Saint John will receive almost $12 million in federal funding to help mitigate the impacts of climate change on some key pieces of infrastructure.
The contribution will help move 10 flood-threatened water pumping stations to higher ground and relocate and integrate two aging waterfront electric substations.
But the biggest of the trio of projects rolled out Wednesday will help the city unload a prime piece of waterfront property: Fundy Quay.
“This is a major step,” Saint John Mayor Don Darling said of the plan to repair the crumbling sea wall bordering the former Coast Guard property.
“The Fundy Quay site represents one of the best sites in all of Atlantic Canada for development. It represents a major piece of land or infrastructure for future projects in the heart of the uptown areas.”
Mayor Don Darling getting to the brass tacks. There are 3 projects included in the funding. First the refurbishing… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Silas Brown (@silasjvbrown) May 22, 2019
The site had been set aside for a new $100 million New Brunswick Museum until the incoming Higgs government pulled the province’s $50 million share of the funding in December. Saint John is now looking for a private investor to take over the site and repairing the sea wall should, in theory, help make the property more enticing.
The sea wall is badly in need of repair and fixing it up is a key piece in convincing any potential developer to take over the 1.7 acre waterfront space.
“The seawall has been in bad shape for the last 20, 25 years here and the project will require a lot of repair, infrastructure repair on the outer steel structure,” said Samir Yammine, manager of Asset and Energy Management for Saint John.
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Yammine says the wall was last examined in 2013, but will be re-examined soon to get an idea of the scope of the damage before it is repaired and raised 1.5 metres to protect against rising seas levels and storm surge.
The project is expected to be finished in about three years.
“This year we’re going to be doing the same ultrasonic testing here, hopefully in the next two three months, to determine what are the damages to the wall here, what is the scope of work here, how much money we need to do it,” he said.
The $11.9 million chipped in from the feds comes from the $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund and will only cover the costs for about 40 per cent of the three projects. Darling says all three will cost about $30 million and the remainder of the capital will come from the city and Saint John Energy.