Tuesday, January 24, 2012

City has good reason to boast

THE DAILY GLEANER: Editorial, Jan 2012

There was considerable rejoicing at City Hall last week when the final figures for building construction in 2011 were released.

The statistics revealed a total of $115.6 million in construction, the second highest total since 2009.

It was, moreover, the sixth consecutive year Fredericton has seen more than $100 million in construction. What city the size of Fredericton would not be ecstatic at that news!

It’s news that starts the new year off in a most positive direction. Let’s look at the statistics:

The city had just more than $60 million in residential construction, not far off the record-setting pace of 2009 when $61.4 million was experienced.

There was a strong showing in multi-unit starts which planner Meredith Gilbert says reflects changing demographics occurring countrywide where apartment living is favoured over the traditional single-family housing.

Commercial development came in at $19.6 million while government and institutional construction reached $29.9 million.

Whatever way the figures are looked at, they present a rosy picture especially when the unsteady state of the economy is considered.

People here are caught up in multi-faceted development which augers well for 2012, too.

The city is looking for more commercial development at Corbett Centre, Two Nations Crossing, West Hills mini-mall, and more development on Bishop Drive this year.

An added bonus to the celebrating at city hall is a report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. that shows Fredericton is the only municipality with more than 50,000 population that saw an increase in new housing starts in 2011. Both Moncton and Saint John experienced decreases last year.

That Fredericton has witnessed a sixth straight year by reaching a construction milestone is a singular accomplishment worth boasting about.

We feel this is significant as the city continues to promote and to push its reputation and image to other parts of Canada and points abroad.

It’s not only a feather in the city’s hat during tough economic times, but it also serves as a tool for attracting business and new residents to the city. We must conclude that nothing beats success when it comes to promoting New Brunswick’s capital city.

Since Meredith Gilbert is already expecting “to see activity over the $100-million” again this year, we see no reason why the construction success should end.

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