Fredericton North MLA Stephen Horsman is calling on the Higgs government to reverse its decision to cancel the refurbishment of the Centennial Building in downtown Fredericton.
The project, started under the previous Liberal government, would have saved taxpayers $2.5 million a year upon completion. Even though the project was well underway, it was cancelled by the Higgs government once it took power.
That decision cost the Higgs government $11 million in cancellation costs.
A recently revealed internal report confirms the project had the potential to save taxpayers $2.5 million a year by moving government departments from rented office space into the Centennial Building.
“Cancelling this project made no sense,” Horsman said. “Yes there was an initial cost, but overall the government would have easily recouped those costs and saved money in the long term.
“Surely the premier was aware of this report that indicated why this project made sense financially. The decision to cancel the project was extremely short-sighted and needs to be reversed.”
The project started under the Liberal government would have created more office space downtown for provincial government employees, cut travel costs and increase government productivity. It also included space for a much-needed new courthouse in Fredericton.
Currently the building is fenced off, and half-completed, creating an eyesore in downtown Fredericton.
“I saw that the transportation minister admitted the government was only thinking in the short term when it made this decision,” Horsman said. “That’s unacceptable. This was a political decision that looked only at the short term. They made a conscious decision to cost taxpayers money in the long term. We deserve better than that. This decision needs to be reversed now.”