Sea storms spark debat
Liberal finance critic meets with region in Carbonear
Liberal MP and opposition finance critic Scott Brison visited the region with Avalon MP Scott Andrews on Jan. 20 to hear local views in the lead-up to the next federal budget, which is due in March.
A gathering inside the Town of Carbonear’s council chambers attracted about a dozen representatives from several communities, including Harbour Grace, New Perlican, Whiteway, and Brigus. Concern over federal funds to help municipalities deal with the aftermath of sea storms was amongst several topics discussed.
Carbonear mayor Sam Slade says the sea storm just before Christmas that damaged the breakwater along Beach Road has left the town wondering what it will do fix the damage now and in the future, should storms occur with greater frequency and power.
“ There’s only so much the community can do itself,” says the mayor. “ There’s only so much you can ask the residents to pay.”
Deputy mayor Ches Ash says there is funding available for repairs relating to heavy rainfall and windstorms, but nothing for damage resulting from sea storms.
“A harbour is vital to a community and it should be recognized,” says Ash.
Brison, the MP for Kings-Hants in Nova Scotia, says there is a need in Canada to prepare for the probability of more storms in the future due to the threat of climate change. A federal fund dedicated to such spending measures is one possible option, he says.
Deputy mayor Ash also spoke about the need to cover rising waste treatment expenses. While applauding new steps taken by the federal government to prohibit the dumping of untreated waste into the ocean, he says municipalities need the proper financial support to meet those regulations.
“ Just doing it is an astronomical expense,” he says, adding that maintenance costs may lead to an overall expense beyond a municipality’s means. Brison agrees. “ If the federal government brings in regulations that will raise costs, then they need to find a way to share costs.”
Other topics discussed included issues pertaining to cellphone and Internet coverage in the region, improved Employment Insurance for entrepreneurs, and additional support for students pursuing a post-secondary education.
Brison says the Liberal’s priorities for the upcoming budget include homecare, family care, training, and controlled spending.
A pair of Scotts could be found inside the Town of Carbonear’s council chambers on Jan. 20. Liberal finance critic Scott Brison, left, and Avalon MP Scott Andrews met with about a dozen representatives of the Trinity-Conception region to talk about matters affecting their communities.