The people at UNB in Fredericton have been sitting on some land that has recently been going up in value as the city grows around it. They have also had to endure years of funding cuts meaning they aren’t able to fund their programs as well as they’d like to. By putting 2 and 2 together, they were able to come up with a solution: lease 50% of the land to gain some revenue.

As with any type of development, there are people who will be against it for whatever reason. In this case, the people protesting it are wrong for the following reasons:

1. The claim of urban sprawl

The protesters use this as an example of urban sprawl. In fact, it is the exact opposite of sprawl as it’s making use of land already in the city limits. If that land wasn’t developed, the box stores would have to go farther out of the city and that would be less ideal. Cars would have to be driven more, therefore more fuel burned. Also, without access to city water and sewer, they would have to have a well and septic system, which aren’t as good as city services.

2. The loss of recreational use

The protesters claim that by developing the land, they will lose access to the lands for recreational use. The trouble is, that land was never intended for recreational use. UNB didn’t put up “no trespassing” signs so people were allowed to go there. Nobody ever had the “right” to use it for recreational purposes.  Besides, the extra tax revenue will allow the city to expand and develop the Killarney Lake park, which will be significantly large.  Of course, there will still be 50% of the woodlot land left to use, some of which will be developed into actual parkland.

3. Costco is actually better for the environment

Buying in bulk saves packaging and cuts down on waste. Even the building itself has less of an impact than many smaller stores. The spartan interior means fewer materials in the landfill when the time comes to tear the building down. The bare concrete floor eliminates harmful flooring materials and the chain-link fence based interior partitions can be recycled.

4. The Knowledge Park Drive Extension

This new road, which goes through the property will allow access to some of the 50% conservation lands which can then be used as parks. This will allow many more people to use the land for recreational purposes. That road will also cut down on congestion on Regent St. between Prospect and the malls. Saving congestion saves gas.


If they really want to stop development, there are other ways:

  • Insist that UNB gets much more funding from governments. This will put a damper on development
  • Insist that better use of existing land be made. New buildings downtown need to be taller. Stand up to the NIMBYs who protest developments (such as the apartment buildings at the end of Church St and the Sobeys on Regent)

Telling people to change their lifestyle is not the way to go about this. Neither is telling a private organization what to do with land it owns.

Links: UNB Woodlot siteUNB Woodlot Development Protestors