Saint John city council has cleared the way for a regional economic development area.
At a virtual meeting on Monday night, councillors approved the new regional economic development model for the Saint John area.
It’s an extension of a pre-existing relationship between the six communities of Saint John, Rothesay, Quispamsis, Grand Bay-Westfield, Hampton and St. Martins.
Under the new model, initiatives involving economic development, economic infrastructure, tourism and population growth would be funnelled through a single agency.
The new model will see each community contribute financially to help fund the operations of the new organization.
“We are, as a region, really positioning greater Saint John to be one of — if not the — strongest economic region in all of Atlantic Canada,” said Saint John Mayor Don Darling.
“One strategy, one plan, one message, one voice, and boy, are we there tonight!”
The shared services model is expected to help Saint John deal with deficits of more than $10 million in 2021 and 2022.
The City of Saint John was the last community to approve the model, with the governments of Rothesay, Quispamsis, Grand Bay-Westfield, Hampton and St. Martins already voting to support the measure.
— With files from Global News’ Tim Roszell