Fredericton — It’s election year in New Brunswick, which traditionally means the incumbent government unveils a parade of spending promises. With the election still seven months away, there has already been several big budget announcements made including investments in childcare, job creation and nursing homes.
The official Liberal platform is not expected to be released until this summer at the earliest, but in terms of inclusiveness, it already seems like the party is leaving no New Brunswicker behind — including the premier himself, Brian Gallant, who is making his own pre-election promise to…himself.
And to his dog, Blaze.
Officers’ Square, the beloved green space of New Brunswick’s capital city, host to many summer festivals, markets and a key venue for the popular Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, is overdue for a major refurbishment.
Recently, David Seabrook, assistant director of growth and community services for the city, presented council with a preliminary report (based on public feedback sessions and surveys) for what would be a modern-day city centre. While many parking spots would be sacrificed, Seabrook’s vision proposed an oval track skating rink, a playground, a performance stage and a designated area for food/beverage vendors.
Brian Gallant’s idea is to turn the historical square into a dog park so that he has a safe place to play with Blaze during his lunch hour.
“It’s election year and that means promises!” said Gallant. “Everyone gets what they want except for the premier! Re-election isn’t the most important thing in the world. There’s more to life than that. Like your dog. I have to bring Blaze to work with me.
“We all know he has…his moments in the car, but believe me — it’s way worse when he’s home alone. Actually it’s kind of like the movie Home Alone, only with more poop and less burglars. Anyway, it’s not right to keep him cooped up in my office all day. Downtown Fredericton needs a dog park! A nice fenced-in area where Blaze can run free and sniff the butts of other dogs.”
Currently, Gallant walks Blaze around the front lawn of the legislature on a leash, which the premier says just doesn’t feel right him.
“Blaze is my best friend. More than that, he’s like my son. He doesn’t deserve to be pulled around by a rope! When we got into this job, we thought there was going to be a dog park right in front of us. It’s a nice lawn out there, for sure — they put up all of these ‘anti-terror’ poles or whatever and I always thought they’d start fencing’ em in so that Blaze could run free! But apparently that’s not what they’re for…”
The black metal fencing surrounding Officers’ Square will have be to replaced since it has too many sharp points that Blaze could hurt himself on. The statue of Lord Beaverbrook will also have to be removed because everybody agrees that our man “L.B.” was an ah’ight guy who doesn’t deserve to be peed on by dogs. Unfortunately, transforming Officers’ Square into a dog park also means that the city will lose a cherished communal meeting locale.
“Obviously, you can’t have picnics or events, or concerts in a dog park,” said Gallant. “Too many new people scare dogs. Loud sounds get them all rowdy and randy. Besides, we gotta face it that not every dog owner is as diligent as I am with picking up my furry pal’s leavings.”
But while both Seabrook and Gallant have presented plans for the future of Officers’ Square, the City of Fredericton stresses that details are still very much in the “designing process.”