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Councillor Questions MLA's Timing
(Thursday, January 6/2000)-- Woodside Councillor Bruce Hetherington said today he finds it ironic that Dartmouth South Tory MLA Tim Olive is calling for a halt in development of a new Home Depot Store in Dartmouth until after a traffic study of the area is completed.
The District 8 Councillor said it was only less than a week ago that Mr. Olive announced the closure of his Dartmouth hardware store, blaming its demise on the advent of so-called "big box" stores in the area, such as Home Depot. Mr. Olive owned and operated James F. Lahey Limited, a business which operated for more than 100 years in downtown Dartmouth.
Councillor Hetherington said Mr. Olive has repeatedly spoke out in the past against any provincial funding going towards regional traffic studies in Dartmouth or any measures to help alleviate heavy traffic problems in the Portland Street-Woodlawn area.
"Now, all of a sudden, he wants everything stopped-- including a start on the new Home Depot Store-- so we can do a traffic study of the area. I really have to question his timing on this one," he said. "What he didn't mention is that Home Depot is putting $350,000 into the interchange at Portland and Baker Streets and the Province will own it."
Mr. Olive stated in a news release on December 31st that a regional traffic management study is needed before approval is given to development of Baker Street lands (at Portland Street) for the construction of a Home Depot store and a major housing development.
The MLA said a current traffic management study prepared by the Halifax Regional Municipality does not take into account the Portland Street-Highway 111 interchange; the Woodlawn and area connector roads; the expanding development of the former Penhorn School lands, Phases #3 and #4 of Portland Estates; and the planned construction of an new fire station opposite the Sears Store on Portland Street.
Mr. Olive said he was concerned the current traffic situation at the Mic Mac Mall entrance from Highway 111 will be repeated at the intersection of Portland and Baker Streets as a result of new development.
He said the new Home Depot Store is expected to put another 8,000 vehicles per day at that intersection and that an alternate exit from the development to Highway 111 or Caldwell Road must be part of the planning process.
Councillor Hetherington challenged the MLA to "put his government's money where his mouth is" when it comes to solving traffic problems in the region.
"Mr. Olive has been against any money going into the Halifax Region for traffic studies or anything else-until now. He should keep in mind that his government, as well as previous provincial governments, continue to cut back on the funding HRM receives towards street and road maintenance."
" If Mr. Olive wants a traffic study, perhaps he can get his government to pay for it?" he said.
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Councillor Bruce Hetherington
District 8 (Woodside)