The City of Fredericton has initiated an exciting new project: the creation of a Growth Strategy and new Municipal Plan. These two planning documents, one to follow the other, will be developed through significant public consultation and will establish a community-based vision and policies to guide the city’s development over the next 25 years.
The City has launched Imagine Fredericton to ensure the Growth Strategy and Municipal Plan reflect the values and aspirations of Fredericton’s residents. The planning process will provide numerous opportunities for you to share your thoughts and help shape the city’s future. Developing the Growth Strategy and new Municipal Plan will involve the following four phases of work:
PHASE 1 – Project Initiation
In the first phase, we will gather information to guide the Growth Strategy and Municipal Plan. We will speak to community, business and institutional leaders to gain their insights and perspectives on the city. We will engage the broader public face-to-face and online to hear what you love about Fredericton, what you think could be improved, and how you see the city changing. Also during this phase, we will be reviewing background documents, and collecting data for analysis in Phase 2.
PHASE 2 – Understanding the Issues and Opportunities
In the second phase, City Staff and technical consultants will produce background reports on key topics for the Growth Strategy and Municipal Plan such as the economy, demographics, housing, transportation, municipal servicing, culture and the environment. We will summarize these technical studies in a highly graphic, easy-to-understand document called Snapshot Fredericton.
PHASE 3 – Visioning and Growth Strategy – How and Where to Grow
In this phase, we will engage the community at a two-day City Summit, where the issues and opportunities facing Fredericton will be presented and discussed. The goal of the Summit will be to develop a vision and principles to guide the Growth Strategy and Municipal Plan.
Following the Summit, we will develop three growth scenarios for the city. Public feedback on the scenarios and a technical assessment of their strengths and weaknesses will inform development of a preferred scenario. Following additional consultation, the Growth Strategy will be prepared.
PHASE 4 – Developing the Municipal Plan
In Phase 4, the Growth Strategy, together with other outcomes of the City Summit, will become the basis for a new, comprehensive Municipal Plan. Draft policies and maps will be reviewed with the community through public open houses, focus group sessions and other consultation events prior to finalization of the Municipal Plan in 2017.
The Imagine Fredericton process is underpinned by a strong commitment to public engagement. The Imagine Fredericton Team has spoken to Frederictonians at organized events; online through the project website and community surveys; and, informally at the ‘Imagination Station’ and through various forms of social media. Hearing from numerous residents is key to creating a truly “made-in-Fredericton” Growth Strategy and new Municipal Plan.
In June of 2016, the Imagine Fredericton Team initiated the highly-successful project Launch held at the Fredericton Convention Centre. Despite the rainy weather, Frederictonians attended the Launch to learn about the project, share their ideas and participate in a ‘dotmography’ activity to identify valuable places as well as areas needing change.
At the Project Launch event, the Imagine Fredericton team launched the Community Compass Survey. This interactive tool provided the Imagine Fredericton Team with information on:
The Imagine Fredericton Team re-purposed a shipping container to create the Imagination Station. The Imagination Station was set up downtown on Queen Street and at several locations on the city’s north side throughout the summer months. City staff were regularly on-site at the Imagination Station to speak to residents about the project and gather their feedback on key issues and opportunities. Visitors to the Imagination Station were encouraged to complete the Community Compass Survey #1 either online using available tablets, or in paper format. A chalk board on the side of the Imagination Station also allowed people to be ‘Imagineers’ by sharing their ideas and vision for Fredericton’s future.
A scavenger hunt was organized in August of 2016 to encourage residents to visit different parts of the city and share their creative ideas about how to improve these areas of the city. Fun prizes, including Downtown Dollars and Imagine Fredericton t-shirts provided an extra incentive to get involved.
In addition to the engagement at the Imagination Station, city staff and summer planning students also went into the community to gather feedback and ask residents to fill out the Community Compass Survey #1. Staff and students attended more than 80 days of in-person engagement at 21 events and locations to gather public input about Fredericton’s future.
