Miramichi mayor sees 2019 as year of continued growth for city
Property assessment is increasing while unemployment is declining
After describing 2018 as a year of rebuilding and renewing for the city of Miramichi, Mayor Adam Lordon is looking forward to what 2019 will bring.
"There were a lot of milestones and a lot of exciting trends that shows us that [the] community is growing again and renewing itself."
Lordon said council senses a momentum in the community.
"The [property] assessment grew in Miramichi by three per cent this year which was $44 million of increase, which means that people are building, but also they're investing in renewing their existing homes and commercial buildings."
The mayor adds the city's unemployment rate is below the provincial average.
"Development is growing, unemployment is down and these are favourable trends for the community as we head into the new year."
Big hosting job
One of the highllghts of the year for the city was hosting the Jeux de l'Acadie in late June.
"It went off without a hitch," he said. "It was one of the biggest events our community has ever hosted with close to 2,000 young athletes and then their families and spectators and everything that went along with that."
Lordon said it took many volunteers, both francophone and anglophone, to make it happen under the guidance of the organizing committee.
"The economic impact in the city was about $2.5 million, which was even a million more than we had anticipated. So, by all accounts, a big success and proof of our hospitality and proof of our ability to continue to host bigger and bigger events."
When it comes to infrastructure, Lordon said the transformation of the waterfront in the former town in Chatham is just one project many are watching. The $7-million project to reconstruct Station Wharf and the pier will be completed in 2019.
A new event that proved successful was the mayor's newcomer barbecue that saw the city partnering with the Miramichi Multicultural Association, the Chamber of Commerce and other community groups to welcome newcomers to the city.
"We've had a banner year with substantially more newcomers coming to Miramichi than ever before which is a huge success. We need to continue to welcome more and more newcomers just to sustain our community and our economy and certainly to grow as well."
Lordon said more people are talking about the city as a destination option for newcomers as a result of the event.
"We are being talked about across the country as a place to welcome and retain newcomers."
He said the business community has played a key role in this attracting newcomers to fill vacant positions. "When somebody moves for a job, we hope their family will come with them."
Downtowns and multiplex project
Looking ahead, Lordon said the city's downtown redevelopment plan, initiated in August, will finish up in early in 2019.
He said having a playbook for the first time to use to strategically develop the two downtown cores — Newcastle and Chatham — is exciting.
But one thing Lordon is hoping to see accomplished in 2019 is securing federal and provincial funding for the multiplex the city wants to build to replace aging arenas and other recreation facilities.
"This continues to be the most pressing infrastructure need in our city and, at this point, it's becoming an urgent need."