Liberal land deal raises serious questions

April 21, 2017

For Immediate Release

HALIFAX – NDP Leader Gary Burrill says Stephen McNeil needs to explain how forcing a senior on a fixed income to take a 90 minute bus ride to get the care they need is worth overpaying for land from a Liberal insider.

Yesterday Stephen McNeil announced his Liberal government will buy 15 acres of land in Bayers Lake for a new health centre. The current owner of the land is a Liberal donor who will be paid $7.5 million. The problem is the entire parcel of land, which is 10 times the size of what was purchased, is assessed at just $7,469,800.

“Answers are needed here,” said Burrill. “Locating a major health centre that will serve urban Halifax and Dartmouth in an industrial park that has very limited public transit options already seems quite odd. With the questions raised by the purchase price and the seller’s history with the Liberals, the public has the right to a further explanation from the Premier.”

NDP Health Critic and MLA for Sackville-Cobequid, Dave Wilson, is also very concerned about the land purchase as the government already owns additional land near the Cobequid Community Health Centre in Sackville. The Cobequid Centre could be expanded to relieve pressure on the hospitals in downtown Halifax and Dartmouth.

“Stephen McNeil said the location in Bayers Lake was chosen to make it easier for people in suburban HRM and rural Nova Scotia to access health facilities. If that’s the case, why not use land already owned by the government in Sackville? Its right next to major highways and to a major bus terminal, and it wouldn’t have cost any more public dollars to buy the land,” said Wilson. “This Bayers Lake location just doesn’t make any sense.”

NDP Health Critic Dave Wilson has written to the Auditor General to look into the land purchase.

“This morning, I sent a letter to the Auditor General, asking him to consider this issue and determine if there is any action required. The public must have confidence that important decisions about our health care are not influenced by partisan interests,” said Wilson.

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For more information please contact Kaley Kennedy at (902) 229-8661 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca