (T.J.) Burke in the riding," said Coun. Bruce Grandy. "We (the city) don't provide water to outside areas for development, but we're more than willing to listen to what the government is proposing."

Grandy said he would like to see McLeod Hill residents within city limits access water supply and sees room to talk about a partnership.

"They have some more work to do," Grandy said. "It's an issue that has to be dealt with, and as a city councillor trying to get services into McLeod Hill eventually, I'd like to at least listen to the government to see what they have to say and discuss."

Birchwood Estates subdivision in the Hanwell local service district is another beneficiary of the new federal-provincial program.

It will get $1 million over five years to repair its water distribution system to improve water quality. No date is set for the water system upgrade in the subdivision, where residents are on a shared well-water system.

York Tory MLA Carl Urquhart said he's still digging out details of the funding.

Two years ago the community encountered water problems, but the water system has since been fixed.

"I know they had water problems because they're on a communal well. They were trying to re-establish a new water source. That had been looked after," Urquhart said.

Urquhart's understanding is the subdivision has a more pressing need for a sewage disposal system update.

Lessard said there is no specific date for the start of the Birchwood Estates project.

"There is no safety issue at this time," he said. "At this point, it is hard to estimate the timeframe. The next step is the assessment of the condition of the system to determine the need of the upgrade."

A total of 20 projects across New Brunswick will be funded by the $42-million federal-provincial agreement announced Tuesday.

In addition to water projects, the money will be spent on public transit, community energy systems and solid-waste management.

"This funding will address a number of immediate needs for infrastructure upgrades across the province and will better determine future infrastructure development through a series of engineering studies," said New Brunswick Local Government Minister Victor Boudreau in a press release.
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Old Posted Aug 16, 2007, 11:53 AM
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Neill family's farmland will be developed for housing

Published Thursday August 16th, 2007
Appeared on page A1

Historic Neill farm in Devon, which for generations was a family-run dairy operation, will be gradually developed for housing over the next eight years.

James Realty -- composed of partners Jim Davis, Jim Yerxa and Jim Martin -- has a development agreement with the family to transform the city's last piece of idyllic farmland into mixed-use housing.

Six hectares, or 15 acres, around the original family homestead, including the barns, is not scheduled for development, Martin told the city's planning advisory committee Wednesday night.

Ron and Albert Neill are fourth-generation descendents of the first Neill to emigrate to New Brunswick from Scotland in 1840, making their farm one of the oldest in the St. John River Valley.

While the two brothers have been loathe to call it quits to farming, the younger generation of Neills have pursued interests other than farming and the Neills are getting on in years.

The Neills in 2006 sold a right-of-way to the city to build a street across a portion of their land to provide access to the proposed fire station on Cliffe Street, but vowed to keep farming for as long as they could.

They've already donated nearly 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) of land for a city park and another five hectares (about 13 acres) will be used to create a storm water management pond, green space, cycling and walkways.

Martin said that leaves nearly 33 hectares (82 acres) of the family's 44-hectare (110-acre) farm available for creation of single-family housing, townhouses and other types of residential development.

The development will unfold in four phases, starting at Cliffe Street and progressing from west to east, Martin said.

The first phase will be 48 lots, mostly single-family residences, developed along an extension of Hillcrest Drive.

However, some of the land closer to Cliffe Street will be R-5 and R-6 zones, which allow for higher density uses such as townhouses or apartments.

The first phase is estimated to bring $15 million of new residential construction to the city.

Martin said construction will start this fall, with the first of 48 lots ready for sale by Jan. 15.

Barbara Blizzard of Forbes Street questioned the subdivision layout and what might end up behind her residential home, but assistant director of development services Alex Forbes said that end of the street will have single-family housing.

While that project was clear sailing for the planning advisory committee and goes forward to city council with a positive recommendation, another project was a bit more complex.

Planning advisory committee member Dan Koncz had to step aside from his duties to present a zoning plan of his own.

Koncz's company, Skyline Building Management Ltd., is purchasing an existing bachelor-style apartment building at 242 Regent St.

Developed a number of years ago by Frank Good, the property has a long record of ongoing legal issues and complaints related to building-code infractions.

Koncz purchased the building and plans to keep the property at 20 units, but bring it up to appropriate building codes.

"I want a safe building for my tenants," Koncz told the committee members.

The building has been the subject of a 15-year battle between the city and the previous owner.

Staff weren't going to support the project, but Coun. Marilyn Kerton said it's not fair to hold the past against a new developer.

"Our issues were with the previous owner," she said.

"He is somebody who wants to bring the property into conformity," agreed Coun. Bruce Grandy.

The number of units in the building will stay at 20, but will be reconfigured to meet National Building Code standards. The site has room for 11 cars, but should have parking stalls for 15.

The existing property has a parking shortfall, but since it's located downtown within walking distance to shops and a grocery store, committee member Zona Bovingdon said the parking deficiency shouldn't be a problem.

The building will have 18 bachelor units and two one-bedroom units.


[Some great unbiased reporting here....I guess if they had their way it would remain a vacant lot for all eternity....]

City annexes former Irving gas station land; now responsible for site cleanup
Decision | Irving says expropriation of one of the two sites on Cliffe Street not fair and unnecessary

Published Thursday August 16th, 2007
Appeared on page A4
The City of Fredericton will move to acquire two pieces of property on Cliffe Street that are owned by Irving companies.

The city and Irving Oil Ltd. clashed on one of the two proposed expropriations.

Both sides attended a hearing before the province's expropriations advisory officer John Larlee on the expropriation of 96 Cliffe St., a former service station site.

Irving Oil Ltd. argued the intended expropriation of its property would cause injurious affection as a result of the reduction in market value, that the expropriation wasn't fair and unnecessary, and that proceedings were initiated while negotiations were underway.

During the hearing, it was determined by a provincial expropriations advisory officer that the expropriation is necessary for the construction of a road system required once the northeast Westmorland Street Bridge ramp -- currently under construction -- is opened.

Irving Oil argued that since the property is a former gasoline station, it has a reasonable probability of contamination.

"There should be no distinction made between contamination cleanup costs and removal of structures or infrastructures," the company argued.

The company said it shouldn't have to be involved in property remediation for any site contamination once the city acquires the land because it then loses control over the method and costs of the cleanup.

Irving Oil argued the city should expropriate all the property on an as-is, where-is basis and become responsible for remediation of any contamination caused by the property's former use as a service station.

Larlee agreed and ruled that while the city's expropriation is fair and could proceed, he also agreed with Irving Oil that the city should acquire the entire property.

Larlee said the city will have to comply with applicable provincial legislation during the cleanup process.

Meanwhile, the city has served notice to Brunswick News Inc. of its intention to expropriate land at 74 Cliffe St.

The Irving-owned company has not filed an objection to the expropriation, but the two sides haven't been able to agree on a price.

The next step in the expropriation is for the city and company to await a final market value appraisal of the property from a third-party real estate appraiser.

Transportation committee chairman Coun. Mike O'Brien said both pieces of land are vital to the city's plan to reconfigure its street system in the Union and Cliffe streets area to accommodate traffic from the Westmorland Street Bridge ramp.
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Old Posted Aug 18, 2007, 8:18 PM
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Fredericton's commercial construction sector on the grow, says city official

Published Saturday August 18th, 2007
Appeared on page a8

It’s the year of commercial construction in New Brunswick’s capital city.

After several strong years of residential housing, and apartment and townhouse construction dominating the marketplace, Fredericton’s retail sector is rising to the top in 2007.

Development committee chairman Mike O’Brien will have a full mid-year review of the city’s development picture at Tuesday’s development committee meeting, but he said the city is posting a solid building season to date.

“Commercial and institutional permits are coming on line, which will keep the numbers strong. Businesses and residents alike are showing tremendous confidence in our market and in the city,” O’Brien said.

Business and commercial growth tends to follow population and with Fredericton’s population nudging beyond the 50,000 mark, commercial activity is picking up steam.

More jobs, in turn, bring more people and that recharges the residential sector in cyclical fashion, he said.

Fredericton ended 2006 with its best-ever construction performance at $137.4 million. Some of that recordsetting construction was driven by the city’s own construction agenda with the completion of the $16 million northside sports and leisure complex, construction of two new swimming pools and repairs to two others.

This year, O’Brien predicts the city will again break the $100 million mark.

“The way things are heading, it’s going to possibly be our second-best year ever, which is pretty phenomenal,” O’Brien said.

The outlook for 2008 is expected to be as strong as 2007, he added.

“Residents should take pride in what is happening in their city.

It is green, clean, safe and financially solid with a strong sense of its past, but the emphasis on growth,” he said.

Some of the commercial projects on tap for this year include the construction of a new Best Western hotel on Bishop Drive.

The building permit has already been issued for the $3.6-million hotel project.

The city will see the construction of a new Tim Horton’s coffee shop in the vicinity of the Home Depot site.

