Nova Scotia

64% of chip sealed roads in NDP ridings

About two thirds of the chip sealing work done this summer was in NDP-held ridings, according to data released by the Dexter government.

About two thirds of the chip sealing work done this summer was in NDP-held ridings, according to data released by the Dexter government Friday.

The government reports that 64 per cent of the roads chip sealed were in government ridings. However, the party holds 60 per cent of the ridings in the legislature.

Cove Road in Porters Lake was one of the first roads chip sealed by the government's new paving crew this year.

"It makes a better surface," said long-time resident Allan Crowell. However, when CBC asked him if the road needed the work, Crowell said, "I lived here for 66 years and I didn't need it."

He said it's an improvement over gravel and potholes. But the tiny repair job is getting attention because Cove Road is also home to former provincial NDP leader and MP Robert Chisholm.

The work was already under scrutiny because private road builders say government has no business in this line of work.

They released information showing only a fraction of the chip sealing promised was ever delivered.

Another road completed this summer is Grand Lake Road, home to NDP cabinet minister John MacDonnell.

Crowell doubts his road was fixed because of his well-known neighbors.

"I've never heard them even complain about the road when it was just gravel. So it's just somebody trying to dig at somebody," Crowell said.

That's also the view of the NDP government.  It maintains politics had nothing to do with where its chip sealing crew went during its first year in operation.

"I have never once gone to the engineers and said 'do this road.' That list is brought to me on the basis of priority whether it's chip sealing or paving, it's approved on that basis," said Transportation Minister Bill Estabrooks.

Education Minister Ramona Jennex's riding of Coldbrook Village, Kings County was not on the capital list, but roads that needed maintanence were fixed. However, the government said it was chip-sealed because the crew was already in the area.

Next year the government will expand its paving operation to include a mobile asphalt paving plant.