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Letter: Good projects cancelled without explanation


While in office, our administration negotiated an enhanced Voisey’s Bay agreement with Vale that included $30 million from the company for community development initiatives.

With the funding available and ready to flow in 2015, we announced the start of several projects.

A $4.5-million new aquatics centre for Placentia would move forward.

An $11-million new wellness centre for Happy Valley-Goose Bay would move forward.

A $2.5-million cardiovascular hybrid operating room for the Health Sciences Centre would move forward.

About $12 million in supportive ‎housing initiatives and health support projects for vulnerable populations would move forward.

In late 2015, the Ball Liberals came to office and cancelled the projects.

Why the Ball government cancelled the projects has never been explained. The funding was available from Vale to move those projects forward to completion, for the benefit of the people of those communities. Why cancel them?

So here we are, two years later, with most of the funding still sitting in an account somewhere, and the people in most of these communities still waiting to hear when or if the cancelled projects will move forward.

People should already be benefiting from the cardiovascular hybrid operating room, the housing initiatives, the health support projects, the wellness centre and the aquatics centre.

In recent months, the chairman of the Placentia Lion’s Club voiced his organization’s growing frustration with the inaction of the Ball government. The pool project under the current administration is moving at “a snail’s pace.” The town’s engineering work has been completed and the millions earmarked and raised for this project sit idle. They have been trying to persuade the Liberals to stop stalling, but when I asked the government about this in the House of Assembly, they tried to shift the blame to the town!

They are wrong. The fault for the long delay is not the town's, nor is it Vale’s, nor is it ours. Only the Ball Liberals can explain why they are preventing projects from moving forward when the money was allocated by Vale two years ago.

Surely, all of these projects are worthwhile initiatives that ought to be benefiting the people of our province right now as a result of the wealth Vale is creating at Voisey’s Bay and Long Harbour.

How can communities grow and thrive, and how can the lives of vulnerable people be improved, when ‎the current provincial government is blocking the already-funded projects that people need?

Doing nothing is not the way to grow our province, stimulate our economy and improve people’s lives.

People deserve answers, and they deserve a whole lot better from the Ball government. 

 

Steve Kent

MHA for Mount Pearl North

 

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