Eddie Joyce, MHA for the District of Bay of Islands, is
outraged with comments made by Minister Tom Rideout concerning emergency
repairs needed on Route 440 in McIver’s. Joyce says he has evidence that a
double standard exists in the way road work decisions are made in this
province and he wants Minister Rideout to explain his own statements and
those being made by other Conservative MHAs.
Joyce was referring to
comments made in an August 12, 2005 news release issued by Minister Rideout
indicating that a greater percentage of the road budget will be spent in
Conservative districts. A recent newspaper article (Clarenville Packet,
August 1, 2005) also quotes three backbench Conservative MHA’s claiming to
have control over an "individual district highway budget".
"In an August 1st news release, Minister Rideout spoke about
the use of proper process and protocol for prioritizing road work in the
province," said Joyce. "I spoke to the Minister personally, wrote two
letters, issued two news releases and spoke to local media about the
condition of the road in this area. I have followed all proper protocol in
bringing this issue to the Minister’s attention, yet he has refused to
initiate emergency repairs to this section of highway on Route 440. The
Minister is misleading the public by saying he was not aware of the
dangerous part of the highway in McIver’s.
"In his release today, the Minister is openly admitting that patronage
and stubbornness is the main reason why the road to McIver’s hasn’t been
repaired. It is now clear that all districts are not being treated equally
when making decisions about road work. The newspaper article and today’s
news release clearly indicate that PC members are not only being treated
differently, but they are openly bragging about having control over a
certain portion of the budget for the districts they represent."
The Liberal MHA has been trying for months to get the Minster of
Transportation, Tom Rideout, to allocate funding to deal with a serious
safety issue on the road to McIver’s on the north shore of the Bay of
Islands. "This section of road is crumbling, its condition is very dangerous
and must be repaired immediately before a serious accident occurs.
"The Minister refuses to admit that officials in his department have put
forth a recommendation to fix the road. The Minister is clearly not being
honest with the residents using this road and I demand that he explain his
comments and move forward with emergency repairs immediately."