Construction boom: let the good times roll?

Posted on August 31, 2023 | By Alec Bruce | 0 Comments



The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council’s most recent Major Project Investment Overview forecasts a record $15 billion worth of capital investment this year with more on the horizon. Still, some economists worry about counting chickens.

From the Atlantic Economic Council’s lofty perch as the region’s leading prognosticator of all things monetary, the 50,000-foot view can sometimes make one’s head spin. So, perhaps, AEC’s senior researcher Patrick Brannon deserves a little slack when he says that Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are poised for a “once in a generational opportunity” for growth.

“[It’s] an incredible amount,” he enthuses about his findings, neatly captured in the Atlantic Major Project Investment Overview released in June. “A lot of it is driven by population growth. We’re seeing a big increase over the last few years in housing construction and transportation to support the growing population. That includes new highway and transit projects. In cities, there’s increasing healthcare spending and lots of infrastructure. The capital budgets for the provinces and the cities are growing pretty steadily.”

And that’s just the boring stuff.

“The other thing that we’re seeing is clean investment driving growth,” he says. “So, that’s renewable energy, clean adoption, conversion, environmental upgrades. We see a lot of spending on this and a lot more coming.”

What all this boils down to, he says, is “spending in the region is the highest level that we have recorded in our [annual] inventory… It’s similar to the surge in activity during the Newfoundland oil boom, but more spread out over the four provinces… We’re up to almost $15 billion worth of investment this year.”

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