New public works minister Masland earmarks $32 million for road upgrades

A woman stands in front of a parked dump truck
Minister of Public Works, Queens MLA Kim Masland. Photo Ed Halverson
Ed Halverson - QCCR/CJQC - LiverpoolNS | 28-09-2021
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Queens MLA Kim Masland is opening the public purse in her first official announcement as Minister of Public Works.

Masland was at the public works depot in Liverpool to announce an additional $32.5 million dollars in funding to upkeep rural roads.

The money will go to improve Nova Scotia’s 8,400 kilometres of gravel roads through the purchase of materials and new equipment such as excavators, backhoes and graders.

Masland says the money will improve the lives of rural residents.

“Many people travel these everyday to go to work. We needs to make sure that our roads are in good structure for ambulances [and] fire trucks that need to get to people.”

The minister says an investment in infrastructure now will save taxpayers money in the long run

“The gravel road capitol program; that, is proactively rebuilding our already existing roads. And once we build those to the standard that they need to be built, it reduces our maintenance costs.”

It costs $100,000 to $125,000 per kilometre to repair a gravel road, which will function for approximately 15 years.

Masland says department staff is assessing which roads will be repaired first based on need, current condition and traffic volumes and a list of projects will be released once the jobs are put out to tender.

Monday’s announcement will increase the annual budgets of the programs involved in gravel road maintenance from $31 million to $62 million.

The minister also announced a $1 million Rink Revitalization Fund to help repair community rinks.

The money can be used to replace boards, update mechanical systems as well as improve spectator’s experience through refurbished seating and canteen facilities.

Masland says the department of Communities, Culture and Heritage will soon detail an application process on their website.

“The program will actually be a formula-based program for rink owners and operators to apply looking at lots of criteria: the age of the rink, the capitol requirement, the vicinity of the rink within the community.”

Masland says the province will begin accepting applications from rink managers in the next few weeks.

Twitter: @edwardhalverson

To listen to the broadcast of this story, press play below.