Fredericton: In the Business of Buying Businesses

While It’s been three weeks since I left New Brunswick, I’m still keeping up to date on news around the province. I came across  a Gleaner article this morning entitled “ City gets hands on northside strip bar” and was intrigued. I mean, props to the Gleaner for their article title that totally went there and everything, but I was more interested in the idea that Fredericton spent half a million dollars to buy land that a strip bar was on. Hmmm … The cynic in me immediately thought maybe the city bought the bar to shut it down, but I wanted to give the article a fair read-over. Apparently the land was purchased by the city for “future development”, whatever that means. In the end, the issues I had with the deal were as follows:

  • $500,000 is a lot of money for a city perpetually complaining to the province that it has no money
  • There are no plans on what kind of future development the city is going to do on the land
  • Councillors only found out about the decision yesterday leaving them almost no time to consider the issue
  • This isn’t the first time the city has bought land and later regretted not doing a proper assessment first
  • This isn’t the first time the city has bought land a business owns only to shut that business down (apparently last time it was a scrap yard - how destitute. Just think what it was doing to property values)
  • The strip bar, while legal, doesn’t “conform” to the Municipal Plan

The Gleaner alluded to the idea that maybe the city is buying the land to shut down the bar, but wasn’t as probing as I wished they’d be. I mean, City Council must realize at the very least what this looks like, even if that’s not what’s going on.

It also rubs me that last April or so the Council voted for rezoning of Woodside Drive to allow the Acadian Bus Terminal to move out of downtown. They could have interfered for the benefit of their citizens, but “government has no business in business.” This line seems ironic now given the fact that the city just bought land owned by a business and is shutting that business down under the flag of “developing” that land (supposedly into a business?). Apparently government has no business in business except to shut down  businesses  they dislike that don’t conform to their Municipal Plan.

I’m starting to regret my decision to move away from New Brunswick (for Fun and Profit). Maybe I should have bought some land in Fredericton, set up a legal but unsavory business, and waited for the city to purchase my land for half a million dollars.


Posted on July 12, 2011