Lots of finger-pointing in blame game over stalled Sydney library
Published Monday, May 13, 2019 10:29PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, May 13, 2019 11:01PM ADT
The future of a new library in downtown Sydney is unclear and it's not clear who's responsible for the confusion.
The mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality says the project's dead, but the provincial and federal governments say the municipality's dropped the ball.
Regardless of who’s to blame, the project is at a standstill.
“I think this time has shown us that we really need to work together and all get on the same page as to where this project stands and find a solution as to how we can advance this project forward,” said Kathleen Yurchesyn, the executive director of the Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Yurchesyn is also part of a committee that has called a public meeting over the funding confusion.
“I don't believe that the project will not happen,” said Michelle Wilson of the Downtown Development Association. “I guess, worst-case scenario, it's prolonged. I don't see it not happening because there's too much need for it to not happen.”
But at a council meeting last week, Mayor Cecil Clarke called the project dead. After he says the application for federal money can't be submitted before Ottawa stops making announcements ahead of this fall's election.
Both Cape Breton Liberal MPs disagreed and in an email statement said the application has to come from the province.
“I think that comment was a little dramatic,” said CBRM Coun. Amanda McDougall. “The project is clearly not dead. Is it going in the direction that we want in this moment? No. There's work to be done. I don't see the need to add any extra flare to an already chaotic process.”
The new facility could cost up to $31 million. The CBRM has offered to put up $7 million in cash and land in an effort to leverage provincial and federal funding. The Liberal MLA for the area says CBRM submitted a proposal in December, but funding for the project didn't quality under the province's green environmental projects.
“So, the issue is nobody seems to know whether applications were submitted correctly or if there's even funding streams available,” McDougall says.
So far, neither the feds nor the province has committed to cost-sharing the project.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.