A new Kent home-improvement warehouse will be constructed on the north side of the St. John River at Wal- Mart’s Two Nations Crossing shopping mall site. Other development is brewing in the same area, including the possibility of a new Canadian Tire outlet combined with a Mark’s Works Wearhouse store. Mark’s is now part of the Canadian Tire family of companies.
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Group seeks O'Ree, Grant 'arenas'
Rinks | Council asked to consider names for two new sports complexes

Published Tuesday August 21st, 2007
Appeared on page A1

A group of citizens wants Fredericton's northside sports complex named for the local hockey player who broke the colour barrier.

Willie O'Ree, 71, was to hockey what Jackie Robinson was to baseball.

O'Ree was called up by the Boston Bruins on Jan. 18, 1958, to play his first NHL game against the Canadiens in Montreal -- the first black athlete to play in the NHL.

Fredericton lawyer David Hashey said Jan. 18, 2008, will mark the 50th anniversary of that momentous game and on Monday night, he and a delegation of citizens, asked city councillors to name the northside arena in O'Ree's honour.

The group also asked to come back to city councillors in two weeks with a second proposal, to name the southside sports complex -- currently in design -- after Danny Grant.

Grant, another native son, played NHL hockey for Montreal, Minnesota, Detroit and Los Angeles.

Grant won the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year and scored 50 goals in his 1974-1975 season during his stint with Detroit.

Grant ended his NHL career with 263 goals, 535 points and played in three all-star games.

Grant was later head coach at the University of New Brunswick and assistant coach at St. Thomas University.

Both men are worthy of naming honours, Hashey said.

In O'Ree's case, he was one of 13 children.

His father Harry O'Ree supported the family by working in the city's engineering department.

He lost the sight in his right eye at the age of 20 when he was hit in the face by a puck at a game in Guelph, Ont.

But O'Ree kept his injury a secret, turning pro in the 1956-57 season with the Quebec Aces of the Quebec Senior Hockey League under legendary coach Punch Imlach.

"We can't stress enough the obstacles he overcame to become the first black to play in the NHL," Hashey told council Monday night.

"We're hoping that you would get on side with us and see that the new complex is named after Willie O'Ree. That's what we're requesting tonight."

O'Ree works with the NHL as director of its hockey diversity task force, helping disadvantaged youth of all backgrounds.

David Sansom said honouring Grant also has the support of his group.

"Danny Grant, without question, is one of the most celebrated professional hockey players this city has ever produced," Sansom said.

"Danny's NHL statistics are legendary and his accomplishments many."

Most of all, Sansom said Grant has given back to his community by coaching at both the minor and

senior levels and through his commitment to sport fundraising.

The citizens group is hoping for a quick decision from city council because it wants to market the 50th anniversary of O'Ree's achievement as a milestone.

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside said it would be premature to

respond to the group's request since it has asked to return to council within two weeks with a more detailed presentation.

Woodside said the city has been investigating the possibility of selling naming rights to its arenas.

"This has been something that has been talked about for quite some time," Woodside said.

"I can tell you that the City of Fredericton certainly is and has been interested in corporate sponsorship to reduce any costs to the taxpayers.

"That being said, it does not mean it couldn't be the Willie O'Ree complex,'' said the mayor.

Woodside said he has asked city staff to prepare a report for council to review how the marketing of corporate naming rights has been

going and whether there is a possibility of sponsorships that would reduce the financial cost on taxpayers.

Construction of the two new hockey arenas in Fredericton and repairs to the Lady Beaverbrook Rink are expected to be close to the $40-million mark when all the building dust settles.
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Old Posted Aug 21, 2007, 7:46 PM
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Originally Posted by kirjtc2 View Post
Neill family's farmland will be developed for housing
Wow! I used to be good friends one of the Neill's (when we were kids) good times...that farm is so random...its like in the middle of a subdivision in Devon, I always thought it was the coolest thing ever
(CSD)------71,889---(1st)----------*Be Magically Transported to Downtown Moncton in Autumn*
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Old Posted Aug 22, 2007, 1:34 PM
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[So...will these new restaurants still be ready for Spring 2007 like the sign says? ]

No end in sight to city growth

Published Wednesday August 22nd, 2007
Appeared on page A1

After an idle spring, it looks as though the University of New Brunswick's Corbett Centre is going to start unfolding.

Building and foundation permits have been issued for two restaurants and two strip malls on the site, which is now home to Home Depot.

