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.

Photo by An­drew Robin­son/The Com­pass

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.

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