NDP irresponsible for not including rink funding on budget, says local MLA Casey

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO - The NDP government is shortchanging community skating arenas by failing to include a $2-million rink revitalization program in its first budget, Truro Bible Hill MLA Karen Casey says.
"Whether providing a venue for hockey games, festivals or fitness equipment, rinks create a sense of community and a chance for people to get involved in activities that contribute to healthy living," she said. "Unfortunately, after basic operating costs are taken care of, there is nothing left to spend on the maintenance of these facilities. We saw this as a safety issue since many of these buildings are getting older and are in serious need of basic repair."
Her comments are in reference to a commitment by the previous Conservative government to direct $2 million in funding for community rinks towards structural repairs, Zamboni maintenance, and upgrades to washrooms, air quality systems and parking areas.
The program was developed by Nova Scotia Health Promotion and Protection and the Recreation Facility Association of Nova Scotia and Casey described the new government as being "irresponsible ... for trying to save money at the expense of something so many Nova Scotians consider important and necessary to ensuring their physical fitness - particularly in rural areas where there are limited alternatives."
More than 74 rinks each received $27,000 last year but Casey said the program was "inexplicably absent" from last Thursday's budget.
One line in Casey's press release, however, refers to the program as a "one-time" investment and a senior advisor for Health Promotion Minister Maureen MacDonald suggested the Conservatives were simply playing politics with their criticism.
"They know it's a one-time program and they're just playing silly bugger, frankly," said the advisor, who offered to provide comment because the minister was unavailable but who also asked not to be named.
"It was never intended to be more than a one-time program," he said. "One of the reasons that the minister decided not to renew this was because there was no criteria at all. It wasn't based on need."
As well, the department already provides a similar initiative called the Recreation Facility Development Program, the spokesperson said.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Health Promotion, Recreation Facility Association of Nova Scotia and Casey, Conservatives

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Recent comments

  • Charinator
    January 18, 2010 - 10:18

    Give it to them Casey

    When we try to speak our minds in comments they are edited or deleted..

    freedom of speech my a$$.

  • Charinator
    January 18, 2010 - 10:16

    Zann

    Well Ronald it was a lot like an episode of x-men where rouge was missing

    No voice, no rouge.. well I just did nothing and still got paid!!

  • ron
    January 18, 2010 - 10:09

    I think Karen Casey has got to get her facts straight before going off half cocked. If it was a one year program as has been reported, you know the MacDonald government would have dropped it in this budget as well if they won. Furthermore, an amount of money distributed without a proper needs assessment process is nothing more than an unveiled attempt at vote buying- especially in a fiscal year when an election is imminent. There are other things Ms. Casey can legitimately find to criticize this government. Perhaps her lack of leadership skills are becoming apparent.

  • Rick
    January 18, 2010 - 09:56

    So Karen wants to add another $2M onto the debt to add to the legacy of the former Conservative leader Rodney MacDonald. Way to go Karen, keep up the tradition.

  • Micki
    January 18, 2010 - 09:51

    When are the Tories going to get leader?

  • Aurora
    January 18, 2010 - 09:48

    If 74 rinks each received $27,000 last year than that is just shy of $2-million. I know $27,000 isn't a lot of money -- you can't do a lot with that amount in an older stadium, but I am not so sure that communities should expect that same $2M for rinks multiple years in a row.

    I think that it is time for communities to look past government funding and start doing some serious fundraising. Charge all sports players $1 to $2, included in team registration fees and have that go directly to the stadium where they play/practice the most. Families are always looking for a cheap but fun evening out with the kids. Why not host special events and fundraiser games at the rinks with the procedes going directly to a maintainance fund? Let people buy stadium seats (e.g. larger donations to have your name engraved on a seat plaque). There are many things one can do instead of sitting around and doing nothing while waiting for government funding. Work on better promotional sponsor programs and opportunities.

  • michelle
    January 18, 2010 - 09:45

    Oh for crying out loud!!! There are more pressing needs in this province. I for one would love to live on a road that does not require my car to be repaired on a monthly basis because the potholes are so large I could lose a kid in them.

  • Ronald
    January 18, 2010 - 09:42

    What happened to Lenore Zann? Talking about leadership skills! Clarify what she has done in the community. Karen is a fine leader.

  • dave
    January 18, 2010 - 09:39

    shame on the paper for not naming the advisor.