This slid in under the radar:
Kelly set to deliver wish list
'Shovel-ready' items include library, convention centre
By AMY PUGSLEY FRASER City Hall Reporter
Thu. Jan 15 - 12:27 PM
[i]Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly and his cross-Canada counterparts will be saying "Show me the money" when they meet with two key federal cabinet ministers in Ottawa this morning.
The group known as Big City Mayors, representing 22 of Canada’s largest cities, will present a wish list of 1,000 infrastructure projects totalling $13 billion to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Transport Minister John Baird, who is responsible for infrastructure.
» Click here for a list of projects[url=http://www.fcm.ca//CMFiles/FCM%20Shovel%20Ready%20report_list%20En%20web1NHM-1142009-572.pdf]http://www.fcm.ca//CMFiles/FCM%20Shovel ... 09-572.pdf[/url]
“These are shovel-ready projects," Mr. Kelly said Wednesday at city hall before boarding a plane for Ottawa.
This is the time to make a point, he said, with the federal budget coming on Jan. 27.
And Canada’s premiers will meet Friday, also in Ottawa, and the Big City Mayors will draft a letter to them as well.
"It’s important to do this now, when there is the opportunity to put a very clear message to the federal and provincial politicians," Mr. Kelly said.
"We’re putting out the clear message that we have projects, across the country, that would mean 156,000 jobs and affect 20 million people."
Halifax’s proposed projects alone total $1.2 billion, Mr. Kelly said.
"The list is extensive," he said, and includes big-ticket items like a convention centre ($150 million), outdoor stadium ($65 million), downtown library ($60 million) and four-rink ice complex ($35 million) as well as basic infrastructure upgrades and repairs.
While some of the larger items would be located in downtown Halifax, Mr. Kelly was quick to point out that the list includes projects for every corner of Halifax Regional Municipality.
"They are all spread out," he said.
The city faces significant pressure to keep its aging infrastructure safe and in good working condition, the mayor said.
"Our regional plan lays out HRM’s vision for the next 25 years, taking into consideration our existing infrastructure deficit, and works toward decreasing it," he said.
"With additional federal funding, some of HRM’s infrastructure projects could get started in 2009."
Many of the items have been on Halifax’s wish list for years but the list has been updated in recent weeks, Mr. Kelly said.
"This is part of the five-year program and we keep expanding it," he said.
The mayors expect the federal government to start chipping away at the requests by providing financing directly through the gasoline tax.
Mr. Kelly said that model has worked "very well" in Nova Scotia but more money is needed if projects are to get underway.
"We’ve done a great job in terms of focusing and detailing our needs over the years so the provincial and federal governments know where the needs are from coast to coast to coast," he said.
The Big City Mayors also plan to meet this morning with opposition leaders Jack Layton of the NDP and Michael Ignatieff of the Liberals.