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Councillors Push for Ottawa to Honour Its Commitment to New Recreation Centre
(Wednesday, March 29/06)-- Two Dartmouth Councillors want to make sure the new federal government keeps a commitment made by its predecessor to contribute towards the cost of the proposed $3.3 million East Dartmouth Recreation Centre.
Councillors Andrew Younger and Bill Karsten sought, and received, unanimous support from Halifax Regional Council last night on a resolution calling on the Government of Canada to honour its commitment to financially support the project-- as a full one-third partner--- from a funding source other than the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Program (MRIF).
The Councillors stated that when the commitment for $1.1 million was made in the Fall of 2005, no specific federal funding program, specifically the MRIF program, was identified as the source of funds for the facility. HRM and the Province of Nova Scotia have already committed $1.1million each towards the facility. Also, the municipality has awarded a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the architectural services for the design and construction phases of the new centre.
However, in a recent letter from Peter Mackay, the new Minister Responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), suggested that the East Dartmouth Recreation Centre Society make application for federal funding under the Strategic Initiatives provisions of the MRIF program
Councillor Younger said "By asking Council to allocate the federal money from MRIF, the federal government is taking away from funding for other very important HRM projects. The original funding commitment by the federal government last fall was made before MRIF existed, and therefore, should come from federal sources outside that program. The community group is ready to break ground so we need quick action."
Councillor Karsten said “The federal support for this project was never tied to MRIF and to include it now would potentially take away funding from other much-needed projects.
We want the federal government to take its $1.1 million share from another pool of funds.”
Councillor Andrew Younger
District 6 (East Dartmouth-The Lakes)
Councillor Bill Karsten
District 7 (Portland-East Woodlawn)