The woodlot debate rages on in Fredericton. The mayor’s Facebook group appears to be the latest place where there is debate. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of misinformation being used in the debate.

Many posters to the group insist that the Costco is going to destroy the entire wetland. That simply is not true. Costco is only altering a small part of a wetland. It won’t destroy it. (site plan)

Many of the other arguments also apply to other locations where a Costco could go. The provisions for surface runoff (and drainage) apply no matter where a Costco would be placed, it will cost money no matter what, however, the city will get that money back in the form of property taxes it collects in the future. The same applies to any building in the city, even your house. The road leading to it, water / sewer and drainage all had to be paid for by the city.

They also claim that there will be a great increase in flooding because the wetlands naturally absorb rainfall. They don’t mention the fact that the wetlands are included with the 50% of the woodlot which will be preserved and not filled in or paved over. The wetlands will still be there to do their job. If the woodlot wasn’t developed, the runoff and flooding would still have to be dealt with elsewhere in the city. Also, the woodlot is at the top of the hill so it doesn’t absorb runoff from anywhere other than itself. (Google maps, terrain map of area)

Many Costco location alternatives were proposed, however, the majority of them are unsuitable. The North side of Bishop Dr. isn’t big enough, so it would have to go onto the South side, which is bordered by the UNB woodlot and another wetland. Two Nations Crossing would be an even worse location as the traffic infrastructure wouldn’t be able to handle the massive amount of traffic coming from the highways.

A number of posters on the Facebook group claim that they like to use the woodlot to let their dogs run free. Unfortunately, loose dogs are terrible for environmentally sensitive areas as they disturb wildlife, dig up habitats and their feces contaminate the water. (referenced here) For some reason, the environmentalists aren’t protesting the fact that dogs are currently allowed to run loose on the woodlot. This situation will be improved with the addition of an off-leash dog park which will be built at the site of the Grant-Harvey Centre (on the woodlot).

As stated in the previous posting about this issue, developement on the woodlot can be slowed or even stopped by using the correct approach. Demand better use of the land we currently have. Demand that buildings downtown have minimum heights instead of maximums. Demand that the train station be torn down and replaced with high density buildings. It is actions like this that will slow down development by making the woodlot less valuable. Don’t waste your time trying to prevent current projects from happening, instead spend it by looking at the long term goals. The 50% of the woodlot will only be fully developped after 50 years, that’s plenty of time to spend making the city make better use of existing land.