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New Brunswick tables $1.2 billion capital budget, focus on schools, infrastructure

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New Brunswick’s finance minister Ernie Steeves says there’s been an increase of 7,200 students in the public school sector over the last two years, which calls for more investment in school infrastructure.

He announced six major school projects –- in addition to eight previously announced ones –- during his capital budget speech Tuesday.

Education Minister Bill Hogan clarified some specifics.

“We're having six major projects. Four of them are brand new builds. Two of them are significant builds where we're looking at a pretty well doubling the size of two schools because we need the space and those schools are long overdue for having major upgrades,” said Hogan.

He said Moncton, Dieppe, Salisbury, and Fredericton will see new schools, while schools in Tabusintac and Moncton will see the major expansions.

The province will be investing almost 50 per cent more in capital expenditures on schools than it did in last year’s capital budget, totaling $187.4 million.

“This is a problem that two-and-a-half years ago we didn't have in New Brunswick. We were looking at closing schools,” said Hogan. “We're also looking at how can we do it quicker? So we're going to look at maybe some design builds so it doesn't take three to five years to open a school.

Steeves said during his speech that the province is expecting enrolment to rise by another 6,000 students by September 2027. 

Steeves is also promising $33 million over the next year to kick-start the development of 380 public housing units, with the goal of shovels in the ground by 2025.

That amount was promised in 2023/24 fiscal year too, but according to the budget estimates, just $4 million was used.

In health care, work will continue in upgrades at five hospitals across the province.

That includes the additions at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton and the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst. It also includes Saint John Regional Hospital’s upgrades to its ICU, oncology clinic, and cardiac unit.

Renovations will begin at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton to create the previously announced public health laboratory.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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