Belliveau: Liberals shouldn’t stop paving roads

March 13, 2014

(Shelburne, NS) NDP Transportation critic Sterling Belliveau is worried about the Liberal decision to stop paving rural roads.

Belliveau made the comments after learning the Liberal government is tearing up asphalt and making parts of Highway 203 between Kemptville to Shelburne into gravel road. The Liberal government claims it will save about $10 million with the decision, which is the same total the paving budget was cut by in 2014-2015. Belliveau says he had been informed previously that sections of the road would either be chip sealed or paved, not just left as gravel.

“It concerns me the Liberal government is trying to save money on the backs of rural communities,” said Belliveau. “It’s no secret Nova Scotia has an infrastructure deficit, but significant progress has been made in the past few years. In order to strengthen our economy we need to be improving infrastructure not tearing it down.”

Belliveau added, “Given the significance of this decision, I’m concerned the Liberals didn’t include it in the most recent paving plan. The government has an obligation to be upfront with the public about paving decisions.”

In the 1990s the Liberal government of the day made the decision to stop paving rural roads. Belliveau is concerned history is about to repeat itself.

“In the last few years about 18km of Hwy 203 have been repaved but I guess the Liberals aren’t interested in finishing the job,” said Belliveau. “It’s always disappointing when a government decides to halt progress and take a step backwards.”

Belliveau also would like to know if a lack of competitive tenders in the area and the elimination of the provincial paving plant and chip seal crew played a role in the decision.