Carleton Martello Tower

About $13.5 million will be spent on rehabilitation work at the Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

The federal government is investing $21 million in upgrades and rehabilitation work at the Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site and Fundy National Park.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna made the announcement Sunday in Saint John. McKenna is the minister responsible for Parks Canada. 

During the announcement, McKenna said more people were visiting the New Brunswick sites. Visitation to the Martello Tower was up by 37 per cent in the last year and 20 per cent to Fundy National Park.

"More and more people are coming to our sites to connect to our shared natural and cultural heritage." said McKenna. "Through the investments I'm announcing today, we will ensure that we are ready to meet this growing demand while creating lasting sustainable tourism opportunities across the region."

Tower will be closed to visitors during construction

About $13.5 million will be spent on major rehabilitation work to the Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site. While the site will remain open to visitors, the tower will not be accessible while the work is being done.

Parks Canada staff said there are structural integrity problems with the tower, which was built as a defence for the city of Saint John during the War of 1812.

Project manager Doug Watson said the actual construction work would involve the disassembly and reassembly of the materials.

"Some materials in the core of the walls will have to be replaced," Watson said.

Construction work on the tower is expected to begin in spring 2017 and be completed by Dec. 2019.

MP Wayne Long

MP Wayne Long said the announcement of money to fix the Carleton Martello Tower was a good thing for Saint John. Seated are Fundy Royal MP Alaina Lockhart and the Minister responsible for Parks Canada Catherine McKenna. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Despite that, Saint John MP Wayne Long says he was very excited when he heard the announcement.

"What a great day for our city. Isn't this an unbelievable announcement today? Who says Christmas can't come twice," he said. 

Long, who grew up down the street from where the tower is located, says having what he considers a national historic treasure restored, refurbished and rebuilt is a dream come true for him.

"This city has a story to be told. This city deserves its place in our nation's history," said Long.

$8 million for Fundy National Park

Fundy Royal MP Alaina Lockhart also commented on the funding announcement for Fundy National Park.

"Since becoming a member of Fundy Royal, I have been so impressed by Albert County and its will to make sure the world sees just how beautiful and unique it is."

Over $8 million will be spent enhancing the visitors facilities and campground service buildings. Included in the amount will be $1.8 million spent on enhancing 40 kilometres of trails in the park.