Monday, March 11, 2013

Many kind words, but little funding for airport access initiatives

The would be link to Digby Island's airport is perhaps paved with Good Intentions, but at the moment it will have to suffice with a rather slim bankroll.

For those hoping for a quick solution to the much maligned current transportation system between the city and its airport, the mail has brought word that patience will be required.

In Council's Information package for their Monday evening meeting, there are a pair of letters from the Provincial Government, replies from the Transportation Ministry answering a correspondence from the City on the topic of Digby Island and access to it.

For the moment however,  they are a pair of twin correspondences that won't really moving us any closer to a more permanent (and more desired) solution to our transportation options back and forth across the harbour.

Industry and Transportation Minister Mary Polak writes to council to advise the City that she has seen their most recent correspondence, apparently passed along by the Premier herself.

In her correspondence Minister Polak expresses her thoughts on the importance of the Airport to the community and the changing nature of developments here. Advising that she has put her Ministry staff onto the file in order to achieve the benefits sought by the City.

(See Letter here click on box 2)

Her staff, in this case, the Assistant Deputy Minister, Jacquie Dawes is the one who provides the bad news for a quick resolution to the now decades old issue. A note of support for the goal of better access to the airport, but with a regret that at this time funding towards the "infrastructure components" of that initiative won't be available.

And to answer the often quoted suggestion that the road on Digby Island and the Ferry that leads to it may be a provincial responsibility, she also bears bad news for Council.

The Deputy Minister, on behalf of the provincial government has advised the City that after consultation with her Ministry staff, the road on Digby Island is not considered to be part of the provincial highway network and falls within the City's jurisdiction.

(See Letter here click on box 1)

In Her letter, the Transportation Minister made mention of her then planned trip to Prince Rupert (she was here on Friday for the Port's groundbreaking ceremony for their Utility, Road and Rail project) with the thought that the issue of Digby Island could be discussed at that time.

Perhaps the Mayor will have an update for Council on Monday night, highlighting the nature of those talks and if progress on the access planning is set for a faster track than what it seems to be at the moment.

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