Moncton becomes No. 1 commercial, industrial development hub in Atlantic Canada
Moncton occupies top spot for 3 quarters in a row, including first 6 months of 2017
Having long dispatched its provincial rival in Saint John, figures show Moncton has now chased down the region's two largest cities to command the most commercial and industrial development money in Atlantic Canada.
"To think that in recent quarters we've been challenging or surpassing Halifax, I think that's pretty impressive company to be keeping," said Kevin Silliker, Moncton's director of economic development.
On Monday, Statistics Canada reported there had been $163.9 million spent on "non-residential building construction" in the Greater Moncton area during the first six months of 2017 — the area including Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview and other smaller nearby communities.
To think that in recent quarters we've been challenging or surpassing Halifax, I think that's pretty impressive company to be keeping.- Kevin Silliker, director of economic development
That's a record for New Brunswick.
It swamps figures for Greater Saint John ($62.8 million) for the same period, but more significantly it exceeds similar development spending in the much larger metropolitan communities of St. John's ($97.1 million) and Halifax ($137.6 million).
Top spot three quarters in a row
Public and private spending on developments in Moncton has led the city to surpass all other New Brunswick communities, including Saint John, for seven straight years and helped the city emerge as the province's largest and most prosperous community.
But since record-keeping began in 1997, no city other than Halifax or St. John's has led the region in non-residential new construction until Moncton pushed past the two during the fourth quarter of 2016.
Moncton has now occupied the top spot for three quarters in a row, including the first six months of this year, even though it has 30 per cent fewer residents than St. John's, and 65 per cent fewer than Halifax.
City boosters like Carol O'Reilly with the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce are excited by what's been happening.
"These are great times in our history but I believe the best is yet to come," said O'Reilly. "I feel this is just going to keep on getting better and better "
Large, private developments
A significant amount of recent construction in Moncton has included public money, particularly on its $100-million downtown arena complex, but the city has attracted a number of large private developments as well.
These include an eight-storey, $30-million condominium and hotel project on Queen Street, an estimated $100-million office, apartment, retail and hotel development known as The Junction at the corner of Main Street and Vaughn Harvey Boulevard, a $10-million hotel on Mapleton Road, and other investments that are feeding into Moncton's total or are about to start.
Development slumps in both Halifax and St. John's have also helped Moncton take over the top spot in Atlantic Canada.
But that doesn't tarnish the achievement for O'Reilly, who expects all of the recent investments to spur growth and attract even more money.
"We're riding the wave," she said.