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Permits soar and records fall as Moncton continues to grow!

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Wherever one looks around the Moncton area, there are many signs of continued growth and success. There are new residential subdivisions, there are new condos and apartments, there are new stores, and new industrial park companies. Adding to this mix, is a new casino/hotel/convention and entertainment centre nearing completion in Moncton's north end adjacent to the Trans Canada Highway and just across the highway from the famous Magnetic Hill - will dice roll up hill?

In the downtown, a new justice centre is in mid construction. This new facility is not only large but ultimately it will free up some existing downtown space opening up new opportunities for business expansion. Across town, on the campus of the Université de Moncton a new track and field stadium has been built to host the World Junior Games. Hundreds of young athletes from around the world will be showing their talents in Moncton this July at the largest sporting event ever held in Atlantic Canada. Now that's a real symbol of the new and growing Moncton.

Meanwhile, Moncton remains bullish with its industrial parks. Having experienced considerable success in recent years, Moncton Industrial Development last year completed its latest expansion of Caledonia Industrial Estates. The newest initiative has added some 150 acres to the park's available inventory. Demonstrating the clear rationale for the expansion, Loblaw jumped on the opportunity to become the first company to build in this new section. Their new 126,000 sq.ft freezer facility is rapidly nearing completion and will soon be a major distribution centre for ice cream to their many Superstores within the region.

But that's not all. In 2009, MID sold the last available lot in the Moncton Industrial Park. Not willing to leave it at that, looking forward, Moncton Industrial Development has acquired some 600 some acres adjacent to the existing industrial park and is now preparing Moncton Industrial Park version 2.0, a completely new section to complement the existing park. Construction has just begun on the first phase to open up 122 acres in this new park, keeping the flame going for this very successful industrial park.

So, Moncton has been growing. Without a doubt, these have been difficult economic times around the world. Canada has not been immune nor has New Brunswick. As that suggests, Moncton has not been immune either. There are companies that have had a rough ride, but overall Moncton has been fortunate and has continued to grow. To demonstrate, let's look at one of the key indicators, building permits in 2009.

Was it a good year? How about a record year. So the value of permits set a record, ho hum. There's no ho hum, it smashed the previous record. Just three years previous, that record was set with $152 million worth of building permits. For 2009, that was surpassed months before the year even ended so by year's end the total value of permits issued hit an eye-popping $218 million. The new record is a whopping 43% higher than the previous one. Did Moncton have a good year? It had a great year.

For eight straight years, Moncton has had a steady run of very good years for new construction and building permits. With the extra special year of 2009 included, Moncton has averaged $146 million per year during this period. Are we done yet? Well, we certainly hope not which is why we are continuing to invest in our infrastructure. We are investing in our industrial parks to ensure ready space is available when opportunity knocks.

Signs are already looking positive for 2010 with new projects destined for the downtown, and with shovels being readied to start on new apartments and condos downtown and around town. Out Magnetic Hill way, Crandall University has a new expansion underway, plus there are some new retail ventures planned in the Wheeler park area and construction is underway on the Moncton Industrial Park expansion.

But perhaps most important of all, there is still a spirit of optimism and enthusiasm moving this community forward.

2009 was a record year that will be hard to beat or even match but things continue to look up, we are already seeing many positive signs for continued growth and success. Moncton in 2010 will welcome the world this July but Moncton welcomes new business and new people every month of the year and that's what really keeps the engine running.

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