Fredericton — In what’s being hailed as a landmark trade agreement, Premier Brian Gallant and billionaire businessman Prince Abdul bin Nayef III of Saudi Arabia signed a contract today that could see as much as half a million tonnes of New Brunswick snow sold and shipped to a massive manmade ski hill currently under construction in the Arabian Desert just outside Abu Dhabi.
Provided all conditions are met, the contract will see over 400,000 thousand metric tonnes of snow collected and transported to specially designed freighter ships in the port of Saint John, where it will then be shipped overseas. In exchange, Prince Nayef III has agreed to pay the province $2.7 million annually.
However, New Brunswickers who are expecting this to be a boon for the region are cautioned to think again. “The cost of province-wide snow removal is easily over 40 million dollars a year,” said economist David Thompson. “And I can’t see the 2.7 million being paid out to remove and transport that amount of snow even running at a profit.”
Indeed, the premier admitted the most optimistic projection would earn the province a modest profit of $128 annually, but he emphasized the agreement as a future investment.
“In a few months time New Brunswick will be known as the number one supplier of snow to desert ski resorts in the world,” said Gallant. “And this is something we can build on.”
Residents of Southern New Brunswick will have the added benefit of getting their driveways plowed at no cost. Those in Northern New Brunswick will also have the option to have their driveways plowed, but to compensate for the cost incurred from the long distance the snow will have to travel, residents will be required to pay the government $60 per tonne.