INKERMAN (GNB) – Engineering and design work has begun on a replacement for the former trail bridge in Inkerman.

“Your government’s multi-year economic growth plan recognizes the importance of tourism, and this investment will help support tourism in New Brunswick and on the Acadian Peninsula,” said Agriculture, Mines and Rural Affairs Minister Wilfred Roussel. “As a first step, we are investing $300,000 to help determine options and the associated costs to rebuild the bridge.”

Roussel spoke on behalf of Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet.

A fire in September of 2017 destroyed the 466-metre structure, which was built using wooden pile supports and decking. The bridge was important to recreational users on the Acadian Peninsula, including cyclists, all-terrain vehicle riders and snowmobilers.

Rebuilding the bridge will help with the development of initiatives under the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture’s Trails Action Plan. The plan aims to implement a sustainable trail management program to create an internationally competitive trail network that supports the government’s jobs and economic growth objectives.

“This commitment is crucial to supporting and developing our economy in the region,” said Roussel. “This is a strategic investment that will help create jobs and support development of our economy by recognizing our current priorities and addressing future needs.”

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s $688.2-million capital budget reflects the government’s priority to invest strategically in its buildings, highways and bridges. Strategic investments in infrastructure are a key component of the multi-year New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan, the government’s framework for moving the economy forward.

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.