Re­quest re­fused

CBRM won’t re­lease as­sess­ment of prop­erty

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NANCY KING

The Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has re­fused a re­quest to re­lease the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment of the pri­vate water­front prop­erty it hopes to ac­quire to con­struct a sec­ond cruise ship berth.

The Cape Bre­ton Post made an ap­pli­ca­tion un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion and Pro­tec­tion of Pri­vacy Act for the as­sess­ment, which has been re­ferred to in a con­sul­tant’s re­port on the fea­si­bil­ity of the project and to which Mayor Ce­cil Clarke has made ref­er­ence in in­ter­views.

The CBRM has in­di­cated the pre­ferred lo­ca­tion for the sec­ond berth is a site cur­rently owned by North Syd­ney busi­ness­man Jerry Nick­er­son.

In a let­ter deny­ing The Post’s re­quest, clerk Deb­o­rah Camp­bell re­ferred to sec­tions un­der the Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment Act. The first is in re­spect to con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion.

“The re­spon­si­ble of­fi­cer shall, un­less the third party con­sents, refuse to dis­close to an ap­pli­cant in­for­ma­tion … com­mer­cial, fi­nan­cial, labour re­la­tions, sci­en­tific or tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion of a third party … that is sup­plied, im­plic­itly or ex­plic­itly, in con­fi­dence … the dis­clo­sure of which could rea­son­ably be ex­pected to harm sig­nif­i­cantly the com­pet­i­tive po­si­tion, or in­ter­fere sig­nif­i­cantly with the ne­go­ti­at­ing po­si­tion, of the third party; re­sult in sim­i­lar in­for­ma­tion no longer be­ing sup­plied to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity when it is in the pub­lic in­ter­est that sim­i­lar in­for­ma­tion con­tinue to be sup­plied.”

The let­ter also said the re­port is sub­ject to so­lic­i­tor-client priv­i­lege.

The Post also re­quested any staff re­ports on the find­ings of the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment but was told there are no such

staff re­ports.

A re­port on the due dili­gence of the sec­ond berth was made

pub­lic ear­lier this year. Con­sul­tant CPCS was funded by the pro­vin­cial De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Re­newal and the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency. Both agen­cies have since an­nounced that they will pro­vide their por­tions of the fund­ing for the $20-mil­lion cost-shared project, which the CBRM had iden­ti­fied as its top in­fra­struc­ture pri­or­ity.

The Nick­er­son prop­erty is known to have some con­tam­i­na­tion re­lated to its for­mer in­dus­trial uses. While the ex­tent of the con­tam­i­na­tion is un­clear, Clarke said when the fed­eral-pro­vin­cial fund­ing an­nounce­ment was made that some base­line work had taken place and there is avail­able lo­cal ex­per­tise in re­me­di­a­tion.

In its re­port, CPCS said the pri­mary risk as­so­ci­ated with the project re­lates to the po­ten­tial for cost over­runs. De­tailed en­gi­neer­ing for the project is un­der­way.

The re­port stated, “that the price for the ac­qui­si­tion of the Nick­er­son prop­erty is con­sid­er­ably higher than bud­geted in the fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion ($6 mil­lion vs. $1.5 mil­lion bud­geted). This re­mains un­re­solved though CBRM could choose to ex­pro­pri­ate the land. This land is also con­tam­i­nated and we are not sat­is­fied that the po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal re­me­di­a­tion costs have been ap­pro­pri­ately ac­counted for in the es­ti­mated costs of the sec­ond berth project.”

Over­all, the CPCS re­port found that the sec­ond berth pro­posal had merit.

Clarke has said, if nec­es­sary, the CBRM could ex­pro­pri­ate the land or could look at a dif­fer­ent de­sign that would not re­quire the Nick­er­son prop­erty.

In the event that there are cost over­runs, they would be the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the CBRM, although Clarke has in­sisted the CBRM will work within the $20-mil­lion en­ve­lope.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

This is a ren­der­ing of what the sec­ond cruise ship berth at the port of Syd­ney could look like. The CBRM has de­nied a re­quest from the Post un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion and Pro­tec­tion of Pri­vacy Act for the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment done on the pre­ferred site for the berth.

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