AMHERST – Justice Minister Ross Landry is disappointed with how Amherst Mayor Robert Small is handling his department’s move of eight government jobs to New Waterford.
Landry, who was in Amherst on Friday to meet with employees of the Cumberland County Correctional Centre, said he is flabbergasted at the mayor’s comments.
“I was very disappointed with the mayor’s comments. This government supports Amherst and it supports this area’s MLA, Brian Skabar,” Landry said. “I was flabbergasted that he used me to take a shot at my counterpart.”
On Thursday, Small said he remains frustrated with the province’s decision to close the Cumberland County Correctional Centre in favour of a new jail under construction near Thorburn, Pictou County and he’s upset with the decision, announced last month, to close the Maintenance Enforcement Office in Amherst and move its eight jobs to New Waterford.
He also said he plans to be much louder with the province and said the area’s MLA has been silent on both the jail and Maintenance Enforcement issues.
Landry said the province has supported Amherst by providing funding to both PolyCello and LED Roadway Lighting in the industrial park and a new West Highlands Elementary School.
He also said Skabar has been very active in the caucus room speaking up for Amherst and he was shocked to hear the mayor say otherwise.
The minister also said the jail decision was not based only on geography, while the decision Maintenance Enforcement was based on what clients want.
Landry said it was Skabar who helped organize a meeting with the minister and the mayor that was supposed to take place on Friday in Amherst, but the mayor asked to move it to Halifax last Wednesday. He’s disappointed the mayor, or someone with the town, did not inform the MLA.
Despite this, Landry said he will continue to work with the mayor and council and that the government will continue to support the area.