New funding to revitalize N.B. downtown cores

The provincial government announced Wednesday that a yearly grant of $500,000 to Downtown New Brunswick will support eligible business improvement areas.

Officials say the Business Improvement Areas Act mandates that the government provides an annual budget of about $3 million to each of the 24 areas designated as business improvement areas.

“Our downtown cores focus on cultural activities, heritage preservation, tourism promotion, festivals and events, shopping, dining, safety, beautification and civic pride,” said Local Government Minister Daniel Allain in a news release.

“A vibrant downtown attracts new businesses and people into the region while creating employment opportunities.”

Allain said for every dollar spent in these areas, $6 of economic development is generated, calling them the “purest form” of economic growth. He added that the province will continue to work with stakeholders to explore ways to support development.

Trina MacDonald, president of Downtown New Brunswick, said in the news release that her organization is pleased with the grant and the province’s willingness to invest in businesses that sustain New Brunswick’s downtown areas.

“We, and our members, are champions and stewards of local business, and we appreciate the province and department recognizes the positive impact of our business improvement areas on our economy,” she said.

“This contribution, combined with our levy of private funds, will provide a significant boost to our urban centres.”