Fundy Trail's funding future in question
The scenic Fundy Trail Parkway is 19 kilometres from completion but there are no commitments on whether the tourist attraction's organizers will get money to complete the project.
Federal Tourism Minister Rob Moore, who is also Conservative MP for Fundy Royal, helped open the latest five-kilometre stretch of the coastal highway project on Friday.
Moore said he was proud to deliver on a commitment announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in his January 2009 budget.
However, in that speech, Flaherty committed to completing the southern New Brunswick tourism infrastructure project. In order for that to happen, the Fundy Trail Parkway Authority needs another $19 million to finish 19 kilometres of roads.
The Fundy Trail Parkway allows tourists to drive along some of the previously unreachable areas along the Bay of Fundy's coastline. When the project is finally completed, the parkway will connect Saint John, Sussex and Moncton.
Moore would not say on Friday when funding will come for the remainder of the trail or even for the next five-kilometre section.
He did say the federal government is committed to finishing the trail and has invested $10 million into it so far.
"The proof is in the pudding. After over a decade of no federal money being put into the trail, we've put over $10 million, federal only, into the trail, plus provincial money," Moore said.
"So I am, as the local member of Parliament, quite satisfied with the pace that we're going."
Frank Wilson, president of the Fundy Trail Parkway Authority, said he can complete the remaining 19 kilometers of the parkway in three years if he gets the funding.
The Fundy Trail opened in 1998 and according to the province's Department of Tourism has welcomed more than 500,000 visitors.
Along with the driving route, the tourist attraction also offers a network of hiking and biking trails, including observation decks and an interpretative centre.