Development committee chairman Mike O'Brien said it's up to the university and its mall negotiator Trinity Developments to announce the names of the tenants.

"It's a pretty intricate process, very delicate to the public, to the university, to the city,'' said O'Brien. "There's been a lot of back and forth on the quality of the development and double-checking everything and making sure it's A-1 before it's introduced.''

A sign advertising the Corbett Centre identifies East Side Marios and Montana's steakhouse as site tenants.

The Daily Gleaner has also learned that the Regent Mall Tim Hortons, which has closed, will reopen at the Corbett Centre site.

Fredericton has already chalked up $18.7 million in commercial development to the end of July.

O'Brien said there are enough construction projects on the horizon to break the $100-million mark again this year.

"There's so much in the hopper that's going to be coming in over the next two or three months and especially over the next 12 months. Next year looks pretty rosy as well," O'Brien said after Tuesday's development committee meeting.

Last year, Fredericton posted its best construction season at $134.4 million.

The value to date of all types of construction in Fredericton is $60 million.

That's about $30 million behind last year's figures to the end of July, but there are major projects still in negotiations, including the possibility of starting a University of New Brunswick wellness centre.

The city has seen 260 residential starts, including 130 single-family homes, and 78 apartment units during the first half of 2007.

The municipal construction that fuelled Fredericton's 2006 season has dropped off.

The city spent nearly $18 million on projects of its own, including the first of two new hockey arenas, repairs to the Lady Beaverbrook Rink, and construction of two new outdoor swimming pools and repairs to two others.

There was more good news for the city as a trend toward construction outside its borders is dropping.

Fredericton's share of the regional construction market increased nine per cent to 49 per cent in 2007, while Oromocto captured 12 per cent of the housing market, New Maryland another one or two per cent, and unincorporated areas about 33 per cent.

It's the fourth year in a row that Fredericton has seen construction within its boundaries go up, said city planner Meredith Cooper.

The city's real estate market has seen 546 houses resold, with the average price of a single-detached dwelling jumping by $16,000.

Mayor Brad Woodside said a few years ago he predicted the capital city would be ready to fasten its seatbelt and enjoy the ride.

"The growth has been phenomenal," Woodside said.
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Site work at Kimble Drive school to begin in October
Published Thursday August 23rd, 2007
Appeared on page A3

Construction of a new middle school on Kimble Drive is expected to begin in October.

Bids are being accepted by the Department of Supply and Services for the construction of the school, which will replace the aging Albert Street Middle School.

Supply and Services Minister Roly MacIntyre said the new school is not expected to interfere with Kimble Drive Park or with traffic on Kimble Drive.

He said the new school is a positive change for Fredericton.

"Any time you're making a major change, there's always people who raise concerns, but we're getting more positive feedback than anything else," MacIntyre said.

"We seem to be through the phase of criticism and been past it for quite some time. We're getting a lot of support to do this project."

The tender for the construction was issued Wednesday and closes Sept. 21.

At that time, MacIntyre said the estimated cost of construction and the winning bid will be announced to the public.

The construction is considered a single-phase project, which means the tender will be for foundation work, structural steel framing, roofing, exterior walls, interior masonry walls, plumbing and electrical work, installation of air ventilation systems and controls, and fire protection systems.

The school, which will be 7,288 square metres, is being built on about eight hectares of land next to Kimble Drive Park.

The land was purchased for the purpose of a school in 1968.

In 1992, a licensing agreement was signed with the city for a playground and park area.

Over half of the property was kept for a school following the construction of Kimble Drive Park.

Although trees in the area will have to be cut to make room for the new school, MacIntyre said the park shouldn't be affected.

"I really haven't gotten into that aspect of how much it'll impact the park as far as the kids from the school using it, but it's not in our plans to do anything to it," MacIntyre said.

"Once you build a school adjacent to a park, you know the students are going to use it, but other than that, it shouldn't affect the park at all really."

Once built, the structure will include 20 classrooms, a computer lab, rooms for art, music, science and other technology, and physical education programs.

It will feature a large gymnasium and cafeteria, which will be designed to also function as an auditorium.

"One of the commitments made in our education plan is to create healthy and safe schools," said Education Minister Kelly Lamrock.

"The modern, state-of-the-art school that will be built on Kimble Drive is an example of that commitment."

MacIntyre said a company was hired by the department a few months ago to conduct a traffic impact study for the area of Kimble Drive.

The study, which was done in consultation with the city, indicated there would be no issues with school traffic and other traffic that moves along Kimble Drive.

