New Brunswick

a revival

  that no longer surprises

Pictured: Denis Roy, Executive Director CBDC Chaleur

Photography by Pascalle Roy
Article by Jean-François Sonier

“If you had asked me, two decades ago, what I thought of the region where I grew up, my answer would have been very different from today.”  

– Denis Roy 

Denis Roy, who has been the Executive Director of CBDC Chaleur Inc. since 2015, reveals a new lease on life for the greater Bathurst region. 

Like many resource regions in Canada, this small town in the north of the province was taken over by large international industries, both in mining and forestry, which left little regard for the future of the community. 

A new economic development model has emerged, and CBDC Chaleur has become a key partner for an entire business community that wants to build an economy on much stronger foundations than in the past. 

With a flexible and dynamic Board of Directors, Denis Roy was able to rebuild a secure portfolio and strengthen investments for new projects. A strong entrepreneurial community that has been neglected for too long has emerged out of the shadows in recent years, and the phenomenon is remarkable. If you haven’t been to the Chaleur region for years, the findings are striking: cafés, bars or microbreweries along the waterfront, friendly restaurants and a new commercial dynamism. If the opportunities for growth are clearly visible, it is above all the new initiatives to work together that are the greatest wealth of the Chaleur region. 

With the acquisition of the “219 Main Street” building in downtown Bathurst, CBDC Chaleur not only becomes the owner of its premises, but also encourages business community leaders to meet under one roof. A large conference room has been set up where the Chaleur Chamber of Commerce periodically invites speakers, and the entire community is genuinely welcome to attend. The Business Improvement Area (BIA) for Main Street in Bathurst has also settled in this landmark building. 

With the Local Governance Reform, CBDC Chaleur observes a new momentum of collaborations. These groupings of municipalities and former Local Service Districts (LSDs) will improve the participation of municipal authorities with economic development organizations. Whether it is investments in infrastructure, the management of vacant lots, zoning issues, consultation with citizens, the reality of affordable housing, or the welcome and integration of immigrants, all subjects are on the table, and nothing is overlooked to propel the new Chaleur region towards a sustainable future. As such, CBDC Chaleur is delighted to be able to fully participate in this new regional reality where the social economy will become the basis of important projects. 

Denis Roy is of the opinion that the Chaleur region, without taking anything away from its neighbours, is the hub of northeastern New Brunswick: “With the large federal government buildings, the regional hospital, the Bathurst airport or the Port of Belledune, everything seems to merge towards us. This consolidation of services is conducive to making business, that is why the CBDC wishes to promote a new model of entrepreneurship that is more rooted in our communities and that cares about our regional autonomy.” 

Finally, it is not a pandemic that will have slowed down this new trend observed since 2015. Although this period was stressful and required a lot of courage on the part of entrepreneurs, CBDC Chaleur can already confirm that their activities have exceeded the results before 2020, and that the financial performance reached a record since the incorporation in 1987. “This proves the resilience of our business community, and a shared desire to grow in rural areas and to be proud of it. What was once perceived as an obstacle has become an opportunity. This positive spirit is a capital asset upon which CBDC Chaleur is fully committed to embrace,” concluded Denis Roy. 

“CBDC Chaleur is delighted to be able to fully participate in this new regional reality where the social economy will become the basis of important projects.” 

Denis Roy 
Executive Director 
CBDC Chaleur 

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