I was in the economic development system when the province lured those two textile mills to Northern New Brunswick.
$76 million provincial money into those projects and they are essentially dead.
Funny how these things go. For $150 million, there is a real possibility we could have attracted an auto plant or at least a massive supplier like Michelin up there but in those days the idea of spending $150 million in taxpayer funds to attract 1,000-1,500 high paying jobs was laughable. I worked on a project that was to be 1,100 high paying jobs and over $600 million in capital investment – NB was on the short list – and the total NB ‘package’ was $25 million.
Now we give AV Nackawic $70 million to keep a couple hundred jobs (no growth) and $76 million to a couple of relatively low paying textile mills just to keep them afloat.
I think the province really needs to come up with an economic anchors strategy. A deliberable program to attract a few large, multinational, stable firms to key regions in New Brunswick. These desperate attempts to bail out firms with bad business models – is no substitute for real economic development.
I think an economic anchors strategy doesn’t even have to be about massive transfers of taxpayer monies. It could involve tax breaks, free land, tailored workforce recruitment/training efforts, maybe an incentive power rate, – we have many models to look at in the U.S and other Canadian provinces.