SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $75,000 in the refurbishment of the Saint John North Market Wharf.

The funding will go towards enhancing accessibility, including an extension, in order to better serve community and cultural events taking place along the city’s waterfront.

“Visitors from around the world travel to Saint John each year to take part in signature festivals and events, such as Area 506 and the East Coast Music Awards,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames. “Infrastructure that is accessible, user-friendly and well-maintained is an important part of ensuring New Brunswick continues to be sought out as a destination of choice in the Maritimes.”

The provincial government is working in partnership with the North Market Wharf Association to ensure the maintenance and development of Saint John’s waterfront. The association began refurbishing the wharf last year with improvements to the waterfront stage. The second phase of development is intended to ensure it remains an integral part of the waterfront for generations.

“We are immensely proud to see the mandate of inclusivity for our not-for-profit arts and culture organization and its programming manifest in these accessible components of this refurbishment,” said Stephany Peterson, arts and culture director for the North Market Wharf Cultural Association “Thanks to the visionary support of our provincial representatives and staff, the Étage Market Square Boardwalk Stage is not only the venue for the most free-of-charge arts events in Atlantic Canada, it is also the most inclusive. Differently abled performers from around the world will now have accessible stage and green room resources; and, a new lighting system will provide an immersive experience for the deaf and hard of hearing. Functionality will also improve with a public washroom that is accessible, single stall, and gender neutral.”

The New Brunswick Tourism Growth Strategy will invest $100 million in tourism over the next eight years, with a goal of growing tourism-related GDP to $2 billion by 2025. Tourism visitor spending is estimated at $1.3 billion, making it the third-largest service sector in the province.