"It shouldn't have any major impact, but we'll be doing things anyway to make sure it doesn't affect traffic," MacIntyre said.

"For example, parking space, busing lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks will be adjusted to accommodate the new school. We'll ensure pedestrian safety and be careful as work is done, so that it's not only a nice, new school, but also a safe location."

Jason Humphrey, a spokesman for the education department, said plans to name the school have not been finalized.

He said a naming committee made up of a member from the district's education council, the school board and the department will take submissions from the public when -- or shortly after -- the new school opens.

"How the naming committee takes submissions is totally open," Humphrey said.

"It could be anything from taking submissions from the community or having a school competition for the name. Either way, the community will be consulted."

As for the future of Albert Street Middle School, Humphrey said District 18 officials will have to declare the property surplus in 2009 before anything can be decided about the middle school.

Lamrock said the new school is scheduled to open in September 2009.
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City moves ahead with convention complex
Published Tuesday August 28th, 2007
Appeared on page A1

Fredericton city councillors have officially charted a course to build an $80-million downtown convention centre, parking garage and office building with underground parking.

And the message from New Brunswick's capital city was that Ottawa can either pay its $8 million and be in the front row for the ribbon-cutting ceremony ... or not.

The project will go ahead with or without the federal government's help, city councillors said Monday night.

"We are going to do the project,'' said Mayor Brad Woodside. "Components allow us to do it in its entirety and design it in its entirety.

"It's a great decision for the City of Fredericton, for the businesses here. It will prove to be the right decision in the long run.''

Councillors voted behind closed doors to endorse the project months ago, but Monday night they awarded ADI Group the contract to design, engineer and build the facility with a tentative construction start date of June 2008.

Two city councillors have cold feet about the deal's financing and one voted against granting ADI the concession to build the Queen Street convention centre.

City finance committee chairman Dan Keenan is concerned about the lack of a funding commitment from the federal government.

"This is certainly a development that will be very beneficial to the city. I'm very supportive of the concept of building the convention centre. I think it's going to be transformational in that area of the city," Keenan said.

But Fredericton is already committed to $80-million worth of pools, rinks and other infrastructure repair work, and that's a lot on the city's plate, Keenan said.

"One of the key components of that plan is the federal funding to offset the cost of the convention centre. For that reason and that reason solely, I will be voting against this resolution. I don't have the comfort level to move forward ... to a commitment to build the facility," Keenan said.

Coun. Tommy Jellinek didn't vote against starting the design work, but he made clear that he, too, is reluctant to go ahead without federal cash.

"I personally do have certain reservations in trying to build it without federal funds," Jellinek said.

Councillors Stephen Kelly and Walter Brown, however, are championing the plan.

"With or without federal funding, this project is seen by the public as the most important project probably in our downtown in a generation," Kelly said.

While Ottawa should be given every chance to sign onto the deal, its lack of financial commitment shouldn't kill it.

Brown said the development is essential to grow downtown business, gain new tax revenues and support existing downtown businesses.

"Successful cities come from vibrant cities with vibrant downtowns. You cannot have one without the other," Brown said.

It's time Ottawa shook loose some of its $6.4-billion surplus and supported, not just Fredericton, but a number of Atlantic Canadian communities with downtown convention centre projects on tap, he said.

Woodside, meanwhile, plans to meet soon with Premier Shawn Graham to talk about $5 million in provincial government support already pledged.

"I'm not writing off the prime minister ... There is ample time, but the bottom line is we can't wait until next June and then make a decision. Council has made its decision, he said.
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Old Posted Aug 28, 2007, 11:50 PM
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If the Feds back this one, I think it is fair to say Monctonians will be slightly peeved. haha!
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Workers met by locked doors at 2 N.B. call centres
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | 1:09 PM AT
CBC News

Employees of call centres in Fredericton and Bathurst appear to be out of a job as of Wednesday morning as Connect North America closed its two New Brunswick centres overnight.

Employees arriving for work in both cities this morning found a locked door with a note on it.

The note said the call centre was closed until further notice and employees would be contacted.

Michelle MacFarland, an employee for a year and a half, is one of about 250 people who worked at the centre in Fredericton.

"It's very upsetting actually, you know, it wasn't expected," MacFarland said Wednesday. "I mean there were little warning signs here and there, we figured we had a few months, we figured we'd get a little warning, they would have the courtesy to give us a couple weeks' notice or something. We didn't figure there would be a note on the door."

At this time it's not known how many people have been affected by the closure in Bathurst.
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