Fredericton — The newly released Odell Park Management Plan calls for the creation of a large conservation zone by decommissioning and reforesting all “unsanctioned” trails and building new trails around the perimeter of the park. While many active trail users have been reaching out to City Council to voice their concerns, a small minority of residents have embraced the proposed changes.
Local NBCCD student Shawn Jones was delighted to learn that the draft plan includes the construction of an asphalt trail. “Awesome!” he exclaimed. “Now I can skateboard all the way down the park to get to school! And without those annoying runners and cyclists there to disturb us, imagine the cool party and illegal camping possibilities!”
In a shocking twist to the controversy, late last night Manatee staff received a drunken phone call from both Councillor Henri Mallet and Mayor Mike O’Brien. The two men seemingly just wanted to unburden themselves of the truth, which revealed a more sinister, self-serving reason behind the proposed changes.
“Listen, we understand that none of this makes any sense,” slurred Mallet. “We’re creating a conservation zone within what is already a conserved area. But the Irvings are going to clear-cut the entire province! We need to declare Odell to be an official protected area, so that in 100 years, when the rest of the province is nothing but a sad, barren wasteland, we will still have one green space left right here in Fredericton.
“We’ll put a fence around it and tourists can come look at the last still-standing trees! And who will the history books thank? City Council of 2020! Why, we’re already creating a plaque for the park in our honour and a golden statue of Mayor Mike!”
“Just to elaborate further,” stated Mayor O’Brien, audibly relieved to be confessing, “we understand that the current trails have been there for decades with no erosion or environmental impact observed in any scientifically measurable way. But the trail-removal was part of a shorter-term strategy we had for ourselves as city leaders. Sometimes you just need to fabricate ‘problems’ in order to publicly announce solutions. And with an election coming up we want people to remember the fact that we were the ones who solved this ‘problem’!”
In response to concerns that residents will have to use the alternative recommended trails way out at Killarney Lake, Mallet could be heard slamming his drink down.
“Nonsense. It’s a convenient 52-minute bus ride from downtown. And the citizens complaining are the ones that are trying to be more physically active, right? Well, they can just jog out to Killarney if they’re so hung up on trails and fitness!
“That’s almost a half-marathon’s worth of exercise added to their daily workout. It’ll do wonders for our province’s obesity epidemic and we’ll get the credit for that too! Win-win!”
Author’s (serious) note: To express concerns about the draft park management plan for Odell, email email@example.com, tweet @mikeobrien_fton, or contact your local councillor by the 4:30 pm deadline on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.