SHIPPAGAN (GNB) – Premier David Alward provided an update today about progress being made to rebuild the economy of northern New Brunswick during a visit to Shippagan.

"A stronger northern economy is a vital part of our government's plan for rebuilding New Brunswick," said Alward. "I am proud to say that our Northern New Brunswick Economic Development and Innovation Fund is working. Since the announcement of this initiative less than a year ago, we have invested $25 million to support projects throughout northern New Brunswick."

The provincial government established the four-year, $200-million fund to stimulate job creation and address economic challenges specific to northern New Brunswick. The fund supports projects to develop, diversify and grow the economy and communities of the region by finding new ways to attract and retain investment. Projects in Victoria, Madawaska, Restigouche and Gloucester counties are eligible for assistance from the fund.

"Our government is proud of the work that has been done so far to rebuild and diversify the northern economy through the fund and under the six priority sectors of Growing Together, our economic development action plan," said Alward. "We are confident that the entire North, from Madawaska to the Acadian Peninsula, has the drive, the entrepreneurial spirit and most importantly, the dynamic people necessary to succeed and make sure this region can reach its great potential."

Since the fund was launched in October 2011, it has spurred development in a number of priority sectors throughout northern New Brunswick:

●    187 projects have been approved, creating 545 permanent jobs and helping to maintain 816 others;
●    FFG Canada, an international joint-venture company specialized in the production of armoured vehicle used for national defence, is creating 26 jobs in Bathurst;
●    $500,000 has been invested to revitalize the Falls and Gorge tourist attraction in Grand Falls;
●    $1.5 million has been invested in the Centre des congrès de la Péninsule acadienne (convention centre of the Acadian Peninsula) in Shippagan;
●    $500,000 has been invested in the future Northern Hardwood Research Institute at the Université de Moncton, Edmundston campus; and
●    the New Brunswick Community College, Dalhousie campus, has been able to offer more training due to an investment of 500,000 under the fund.

“We will continue to build on the partnerships we have established with the northern business sector to stimulate our economy, spur job growth and put this region and all of New Brunswick into a more competitive position," Alward said.