Service New Brunswick returning to Saint-Quentin, Kedgwick office hours cut

A Service New Brunswick office will return to Saint-Quentin in 2019, four years after the previous centre was shuttered, the provincial government announced Friday.

The location and opening date for the new part-time office is being finalized with the town, Service New Brunswick Minister Sherry Wilson said in a statement. The final arrangements will be announced later this year.

The new Saint-Quentin office will result in fewer hours of operation at the centre in neighbouring Kedgwick. Staff will provide identical services in Kedgwick on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and in Saint-Quentin on Thursdays and Fridays.

Saint-Quentin Mayor Nicole Somers rejoiced at the announcement.

"To reclaim the service on the territory in one way or another, for us it's really a victory," Somers told Radio-Canada.

The office was one of six Service New Brunswick locations shuttered by the previous Liberal government in 2015.

"A review of the 2015 decision to close the centre revealed that it did not appear to be based on evidence," Wilson said. "In fact, the number of transactions and the revenue generated by this centre was substantially higher than in the nearest centre in Kedgwick."

Court challenge

Saint-Quentin was unsuccessful in a bid to have the court reverse the Brian Gallant government's decision. The village argued Kedgwick, a 15-minute drive away, should have been targeted first and raised concerns for the effect on the local economy.

A 2016 Court of Queen's Bench ruling quashed the attempt.

Daniel McHardie/CBC
Daniel McHardie/CBC

Wilson said people in the northwestern New Brunswick area will receive better access to government programs and services.

"Saint-Quentin is a growing community and based on the volume of transactions between the two communities, there is a need for this resource to be shared," said Wilson.

The municipality will provide the office space, the province said.