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Mayor Kelly Issues Challenge to Federal Candidates
(Monday, November 13/2000)-- Mayor Peter Kelly said today federal cost-sharing on the $315 million Harbour Solutions Project should be a major election issue in ridings located within the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The Mayor challenged all candidates seeking office in those ridings in the federal election later this months to publicly state their position on whether or not they support federal cost-sharing on the Harbour Solutions Project.
"I think the electorate should know where the candidates stand on this, and whether they are prepared to fight for a commitment from the federal government to cost-share on this project. Let's get it out in the open now-before the people vote, " he said.
Mayor Kelly said the Harbour Solutions Project will be the largest capital project ever undertaken by Halifax Regional Municipality, and is one of the largest ever undertaken in the Atlantic Region. In addition, it will be the largest environmental clean-up of a saltwater body of water in the history of Canada.
The Mayor said candidates representing all parties in the upcoming federal election should recognize that several public opinion surveys undertaken in HRM during the past four years have consistently shown that almost 80 per cent ( or four out of five people) surveyed, support the Harbour Solutions Project.
"The people are telling us to get on with it. Halifax Regional Council has already committed to financing $210 million or two-thirds of the total cost-plus the $5 million to $6 million required annually for operational costs. Now, we are looking to the federal and Nova Scotia governments to cost-share on the remaining one-third, or $105 million, " he said.
It is forecast the construction phases of the Harbour Solutions Project will generate approximately $28 million in new revenues to the Province of Nova Scotia and approximately $59 million in new revenues to the Government of Canada.
When fully operational, the project will generate approximately $400,000 annually to the Province of Nova Scotia and approximately $800,000 annually in new revenues to the Government of Canada.
Mayor Kelly said "If the Federal and Nova Scotia governments agreed to rebate these new revenues back to the Halifax Regional Municipality, the one-third portion of the total project cost ($105 million) to be financed by the two senior levels of government would be generated totally by the Harbour Solutions Project. In other words, no new money would be required on the part of the Federal and Nova Scotia governments."
HRM officials have met with, or provided detailed information to, leaders and/or senior representatives of most the federal and Nova Scotia political parties during the past year. Presentations were also made to Premier John Hamm, former Premier Russell MacLellan and Senator Bernie Boudreau, who represents Nova Scotia affairs in the federal Cabinet, and senior officials of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
The Mayor said "I understand that all of the political parties, Ministers, MLAs, Members of Parliament and others who have been petitioned by the Halifax Regional Municipality support the Harbour Solutions Project. Unfortunately, the commitment for federal and provincial cost-sharing on it has not been put to paper yet.
" We still have more than 150,000 litres of raw sewage and other pollutants flowing into the main harbour and surrounding waters each day. It would appear that all agree the project is necessary, so let's get on with it," he said.
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Mayor Peter Kelly