22 February 2018

New Brunswick purchases property for new museum in uptown Saint John

By Jeremy Keefe, Global News

The New Brunswick government has announced it will purchase a piece of property from the City of Saint John that will be the site of a new museum.

A two-acre property on the Saint John harbour, previously home to the Canadian Coast Guard, was chosen as the new location for the facility.

The space is said to be large enough to provide the opportunity to bring everything housed in both the Market Square and Douglas Avenue museum locations together.

“When you have two parts of a unit working separate, it doesn’t make it the most effective type of collaboration. So to have everybody under one roof is going to be hugely beneficial,” said New Brunswick Museum Board Chair Shannon Merrifield.

“I think for the New Brunswick Museum, the people of Saint John, the province of New Brunswick, today is an absolutely fantastic day. You don’t get better than this.”

The province had previously committed $50 million to the creation of a new museum facility.

Premier Brian Gallant indicated the province continues to wait for joint federal funding on this project and wouldn’t say how much of the province’s investment will be used to pay for the property and what would be left for construction.

“We believe that with the $50 million commitment that we are putting on the table, with the indications that we’ve gotten from the federal government and with some potential third-party support, that we’re going to be able to put a great piece of infrastructure in the uptown area to ensure that we have the best New Brunswick museum. That we can have to improve the tourism experience,” he said.

“We’re very confident that there’ll be federal funding. At this point, it’s a question of how much.”

Due to tourism and economic reasons, uptown Saint John had been identified as the best area for the new museum.

The transaction between the province and city will close on or before Sept. 30, but pre-construction work and design are expected to begin sooner. That includes consultation with the city to ensure it fits into its master plan.

Saint John Mayor Don Darling spoke at the announcement and indicated the new site has his full support.

“This project not only ensures that the New Brunswick museum will continue to call Saint John home for generations to come,” he said.

“But it is a prime and strategic site for its development.”