A funding request from the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission is at risk of not being considered if plans for the facility aren’t soon announced, Truro’s mayor says.
“I know that we’ve had a request from the Ex for some funding,” Bill Mills said. “And that request would be contingent upon what the province is going to do.”
In early December, Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell met in a closed session with officials from the NSPEC board and management as well as the mayors of Truro, Colchester and Stewiacke and the chair of the Village of Bible Hill Commission to discuss plans for how the province plans to handle operations of the NSPEC and the Truro Raceway.
Although Mills said he is not at liberty to discuss those plans, he said Colwell gave the impression that an announcement would be forthcoming in the near future.
Meeting participants were also told there would be no layoffs at the facility before Christmas.
Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River MLA Lenore Zann previously told the Truro Daily News she was informed by Colwell last fall that the province plans to split the NSPEC operations from the Truro Raceway.
A spokesperson for Colwell’s office said there is no information to share at this time. Previous statements have indicated that the NSPEC is “an important organization for the agriculture sector and for the economy in the region and province” and that the minister’s officer is “working with the exhibition.”
Mills said the funding request to the town came in before the end of the December, as is required to be considered in the next year’s budget. No monetary amount was attached to the request, he said.
“As it stands right now we don’t know anything and we’re going to be starting our budget deliberations shortly,” Mills said. “In order to consider something, obviously we have no direction from the province. The town is not going to consider funding at this point until we know whether it’s in-kind or what. So that kind of puts us in a spot.”
Mills said he also finds it “very unusual” that the province has not made any announcement regarding the NSPE given the impression Colwell left the meeting participants in December, especially when it was mutually agreed that it is going to take a collective effort to get the NSPEC back to a stable financial situation.
“My understanding was that a press release would be coming soon. And it didn’t happen and here we are close to two months ago,” he said. “And that meeting, when we left that day, we all agreed it is going to take effort from a lot of folks to make sure that this thing works.”