22 February 2018

New home for New Brunswick Museum will be old Coast Guard site in Saint John

Premier Brian Gallant announces province's intention to purchase 2-acre property for new building

By Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, CBC News

The future home of the new New Brunswick Museum will be the old Canadian Coast Guard site on the Saint John waterfront, Premier Brian Gallant announced on Thursday morning.

The provincial government plans to purchase a two-acre piece of the Water Street property for the new building, he said during a news conference in the Hall of the Great Whales at the museum's Market Square location.

The deal to buy the land, almost a hectare, is expected to close on or before Sept. 30, Gallant said.

In the meantime, the provincial government will begin "pre-construction work," including consulting with the City of Saint John and the general public to ensure the design of the new museum fits into the city's master plan for the area, he said.

The federal government has still not committed any funding to the project, which will bring the uptown public exhibition location, as well as the archives in the older museum building on Douglas Avenue, in the city's north end, under one roof.

Shannon Merrifield, chair of the board of directors of the museum, said the coast guard site, in the heart of historic uptown Saint John is "ideal."

In October, the province pledged $50 million toward construction of the new building.

"Your government recognizes the important role that the New Brunswick Museum plays in our cultural community and to the tourism industry, both in Saint John and across the province," Gallant said Thursday.

"By investing in this cultural infrastructure we are stimulating economic growth, supporting the uptown core of Saint John, and improving the experience for tourists to our province."

The New Brunswick Museum attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year, between its two properties, according to the province.