Council news

Mulgrave joins MODG in opposing legislation that favours CBRM in port development

By Helen Murphy    

MULGRAVE – At its regular monthly council meeting on Monday evening, March 19, town council voted in favour of adding its voice to growing opposition to the McNeil government's proposed changes to the Municipal Government Act (MGA) that give advantages to developments at the Port of Sydney.

If passed in the legislature, the changes would allow CBRM to sell land for port developments at below market value and offer special tax concessions for commercial projects, such as a proposed container terminal at the port. The changes would not apply to other municipalities, including the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, where the Melford International Terminal is planned.

Mulgrave council expressed concern that the legislation amounted to an "unleveling" of the playing field in the current MGA, Mulgrave's CAO Jim Davison told The Journal.

Citing "inherent flaws" in the proposed legislation, the town will convey its objections to the provincial government.

MODG has already expressed its opposition to the legislation to the Liberal government, along with the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce and others. The proposal also brought sharp criticism from the Melford project, which already paid market value to the province and the MODG for the lands it needs along the Strait of Canso.

"Council strongly agrees with MODG on this," said Davison.

In other council news, the town is awaiting a hazardous substance assessment on Mulgrave Education Centre from the Strait Regional School Board, which is due at the end of April. The town is required to take over ownership of the building once it closes as a school this summer.

After the assessment is received, the town will issue a request for proposals for a study of the building, its potential demolition and any options for re-purposing of the facility -- including costs for each option. Council has expressed concerns to the provincial government that it will be saddled with costs it can't afford because it is required to take over ownership of the building, even though it was not consulted on the earlier addition to the building and the school itself served an area bigger than the town.