Local MLAs say government continues to deliver on priorities set by NBers

Krisi Marples/Courier Unveling the new riding name of Saint Croix, which replaces Charlotte-Campobello, were those the riding represents, L-R are McAdam Mayor Ken Stannix, St. Stephen Mayor Allan MacEachern, MLA John Ames, Campobello Island Rural Community Mayor Stephen Smart, Saint Andrews Mayor Doug Naish and Rick Doucet, MLA for Fundy-Saint John-The Isles.

Local MLAs say government continues to deliver on priorities set by NBers
Charlotte County

By listening to New Brunswickers the Gallant government is getting things done and delivering on the three priorities set by New Brunswickers: economic growth, education and health care say the region’s two MLAs.

“By working together we have delivered on growing the economy, a stronger health care system and have made record investments in education,” said John Ames, MLA for Saint Croix.

“Over the past two years our efforts demonstrate we are listening and understand that growing the economy and investing in education and health care are important to New Brunswickers and their families,” said Rick Doucet, MLA for Fundy-The Isles-Saint John West. “We will continue to work hard on these priorities and with your support we are getting things done.”

Both Ames, who is the province’s Minister of Tourism Heritage and Culture and Doucet, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Minister of Energy and Resource Development and Government House Leader, say the province’s economy is on track to grow by 3.5 per cent over a three-year period, more than triple the level seen between 2007 and 2014.

They say that as a result, some positive economic trends are emerging: In 2015, New Brunswick experienced the third-best economic growth in the country, and growth is expected to continue in 2016.

In 2015, the GDP contribution of agriculture increased by 12.2 per cent. The government expects continued growth in this sector due in part to its focus on blueberries, maple syrup, attracting immigrant farmers and other efforts.

At 13.4 per cent, New Brunswick has one of the lowest rates of youth unemployment in decades.

Doucet and Ames said the provincial government in 2016 continued its trend of investing more in education than ever before in the province’s history, including: delivering a free tuition program to students from families earning less than $60,000 per year; creating 10-year education plans; expanding and improving the SEED program; committing to making daycare more affordable and accessible for all of our children and delivering on strategic infrastructure projects at our universities and colleges.

The Ministers both noted the government supported the creation of more than 9,700 jobs in New Brunswick and saw the largest overall increase of average weekly earnings in the country in 2016. They said the  government has been working hard to grow the economy, create jobs, and support New Brunswickers and their families by:  releasing the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan ; lowering the small business tax for the second year in a row;  raising the minimum wage;  investing more money in infrastructure to create jobs and improve roads and schools; increasing economic development by promoting and investing in New Brunswick tourism; and implementing pay equity giving a better quality of life to women, children and families.

The MLAs noted the provincial government is making the province “the best place to live, work, and raise a family” by: investing $56 million with the federal government in affordable housing; maintaining a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until five conditions can be met;  helping hundreds of school students who struggle with mental health challenges through Integrated Service Delivery for at-risk children and youth, creating a mental health centre of excellence to ensure access to necessary treatment services.

Doucet said the province has also invested in projects and initiatives in the Fundy region including: investment of $68.3 million in the Port of Saint John; is investing $32.3 million in the Fundy Trail Connector infrastructure project, improving connections to the Fundy Trail Parkway; investing close to $5 million in the Fundy Marine Service Centre; contributing $2.9 million to improve community drinking water and the reservoir in St. George; providing $600,000 for rabies bait drop program in Charlotte County.

In the Southwest region, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure alone is spending more than $17 million this year on infrastructure like roads, bridges and buildings. In 2016-17, the government has committed:

$3.1 million for the Grand Manan Nursing Home; $2 million for paving Route 3 from Route 745 to Maxwell Crossing Road  and$2.2 million for work on Routes 172 and 176.

Ames noted a number of projects and initiatives in which the government has invested in the Saint Croix region, including: partnering with Irving Oil, to open a new Visitor Information Centre in St. Stephen; partnering with the federal government more than $6.6 million in two aquaculture projects at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, which will create nine new jobs; $32.3 million in the Fundy Trail Connector infrastructure project, improving connections to the Fundy Trail Parkway; $100,000 in funding for repairs to the old St. Stephen Train Station;  $46,250 for a new synthetic floor in Garcelon Civic Centre in St. Stephen; $90,000 in funding for Welshpool Landing in Campobello; $30,000 for roof repairs at the McAdam Train Station; a new location of a new centralized Provincial Land Registration Office for registration of government paper documents and plans in St. Stephen; $16,500 for the arena repairs in St. Andrews for the W.C. O’Neil Arena;  holding New Brunswick Day celebrations in St. Stephen which provided significant economic spinoff;  changed the name of riding from Charlotte-Campobello to Saint Croix to better unify riding;  and in the Saint Croix region, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is spending close to $12.4 million this year on infrastructure like roads, bridges and buildings.