Just get on with downtown development

I have been in Moncton now for going on nine years. Nine good years. The city has added 10,000 people to its population, the economy is chugging along. New residential and retail nodes are growing. But there is one major concern. The downtown.

In those nine years, I have seen at least five different ‘plans’ for downtown development. I have agonizingly watched the city give Verdiroc another ‘6 month extension’ – it seems like a million times. I have waited for the next Assumption, Blue Cross or City Hall signature office building for years – and none forthcoming.

Now, we hear today, there is another plan. All the same elements that have been thrown around for years are there – convention centre, hotel, parking yadda yadda yadda.

There’s an old saying that ‘as goes a city’s downtown so goes their economic development’. That is why cities across North America have spent billions revitalizing downtowns in the past 20 years. Yet, in Moncton, our downtown has barely moved at all since the visionaries in the late 1980s planned for the new city hall and the Blue Cross Centre.

Well, that’s 15 years folks. Moncton is a transformed city in that time.

It’s time to be deliberate about downtown’s development.

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0 Responses to Just get on with downtown development

  1. Anonymous says:

    I must take objection to your comments on downtown development. Our first priority is definitely not growth, which really should be seen these days as a dirty word. As any city grows, we will see more homeless people and as a result, more crime. Moncton is a city that seems to be growing fast already. If we implement changes for faster growth, we will also have more pollution due to more vehicles and more industry. Our desire to change so quickly will only lead to more urban sprawl and more corruption. Big business only cares about it’s own pocket book and thinks nothing of closing its doors and putting more unemployed on the streets. What we really need is to create a city with lower pollution, more people off of the streets with jobs and a steady income and less kissing the a**es of big business that doesn’t give a damn about human beings.

  2. David Campbell says:

    You are entitled to an opinion on this, but so am I. If we want a large social infrastructure in this province (health care, education, welfare, and other income support efforts like EI), we must raise the taxes to pay for it. Right now, New Brunswick needs around $2 bucks in Federal assistance for every $1 buck it raises in taxes. Moncton is the most successful city in New Brunswick and needs to be a major driver of economic growth to raise the taxes to fund the welfare state in New Brunswick. We cannot go on losing population (as a province) and being more and more dependant on the benevolence of Alberta and Ontario taxpayers. They will eventually crack the whip and then you will see real homelessness and poverty in New Brunswick. So I would advise you to park the old rhetoric about ‘big business’ and ‘corruption’. While the business community is definitely not perfect, it’s all we got to stimulate business investment and job creation and generate the tax revenues that we need to achieve the social goals that you allude to in your rant.