Port of Saint John awaiting federal commitment on modernization deal
A $200-million deal to modernize the Port of Saint John remains on paper, as it has yet to receive approval from Ottawa.
The deal signed over the summerof 2015 would see federal and provincial governments each contributing $68 million, as well as the Port itself.
"It's one of those projects that everybody recognizes has to happen," said Pat Riley of the International Longshoremen’s Association.
But provincial officials say that federal approval was announced too soon, and with a pending election in mind.
At the time, Conservative MP Rodney Weston spoke of the funding being approved.
"This is the only project that we've had so far approved under the national infrastructure program," said Rodney.
Economic Development Minister Rick Doucet says the people of Saint John were "misled" about the supposed approval.
But current Liberal MP Wayne Long has a different interpretation.
"If you really cut through the fine print, what it said was, the Port was eligible for funding,” said Long. “I think from that the community was led to believe it was a done deal, the announcement was about delivering the funds, but in fact it wasn't."
Those who know the Port best are waiting patiently.
"The new government is going to have to dot the I's and cross the T's,” said Riley. “They're in the process of doing that we're told.”
Riley remains confident the project will not be delayed by the continuing approval process.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.