Nova Scotia

N.S. government's chip-sealing job panned

Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservatives say a road in front of an NDP minister's home that was the subject of a controversial chip-sealing job is crumbling and has pot holes after less than a year.

Roads repaired last year already crumbling, says opposition

Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservatives say a road in front of an NDP minister's home that was the subject of a controversial chip-sealing job is crumbling and has pot holes after less than a year.

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said the work, done by provincial road crews, was substandard and will have to be repaired at the taxpayers' expense.

"Less than a year later and the roads have already deteriorated to the point where they need to be done again," Baillie told CBC News on Monday.

"A better solution which would have saved taxpayers' money, had a better quality of work and allowed more roads to be done in the end, would have been to just tender the roads better."

Last year, the NDP government created an 11-member chip-sealing crew because it said private road builders were overcharging the government in some parts of the province.

Officials with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said the creation of the crew was a success because it forced private road builders to lower their prices.

But the opposition and members of the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association criticized the work, saying the government's chip-sealing operation didn't meet the targets it promised.

The NDP government was also accused of influencing a decision to chip-seal a section of Renfrew Road in East Hants, which leads to the home of John MacDonell — the Minister of Agriculture and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

Grant Feltmate, the executive director of the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association, said his members aren't surprised to hear the roads will need to be repaired.

"We thought there would be quality problems, now there are. If what you're trying to do is something beneficial for the taxpayer — stop," he said.

Officials with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal told CBC News only a few hundred metres of the 40 kilometers of road chip-sealed last fall will have to be repaired. The bill will be a few thousand dollars, according to the chief engineer for the department.

Baillie said taxpayers are having to pay twice for the same work — once for the original chip-sealing job and now for the repairs.

"Here we are now, almost at the end of June, the government should have all their tenders out so that competitive bids can be brought in but they're only 25 per cent through the list," he said.

Nova Scotia plans to use the government chip-sealing crew for work on up to 250 kilometres of road this year.

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