During the fall of 2016, a ‘speaker’s corner,’ called the Imaginarium, was set up in the Fredericton Public Library to allow Frederictonians to share their thoughts on digital video about ways to make the city a better place to live, work, learn and play. On entering the library, which is the most frequently attended place in the city’s downtown, people were encouraged to follow the ‘Imagine’ footprints to the second floor where they could enter this quiet space to reflect on their vision for Fredericton.
In late October, the Imagine Fredericton Team held a 3-day, community conversation around important city-building themes for Fredericton’s future.
The events started with a City Summit Launch held at the Centre communautaire Sainte Anne during which the project consultants presented an overview of the city’s historic development trends and identified today’s challenges and opportunities. This was followed by a presentation by renowned urbanist and guest ‘Imagineer’ Michael von Hausen who sparked a dialogue to encourage community engagement in this once-in-a-generation city-building initiative. Mayor Mike O’Brien then gave a “call to action” to invite all members of the community to participate in developing a vision for Fredericton. The presentations were followed by a reception in the Gallery that offered community members the chance to start the conversation about their vision for Fredericton.
Facilitated Imagineering Workshops
On day two, the Imagine Fredericton Team held an all-day Facilitated Imagineering Workshop designed to provide Frederictonians with an opportunity to participate in a series of roundtable conversations on key city-building themes for consideration in the Growth Strategy and Municipal Plan.
Mobile Imagineering Workshops
On day three, residents explored the city’s growth challenges and opportunities through on-the-ground mobile workshops. These workshops were held at four locations across the city, each of which exemplified a particular type of change occurring in different neighbourhoods or areas of the city. The workshops included walking tours and facilitated discussions around each of the City Summit themes. Workshop topics included:
The voice of youth was included in this city-wide conversation during a Youth Summit that asked young community members to imagine a healthier, more vibrant downtown. The Youth Summit involved a walking tour of the downtown followed by a collage-based city visioning exercise.
At the conclusion of the three-day Summit, everyone was invited to attend a City Summit Celebration to share the conversations and celebrate the visioning that occurred over the course of the Summit. The Summit Celebration was held at the Wilmot United Church and included information sharing by the project consultants, Mobile Imagineering Workshop facilitators and Youth Summit attendees. Live music, festive treats, and door prizes offered thanks to the community for their invaluable contributions to the planning process. Mayor Mike O’Brien wrapped up the Summit by thanking residents for their contributions to-date and asking them to continue the conversation about Fredericton’s future.
City Summit participants were provided with an ‘Idea Catcher’. The ‘Idea Catchers,’ which included a Summit schedule, information about guest ‘Imagineer’ Michael von Hausen, Mayor Mike’s ‘Call to Action’, and information about each of the Summit workshops, provided participants with a notebook to record their thoughts and ideas about where and how the city should grow. Questions based on the Summit themes for each workshop session were also included. Attendees were encouraged to engage in the ongoing dialogue that occurred throughout the Summit. However, the ‘Idea Catchers’ provided a forum for keeping track of thoughts and ideas that arose during the community conversations and ensured that everyone had a comfortable opportunity through which to share their insights. Participants were encouraged to submit their completed ‘Idea Catchers’ to city staff at the end of the Summit.
After the City Summit, Community Compass Survey #2 was revealed on the Imagine Fredericton website. This survey, though available to all, was largely intended for those who were not able to attend the Summit and who wanted to comment on the topics discussed at the three-day event. It was also intended for those who participated in the Summit and after reflecting on the theme-based community conversations that took place during the Summit had additional thoughts or ideas to share.
On February 9th, the Imagine Fredericton team held a Growth Scenarios Open House at the Fredericton Convention Centre. Residents and business owners came out to provide input on how Fredericton could grow over the next 25 years. A presentation and interactive panels introducing the three possible growth scenarios are available here. A new Community Compass Survey that asks for your feedback is available here. Input from the community formed the basis of the preferred growth scenario.