The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says capital spending on major projects in Atlantic Canada is expected to fall by seven per cent this year to $13 billion.
A new major projects inventory released by the council on Monday, says an overall decline in energy-related spending will result in a decline in 2017 in three of the four Atlantic provinces.
The exception is in New Brunswick, where growing infrastructure, electricity and transportation investment will result in an 18 per cent surge to $2.3 billion.
“Public infrastructure has helped support capital investment in Atlantic Canada in 2017 and will continue into 2018,” said Patrick Brannon, APEC’s director of major projects.
The council said investment in mining projects is also up almost $250 million in 2017, mainly in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Nova Scotia where more activity is expected next year as well.
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But major project spending in Nova Scotia is down about three per cent to $4 billion as transportation spending is reduced and as work on the MacDonald Bridge project in Halifax winds down.
Investment in Prince Edward Island is also expected to fall five per cent this year to $340 million as work wraps up on the PEI-New Brunswick interconnection upgrade project.
The council says after a 14 per cent decrease last year, spending will fall another 15 per cent to $6.4 billion in 2017 on major projects in Newfoundland and Labrador. Most of the decline is due to slowed construction on the Hebron offshore project the report says, although Husky’s recent green light for its West White Rose project will help slow the decline in investment.
However, the economic council said the long-term outlook for the region is brighter with 412 projects worth $132 billion in various stages of development.
It said Nova Scotia is leading the way with a capital inventory valued at $62 billion, led by shipbuilding projects and proposed liquefied natural gas projects.
Brannon said green infrastructure projects will be an important driver of future investment activity.
“Many renewable energy projects are planned, including wind, tidal, hydro and improved transmission infrastructure,” he said. “Sustainable construction is a growing trend that will continue to drive future investment in public buildings, offices and other projects.”