CBRM pleads for aid to end financial crisis
Municipality struggling with significant shortfall after unemployment rises, population shrinks
Municipal councillors in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality say the community's financial situation is alarming.
They're appealing to the federal and provincial governments to spend $225 million over five years to support a capital works plan. The municipality would put in $75 million.
Without it, councillors say the situation will be dire.
"We've been heading into a crisis situation for a while now, and we're bleeding out," said Councillor Claire Detheridge who described the situation as grim.
Unemployment in the CBRM has climbed to 17.5 per cent, the population is dropping, and the tax base is shrinking. The municipality is struggling to cover even basic costs.
"The Band-Aids are not working – the Band-Aids are too few now to deal with the real issues that we need to find a cure to," said Mayor Cecil Clarke.
The money would pay for for basic repairs and upgrades to streets, sewers, stadiums and other basic services.
"It's not a want list or a wish list, it's a needs list for our community," said Clarke.
"If we don't have a capital plan that gets realized, we are in a crisis situation within the CBRM, we will not be able to meet our basic requirements to the point that it is anticipated that we will not be able to pave a single road this year if we don't have a new path forward."
Clarke met with Premier Dexter on Tuesday to discuss the capital plan. He said Dexter promised to respond after he sees what's in Thursday's federal budget.
Clarke is also requesting a meeting with federal MP Peter MacKay.