‘I’m looking to her as Lisa from Whitney Pier’
MacLellan pushes federal counterpart for MV Miner help
Despite the federal government’s repeated rejection of provincial requests for financial help with the MV Miner cleanup, provincial minister Geoff MacLellan says he’ ll continue to push for a change of heart.
While in Sydney this week for a couple of announcements federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, a Whitney Pier native, has reiterated her stance that the federal government isn’t responsible for any part of the clean- up bill. She’s also stressed that the bulk carrier wasn’t an impediment to navigation, and therefore Transport Canada is not involved — suggesting MacLellan direct his requests to the federal environment and fisheries departments.
MacLellan, the minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal, said Thursday he remains disappointed in Raitt’s position on an important issue for the island.
“I’m looking to her as Lisa from Whitney Pier,” he said. “This isn’t about the transport portfolio specifically, this is about the MV Miner that really was an extreme crisis that could have been, had we not removed it.”
The MV Miner, a 12,000tonne, 223- metre bulk carrier, ran aground off Scatarie Island after a tow line snapped in rough seas during transit to Turkey from Montreal in September 2011.
The cleanup of it was originally forecast to cost $ 11.9 million.
“We crafted a tender based on information we received directly from the federal government that said there were no contaminants on board,” said MacLellan. “We found significant asbestos and significant diesel, which pushed not only the timeline back, but also there will be a multiplier of a few million dollars minimum on the additional cost because of those contaminants.”
MacLellan said the final price tag for the MV Miner cleanup is still being determined and when it is, he plans to once again seek federal help with the bill.
“I still haven’t given up hope,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s environment, I don’t care if it’s fisheries, I don’t care if it’s transport — the federal government has a role to play here and we expect them to live up to that.”