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Construction on Saint John waterfront now in the final stages

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Some residents walking around uptown Saint John, N.B., often slow down when walking past the redeveloped public space outside of Market Square; soon they will be able to walk through it.

The City of Saint John is in the final stages of construction on the Ihtoli-maqahamok, which means “the gathering space” in the Wolastoqey language. In the latest online update posted by the city, areas like the new tidal steps, rock pool water feature, main stage, and plaza paving are in the final stretches of work.

“This is very exciting for our community,” says Saint John City Councillor David Hickey. “We are transforming the harbour front into a publically accessible space that is going to impact this community, I hope, for generations.”

Hickey says he has noticed residents starting to get more excited for the soon-to-be-opened space, which was initially set to open by the end of April. According to the city’s online March update, all public spaces aren’t anticipated to be fully completed until some point in the summer.

Construction of the public space on the Saint John, N.B., waterfront. (Avery MacRae/CTV Atlantic)

The area of priority right now for crews is the all-season patios. The framing and glass panels have all been installed, with crews now working on ventilation, heat, electricity, and fire protection.

Given the amount of times the patio work has been delayed for restaurant owners inside Market Square, Hickey is hopeful to have the patios open in time for the first cruise ship when it comes to Port on May 8.

“There’s a lot of small businesses behind it, a lot of small business owners behind that and we want to make sure that there spaces can get open so we can get as many folks down here as possible,” Hickey says. “The real focus right now is to make sure we can get those open and then gradually open the community spaces as we go.

“Ultimately the product I think that we are going to have is something that’s pretty exciting.”

Some areas are fully completed like the skating rink, which residents will be able to take full advantage of next winter.

As for the section of the Harbour Passage Trail surrounding the site, it too is almost complete but some areas may be impacted in the future due to constriction next door by the Fundy Harbour Group on the first of five high-rises to be built.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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