Rural Cape Breton passed over in decisions made behind closed doors
INVERNESS, NS – Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster is deeply concerned that the last round of recreation funding was not open to all community groups in Cape Breton.
A recent announcement for projects funded by the McNeil government shows money was given to some community groups and other organizations while others never had a chance to apply.
“This program is supposed to be application based, not determined through closed discussions,” says MacMaster. “This process leaves one wondering how fair the government’s process was for recreation funding?”
MacMaster asked about the program in the legislature on May 12, but the Minister responsible did not indicate that the deadline had already passed on May 2. Interestingly, the budget did not pass 3rd reading in the legislature until May 6.
“It appears the money was earmarked for certain community groups before others even had a chance to apply,” says MacMaster. “Successful applicants in Cape Breton were announced on June 14, but no groups outside of CBRM received funding.”
The recreation funding program is very important for community centres, ball fields, rinks and other facilities that offer physical activities. It is particularly important for rural areas that depend on these facilities to provide activities for everyone from children to seniors.
The McNeil government needs to explain why the program disappeared from the Department of Health and Wellness last year when applications were not being provided to community groups.
“Somehow, the program reappeared with a closing date before the budget was even passed,” says MacMaster. “Who got to fill out application forms? Who decided who got to fill them out? Why was this program not offered the same way it had always been – in a fair and open manner?”