In Moncton, 2005 Saw Growing Number of Proposed Projects Announced or Launched

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For the business community of Moncton, in 2005 the provincial government's announced spending and investment priorities got the year off to a strong start with Premier Bernard Lord pledging that a satellite heart catheterization lab will be added to the City of Moncton's hospital infrastructure, following the completion of two other installations in the Province, in 2006.

This came in addition to announcements made in January 2005 that would see the Conservative government spending more than $15 million in the 2006-2007 timeframe to build new schools, upgrade existing facilities and plan for future development in the Moncton area.

In March 2005, the Province of New Brunswick announced $1.1 million in targeted funding for the final design of the Moncton Hospital's new ambulatory care facility.

Then by late summer the excavation of the huge footprint of the new wing facing the south side of the hospital began. This project will change the configuration of services at the Moncton Hospital in a major way as emergency services are re-aligned and state of the art medical technology is integrated into the day surgery areas.

Externally the hospital will re-align traffic along MacBeth and Connaught Avenues, as the new face of Moncton Hospital is revitalized over the next couple of years.

Later in June, Premier Bernard Lord announced a $3 million provincial investment in a PET/CT scan machine for Moncton, one of two that the Province will acquire for the entire province.

In making the announcement the Premier noted that this medical infrastructure of PET/CT scan represented state of the art technology and will make New Brunswick one of the first provinces in Atlantic Canada to invest in this advanced medical technology for detecting cancer.

A month later, the Premier returned to Moncton to pledge a strategic plan of up to $20 million in further investment to develop a medical training school to help attract and retain more doctors for the Province. An announced benefit of launching a medical training facility in the City and Province is to "provide a way for 18 new doctors to set up practices", in Moncton.

Later, in the fall of 2005, Premier Bernard Lord announced that the province is providing an additional $6 million to The Moncton Hospital for new high-tech medical equipment for the new wing, which began construction in late 2005. The Moncton Hospital is part of the Southeast Hospital Corporation network of primary health care facilities and clinics serving the southern portion of New Brunswick.

During 2005, the gradual elevation of the construction crane rising up from the below ground surface area of the new hospital wing by the end of the year became an economic barometer of the City's positive growth announcements for the year.

"When we talk to business people considering Moncton for a project or to relocate here as a business investor, or for those that may be considering making a move to our community, high on the list of information interests for them, is the quality and availability of health care".

"For Moncton to have two major hospitals that offer specialized services to this region, as well as to the northern region of the Province is a significant factor in Moncton being seen in a positive light", says Paul Richard, a commercial sales agent of Colliers International, a commercial real estate sales agency in Moncton.

Moncton is seen as a good place to invest and to do business. The positive environment and apparent commercial level of activity is a significant factor in the community's ability to grow, explains Richard. When you add it up, it makes us an attractive and vibrant community as whole.

There is significant public investment and there is significant private investment in projects in Moncton and this is building a momentum for the community, he adds.

For 2005, in terms of the federal government level of funding growth in Moncton, the year got off to a strong start, when the Federal Government announced the construction of a $9M service and support hangar for the Greater Moncton International Airport (GMIA).

The new building began construction later in the year with construction design and development underway immediately. The modern aircraft service centre will house Transport Canada employees and RCMP aerial services serving Atlantic Canada, from Moncton, as the geographic air centre of the Maritime Provinces.

Later in mid-2005, the GMIA achieved a long term development goal and excited the economic and business community of Moncton with the announcement of direct connection, by Continental Airlines, of daily service between the Moncton Airport and New York. The flights are to commence in mid-2006 and offer direct connection with New York's US and international transportation hub status.

Moncton Airport was one of the first airports privatized in the early 90's by the federal government and has been growing as an economic development agent in Moncton ever since. In October of 2004, the local airport authority opened a new multi-million dollar air passenger facility and was upgraded to international flight capacity.

WestJet Airlines of Calgary has been operating successfully from the Moncton airport for a number of years and in 2005, Canada's leading discount airline announced commencement of service in July to Calgary with direct trans-continental passenger flights between GMIA and Calgary's International Airport, from Moncton.

In a short few months, the Greater Moncton International Airport made critical trans-continental and trans-border connections for North American service.

These services along with the seasonal charter services to Florida and France as well as charters direct from Germany in 2005, further opened up increased business opportunities for air passenger tourism. The increased passenger and freight service further expands support for local companies with products and services to sell in the northeastern and Atlantic coastal corridor stretching to South America.

Moncton's continuing growth in residential housing in the expanding northend of the City along both sides of Mountain Road's northwest corner of the City, lead the Department of Education to announce the planning development of a another north end school to relieve demand on the Evergreen Park school. This follows on the opening in 2005 of a new French high school and middle school in the city's northeast section.

Low interest rates and a steady influx of young families in Westmorland County generally and Moncton specifically has fueled strong increase in MLS prices at all levels and the impact of the increased volume of consumer families had a positive impact on the local residential market for new homes in 2005.

Similarly, the growing number of young families and strong employment levels with historic low unemployment numbers generated increased activity as well as announcements in the commercial real estate sector.

A network of traffic configuration changes, new street connectors and traffic lights in the Power Centre area of Mountain and Mapleton Roads with the Wheeler Blvd, caused the relocation and expansion of a number of retail outlets in the Maritimes shopping mecca, during 2005.

The steady influx of weekend shoppers from all three Maritime Provinces travelling to Moncton to shop continued to fuel the emergence of Moncton as a central shopping destination for weekend visitors.

These strong visitor numbers lead to a number of announcements throughout the year by private developers and hotel chains announcing new hotel and motel plans along the City's northern retail power centre and in Downtown Moncton and near the Moncton airport as well.

In April, the Province's Department of Public Safety announced the $4. Million price tag for an overhaul to the City and area's 911 service, which covers an expanded geographical area similar to the natural shopping centre draw of being central to south eastern New Brunswick.

Much like the shopping market draw, the Moncton 911 service area stretches from the Nova Scotia border, north to Richibucto in Kent County, and south as well as west, to the coastal region of the Bay of Fundy coast line, and includes to the west, the coastal and inland area running east of Sussex, back to Moncton as the 911 central call centre hub.

The new system deployment and a state of the art electronic coordination dispatch centre will provide a streamlined and ultra modern emergency response system to the larger region of south eastern New Brunswick.

April, 2006