Save the mobile asphalt plant, pleads worker

A road crew supervisor wants Nova Scotia's new Liberal government to reconsider its plan to scrap the province's mobile asphalt plant.

Transportation minister wants to axe provincial service

A road crew supervisor wants Nova Scotia's new Liberal government to reconsider its plan to scrap the province's mobile asphalt plant.

On Wednesday the newly-appointed Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, GeoffMacLellan, said he wants to leave paving to the private sector and shelve the government-owned mobile asphalt plant.

But provincial worker Sheldon Garland said the premier and his minister of transportation don’t understand the plant’s value.

Garland started a Facebook group in support of the plant because he feels it is tax money well spent.

"I believe we're doing the job and we're doing very good paving and chip seal work. I'd really like to see Stephen McNeil and GeoffMacLellan really look at their numbers before they make any decisions,” he said.

Garland said the road crews bring asphalt to parts of the province that haven't seen road work in decades. Beyond that he said crews spent money in those communities which helped boost the local economies.

But Transportation minister GeoffMacLellan is standing firm.

"Being in the paving business is something that we said we would get out of. We are getting out of it,” he told CBC.

MacLellan said anyone who has been assigned to the plant or the chip-sealing crew will be reassigned to other work.

He doesn't anticipate any layoffs.

In 2011, the New Democratic government announced it was buying the mobile paving plant and said it would save taxpayers millions of dollars every year. The government said private contractors were charging too much to pave rural roads.

Road builders roundly criticized the move as unfair competition, but bureaucrats said taxpayers were better off due to earlier tenders calls and better planning for paving projects.

The plant cost $3.5 million and went into operation last year after numerous delays due to missing parts and assembly time.

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