January 10, 2019 4:42 pm
Updated: January 10, 2019 4:43 pm

McNeil says he applied no pressure to land project for his riding

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil heads to talk with reporters as the Canadian premiers meet in St. Andrews, N.B. on July 19, 2018.

The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he did not apply any pressure to the provincial department that spent $2.3 million on a new track and field facility in his constituency.

McNeil says he did work with the Bridgetown community in his role as its MLA to help put together the application, but he says he never “at any time” called the minister or deputy minister for the Communities Department to tell them the project had to be done.

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He takes issue with characterizations that he lobbied for the project and says it was approved through “the normal process.”

The project, which includes a grass field, an artificial turf field, and an eight-lane running track in Bridgetown, was announced last month with $1.1 million from Ottawa and two-thirds of the cost footed by the province.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston says while McNeil was within his rights to advocate for his constituents, there needs to be more transparency around why the funding decision was made when most communities are asked to pay a third of the bill under the Small Communities Fund program.

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On Wednesday, the deputy minister, Tracey Taweel, told reporters the community didn’t have the means to pay its share of the cost.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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