Cape Breton mayor wants to spend $300M on infrastructure
Cecil Clarke is looking for help from the provincial and federal government for help pay for basic infrastructure
Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke has outlined a plan to spend $300 million on basic infrastructure in the community and is asking the provincial and federal government to provide 75 per cent of the money over the next five years.
Clarke said the money is needed for the CBRM to survive.
In outlining the plan, the mayor painted a grim picture of the area's finances.
He said with double digit unemployment, and already high tax rates the CBRM has been doing little more than band aid fixes for years.
Clarke said there's no way the municipality can survive, let alone grow, if it can't provide even basic services for residents and businesses.
"So rather than get to a catastrophic situation where we find ourselves in dire financial cause, that we would have to now step back, let's negotiate, let's look at what we can afford, provide stability, and produce outcomes. We need to grow revenues, we're not going to grow revenues if we don't have the activities that can support new economic initiatives," he said.
This plan would upgrade everything from roads and sewer systems, to arenas and fire trucks.
The CBRM will provide $75 million dollars, it's looking for matching funds from the province and double that amount from Ottawa.
Clarke said that's reasonable, given that some of the costs, such as wastewater treatment, have been mandated by the federal government.
"This is very much key to stabilizing not only the CBRM, but helping us to become part of a growing Nova Scotia economy and creating stability, urban, rural right across the province. At the current state we will not be finding that and will be a further pressure," said Clarke.
In the past, the CBRM has gone to the courts saying that other levels of government have not given the municipality a fair share of funding.
Clarke said this represents a new approach.
He said by outlining exactly what the municipality needs and can afford, he hopes to negotiate a fair deal with the other levels of government.