I was disappointed, although not surprised, to learn that the provincial institution will not be built in Springhill. During my years on council ,from 2004-2008, we were aware of the possibility of such a facility being built in Springhill. The council of that time was extremely supportive of this action.
MLA Murray Scott worked tirelessly over a period of several years to make this possibility a reality. Mayor Allen Dill and the current council are currently putting every effort imaginable into preventing the loss of this institution.
Mr. Landry, Minister of Justice, agreed to look into the proposed business plan, budget, and strategic elements of placement for the institution. When invited to discuss Springhill's proposal, Mr. Landry spent a very brief period of time in the town discussing the matter with local officials. It is my opinion that he did not give adequate consideration to the very real advantages of locating this facility in our town. Our proximity to the federal institution and its many programs, a state-of-the-art community centre, which is currently utilized as a training facility by the federal penitentiary, and the availability of geothermal power and a prime parcel of land are just part of the package Springhill could offer.
Perhaps the most upsetting factor is that the New Democratic Party has always presented itself as the party of the "working person."
Springhill, with its history in coal mining and its involvement in trade unionism, (up to and including the recent work of Springhill's own Rick Clark) should be the kind of community the NDP favors.
Another disappointment in this entire process was the criticism of one of the municipal units concerning placement of the facility in Springhill.
We sincerely appreciate the support of Mayor Robert Small and his Amherst council following the earlier announcement that the facility was to be placed in Springhill. If the institution had gone to Amherst instead of Springhill, we would have returned the favor by supporting Mayor Small and the Town of Amherst. Our county must work together in promoting our future.
In conclusion, I wish to praise Mayor Dill, Council and MLA Murray Scott for continuing their efforts to reverse the decision of the NDP government. Should the NDP fail to consider their proposal I would suggest that the provincial government must seriously consider an alternative means of assisting our struggling communities in Cumberland.