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Nova Scotia paving issue

Pressing Issues: NS Chambers of Commerce Challenge Government Decision to Get into Paving Business.†The Nova Scotia government should be doing more business with the private sector, not less. Thatís the reaction from the Nova Scotia Chambers of Commerce after reviewing the provinceís plan to get into the paving business.

“This is, without question, a backward step for Nova Scotia,” said NSCoC president Wayne Fiander. “This move into a high-capital cost business and one that requires efficient, effective and coordinated delivery of material and people is one that should be left to the private sector.” The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal recently decided to spend $6 million on paving equipment it claims would save money on certain tenders for paving over the long term. The Nova Scotia Chambers of Commerce finds this claim hard to substantiate. “I do not believe that government, which has to pay union wages and benefits, can effectively deliver any service more efficiently than the private sector, let alone road paving,” explains Fiander.



Whatís next, government run dealers and garages?

The NSCoC is also concerned that there appears to have been very little, if any, consultation with industry stakeholders before this decision was made. “We can’t help but wonder what’s next? In what other areas will this government decide it can compete with the private sector,” said Fiander. “We are requesting that this initiative be shelved, at least until the proper consultation with industry stakeholders takes place. Our preference would be to see it eliminated as an option entirely.” In a letter addressed to Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Bill Estabrooks, Fiander wrote,  ‘This plan is, in fact, directly against what the Minister of Finance said to our executive a few weeks ago in a budget consultation meeting. He stated that government has to resist knee-jerk decisions and go slow in making changes.’

The letter went on to state: 

‘It also means that untendered work will now simply pop up and be subject to political influence and not the provincial Department of Infrastructure Renewal’s priority list. The NSCoC would encourage the Nova Scotia government to revert to more private sector delivery of services, not less.’ The NSCoC respectfully requests that the plan to purchase paving equipment be shelved at least until the proper consultation with the industry can take place. Our preference is that it be eliminated as an option entirely.

Further details will be revealed as this story continues to unfold.  



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