ecoFredericton, a Fredericton non-profit, is engaging in a project to bring a sustainable living centre, similar to the Falls Brook Centre, to the Fredericton area. The group is implementing a plan to purchase the site of the former Royal Road Equestrian Centre.
“We will be beginning development of the site with a neighborhood of ecologically sustainable bungalows that will feature passive solar design, energy efficient natural building methods, and renewable energy technologies. They will be marketed to investors in order to raise money for the purchase of the property,” explains Nikita Smith, Co-director of ecoFredericton. “With the land bought, other ecoFredericton members will be simultaneously developing agriculture that will increasingly operate on permaculture principles. Ultimately, we will partner with a permaculture design graduate to offer the permaculture design certification course.”
ecoFredericton Sustainable Living began as an unregistered non-profit organization and was started by Arthur Taylor in 2004. Among other accomplishments, ecoFredericton organized the ‘Capital City Culture Clash’ fundraising concert series, actively supported the Occupy Movement, worked with Food Not Bombs Fredericton, organized the ‘Rock the Vote’ concert series to promote youth voting in the 2012 Fredericton municipal election, and conducted sustainability-themed workshops at One Step Wonderful’s ‘Freedom Fest at the Farm’ outdoor music festival in 2012. In August of 2012, ecoFredericton became ecoFredericton Sustainable Living Inc., a provincially registered non-profit organization in order to pursue its present project.
“Our second phase will be the construction of a timber framed, straw bale insulated building we are calling the Agora,” says Dana Hartt, another of ecoFredericton’s directors. “The building will provide low income housing for twenty to thirty individuals and families through a partnership with New Brunswick’s Affordable Rental Housing Program.”
So far, the group has managed to attract the volunteer assistance of architect Ann Scovil, natural building expert Leland Daugherty, democratic education expert Prof. Emery Hyslop-Margison, as well as permaculture design graduate and chemist Nils Rehmann.
“Our third phase will be to bring the skill-sharing program I am presently developing to the centre,” says Arthur Taylor, founder of ecoFredericton and its third director. “This will feed into the development of the Borland Initiative, the use of the site to take at-risk youth off the street or away from negative influences, providing them with a positive environment full of confidence building activities and self-guided learning, then offering skills-based training as well as educational and career placements with the ultimate goal of helping at-risk youth to create a green sector or social entrepreneurship career for themselves and a better world for all of us.”
ecoFredericton is presently in the process of drafting their business plan for the first stage of the project and engaging in public outreach activities, including producing a promotional video on the project.