Coast Guard Site Needs Provincial Funding For Repairs To Seawall

Image: Develop Saint John.

SAINT JOHN – The city government is still waiting for much-needed provincial funding to repair the sea wall on the Fundy Quay.

The site finally has a developer, who plans to build a multi-use development featuring a mix of commercial and residential spaces, but construction can’t start until the repairs are made.

The city says the sea wall has been in bad shape for the past 20 to 25 years, and will require a lot of repairs. Namely, it will need to be raised 1.5 metres to protect from rising sea water levels and storm surges.

The city will also have to take care of contaminated soils on the site.

The work is expected to cost $8.1-million. $3.2 million has already been committed through the federal Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Fund.

However, the repairs are still waiting on funds from the city’s bi-lateral infrastructure funding agreement with the province.

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Mayor Don Darling says he has no doubts the funding will come, it’s just a matter of when.

“Those discussions are ongoing,” said Darling. “We have a lot on our plate right now with the province and I think the relationship is very strong. Those projects are being followed up by our staff, and I’m hopeful that we’ll have a positive answer soon.”

In an email, the province says all of the applications under the bi-lateral agreements are under evaluation, and should be approved “sometime in 2020.”

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MP Wayne Long, who secured federal funding for the repairs last spring, says the site has plenty of potential for more developments in the future.

“To develop the Coast Guard site, the first thing that has to happen is prepare for construction to attract people who want to come here and develop. First thing we need to do is make sure it’s safe, make sure it’s sustainable, and make sure that that sea wall is repaired,” he said.

“I certainly encourage Premier [Blaine] Higgs and the rest of the PC Caucus to think big picture. Don’t always look at infrastructure money as a cost. It’s also an investment in our community.”

Long says he believes the federal portion of the work should get underway this spring.

The repairs are expected to be fully completed by 2022 or 2023, depending on the scope of work and how much detailed work is required.

A feasibility and design study is currently in the works.

Danielle McCready is a reporter with CHSJ/Country 94, a Huddle content partner.