SAINT-JOSEPH DE MADAWASKA (GNB) – People in Saint-Joseph de Madawaska will soon have a new fire hall and community centre thanks to financial support from the provincial and federal governments.

The provincial government is investing $800,000 in the new fire hall through the Small Capital Loans Program, while the federal government is contributing $450,000 through the federal Gas Tax Fund to add a community centre to the building.

“This investment is creating local jobs and ensuring essential fire services while providing the infrastructure for volunteers, organizations and community groups to gather for years to come,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry. “The community of Saint-Joseph de Madawaska has worked hard over the years to see this project through, which will allow for gatherings and additional services.”

Landry spoke on behalf of Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle.

The community has outgrown its current fire hall and has been without a community centre for over 10 years. The new facility will provide space for groups to meet and hold events such as training sessions, receptions, community meals and fundraising activities.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2018.

“Good recreational infrastructure helps build inclusive communities where families can have fun and spend time together,” said Madawaska-Restigouche MP René Arseneault. “Projects that create new community service infrastructure, like the one we are celebrating today, not only provide residents with opportunities to stay fit and healthy, they also support economic growth and the creation of good middle-class jobs.”

Arsenault attended for federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi.

“The current fire hall is too small. In fact, one truck must sometimes be parked outside,” said Saint-Joseph de Madawaska fire Chief Yvan Levesque. “There is also very little training space, so this new building with the added community centre is going to have a positive impact on our ability to keep residents safe.”

The Department of Environment and Local Government administers fire services in local service districts and facilitates the tendering and purchasing process. Funding accessed through the Small Capital Loans Program will be repaid, with interest, through local property tax recoveries.

The annual $2-billion federal Gas Tax Fund is intended to provide predictable, long-term funding to help municipalities build and revitalize their local infrastructure while creating jobs and long-term prosperity. Projects are chosen locally and prioritized according to the infrastructure needs of each community.