A report by a Université de Moncton economist estimates the construction of a new regional performing arts centre to replace the Fredericton Playhouse will create 714 jobs and contribute over $141 million to the economy.
The study, commissioned by the Fredericton Playhouse and funded by the City of Fredericton, examined both the short-term impact of constructing the proposed facility and the long-term impacts of its operation and usage. Pierre-Marcel Desjardins, the study’s author, used an input-output model to quantify the number of direct and indirect jobs created, total expenditures, and contribution to GDP. It also quantifies the revenues that provincial and federal governments will receive as a result of the construction and operation of a performing arts centre.
The report estimates that the ongoing operation and use of the proposed facility would be responsible for an additional 101 permanent jobs and an annual $15.5-million injection into the economy.
“Understanding this project’s economic impact is important,” says Fredericton Playhouse Inc. Executive Director Tim Yerxa. “We know from our previous studies that replacing the Playhouse shouldn’t only be about keeping what we have now, but also about contributing to the city and the region’s economic development goals.”
Fredericton’s business community has embraced the project with open arms. Bruce McCormack, General Manager of Downtown Fredericton Inc. says the construction of a new performing arts centre will have a positive effect on downtown businesses. “There is no project that will have a greater impact on the downtown than this one,” says McCormack. “The fact that we are talking about an investment in cultural infrastructure makes it doubly positive; arts and entertainment make Downtown Fredericton an exciting place to be. We are definitely behind this project and thrilled to see it happening.”
Fredericton Chamber of Commerce CEO Krista Ross says her organization, which represents more than 900 local businesses, is also fully supportive of the project. “This project will create jobs. That’s great news for our local businesses and economy,” Ross says. “But perhaps more importantly, when cultural amenities and offerings are robust, our region becomes even more attractive as a place to expand and establish businesses. It will build on our existing strengths, contributing to our competitive advantage.”
Yerxa notes that while the economic impacts analyzed by Mr. Desjardins are quantifiable, a new regional performing arts centre will have additional economic benefits for the community, which cannot immediately be measured. “It will position the region as a creative and dynamic place to live and do business. This is the real essence of the project’s considerable impact on the economic vitality of our region.”