4 historic properties up for sale
Sale revenue will be used to combat the provincial government's deficit
The Alward government has put some prime real estate up for sale in an effort to cut costs and bring in revenue.
The provincial government is selling four properties in downtown Fredericton, including the former York County courthouse and three historic houses near the legislature.
"Those properties have been identified as not being required at this time, so we've made some arrangements and we've declared them surplus," said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claude Williams.
If the sales go well, the provincial government will put additional properties on the market, he said.
Finance Minister Blaine Higgs announced several initiatives to cut the provincial government's deficit in his Tuesday budget.
The finance minister cut the projected 2012-13 deficit to $183 million, which is based on recovering $10 million from selling off many Crown-owned assets.
Higgs said the provincial government's renewal process highlighted several items that could be auctioned off.
"This review delineated several immediate opportunities across departments for increased revenues through the sale of assets surplus to current or future program requirements and recommended they be sold at fair market prices," Higgs said in his budget speech.
A few potential buyers were poking around at an open house at 103 Church St., Thursday afternoon.
The stately 1870 building, known as Palmer House, served as the office of the Provincial Capital Commission, which was eliminated last year. The heritage home is listed at $550,000.
"So if we can get the maximum value, this brings back revenue to the province," said Williams.
"We're not going to give them away for nothing."
One of the other homes is currently being rented out to a non-profit company that records printed newspaper articles for blind people.
Robb Hartlen, who runs the operation, has already found a new office, but at a much higher rent.
"Any sitting government has to do what they can to keep spending at a minimum, and to try to put more coins in the coffers," he said. "The other answer would be on the backs of the disabled?"