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Hetherington Blasts Stoffer for Failure to Save Shearwater Base

(Thursday, August 8/2002)-- Federal New Democrat Defence Critic Peter Stoffer should stop trying to blame the Halifax Regional Municipality for his failure to protect and preserve the former CFB Shearwater air strip, Councillor Bruce Hetherington said today.

Councillor Hetherington was commenting on a newspaper article this morning which quoted Mr. Stoffer as saying that he is concerned about "talk that HRM will buy the land the runway sits on, and scrap the strip."

Last Spring, Shearwater's long runway was purchased by the Canada Lands Corporation, as part of a parcel of surplus federal land. The shorter runway can only accommodate smaller helicopters and light aircraft, and organizers of the Shearwater International Air Show say this will impact on their events.

Councillor Hetherington said MP Stoffer failed to do his job as NDP defence critic and now CFB Shearwater has been closed out and the lands sold to the Canada Lands Corporation.

"He's the one who stood by and let the lands be sold off for surplus and now he's trying to blame the municipality, " he said. "At no time did HRM ever say that it was interested in purchasing the runways."

Councillor Hetherington said that he and former HRM Chief Administrative Officer Ken Meech met with Defence Department officials more than two years ago. They tried to negotiate the purchase of the former Shearwater lands to ensure they would be developed in a way which would benefit not only local residents, but HRM as a whole.

"However, the Canada Lands Corporation had first option on the lands and HRM lost out.

We are still trying to make sure that those lands are developed in an appropriate manner.

It's unfortunate that Mr. Stoffer isn't as interested as we are in protecting the lands against huge-scale development. He seems to be more interested in trying to make political hay at the expense of HRM. He's the one who should be shouldering blame, not the municipality, " Councillor Hetherington said.

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Councillor Bruce Hetherington
(902) 488-4808

Above content last modified Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 8:49am.