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Kelly Says Province Doesn't Realize Importance of Harbour Clean-up
(Wednesday, May 1/2002)-- Mayor Peter Kelly said today he is disappointed and bewildered with the Hamm government's refusal to recognize the importance of the Harbour Solutions Project to the residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Mayor Kelly said "Four out of 10 Nova Scotians reside within the HRM and yet the Province steadfastly refuses to see that the clean-up of the Halifax Harbour is a top priority with these residents. Opinion polls during the past few years have consistently shown that the people of HRM want us to get on with the Harbour Solutions Project--- and about 70 per cent of those polled believe the Province has a responsibility to help fund part of the cost."
The Mayor said the Federal government has been very positive to date about cost-sharing on the Harbour Solutions Project, but the Province flatly refuses to consider any financing options suggested by HRM.
Municipal Relations Minister Angus MacIsaac was quoted in the media today as saying "We're not in any position to make any commitments now."
Halifax Regional Council has committed to funding two-thirds of the total project cost, up to a maximum of $210 million and has been seeking joint cost-sharing from the Federal and Nova Scotia governments for the remaining one-third, up to $110 million.
Mayor Kelly said HRM has suggested a number of cost-sharing options to the Hamm government, but the answer always comes back "No." The Province was asked to consider rebating the estimated $28 million the Harbour Solutions Project will generate in provincial Income Tax and Sales Tax during the five year construction period. Another option would be for the province to contribute $1 million a year to the Project, for a 30-year period.
"I don't see how we can make it any easier for the Province to participate. We recognize their financial constraints, but they have to recognize the Harbour Solutions is a major environmental blight on the entire province and the people they are supposed to represent want it cleaned-up. The tax revenues Harbour Solutions will generate should be put back into the project...and not into the Province's coffers.."
Mayor Peter Kelly