Fredericton aims to boost population by 25,000 in 25 years through immigration
Published Friday, June 7, 2019 10:08PM ADT
It's a city split by a river, and known for its tree cover, but Fredericton, with its government offices and universities, is aiming to be a top destination -- not just for tourists, but for newcomers.
Salma Elsaid is from Egypt, and came to Fredericton a year ago.
“I love how people are actually welcoming us,” said Elsaid. “When I first came here, I felt like I didn't belong, because I barely knew anyone, but when I started meeting people and talking to them, people were actually nice and were helping me out.”
That's exactly what the city and business leaders want to hear.
“It is time to take our efforts to the next level, and this strategy is going to be our roadmap to get us there,” said Krista Ross, the CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.
The aim is for the city to increase its population by 1,000 people each year, for the next 25 years and, by 2036, to have four working-aged people in the city, for every retiree.
Fredericton's mayor Mike O’Brien, says it'll happen if newcomers feel welcome from the start, unlike one case he recalled.
“They had been in the city for one day, and somebody dumped them off at Service Canada,” O’Brien said. “They couldn't even speak English. And they had to file some papers for immigration. We're not going to do that anymore.”
Moncton's immigration strategy has been recognized in recent months. It has found success in attracting and retaining newcomers, but O’Brien says the “Elm City” has settled more newcomers than the “Hub City” in the past year.
“Moncton has a great strategy, but you know one of the things they're very good at? Talking about it,” said O’Brien.
The executive director of the Fredericton Multicultural Association says the goal of attracting one thousand people per year is very doable.
“Many efforts will be looking at francophone-source countries, but in addition to that, it really, it depends on international politics,” said Lisa Bamford de Gante.
Arianne Melara came to Fredericton from El Salvador to go to university.
“When I graduated, I decided to move to Toronto to find employment, but after two years I decided to move back and I believe that moving back was one of the best decisions that I've ever made in my life,” Melara said. “I love living in Fredericton.”
These community leaders are banking on other newcomers feeling the same way.
They're planning to have all the services newcomers need, in one place, within the next two years.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.