Federal government rejects Inverness airport proposal

OTTAWA: A publicly funded airport proposed for the Inverness area was rejected by the federal government.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) issued a press release today which included a link to a statement from the Minister of Rural Economic Development, Bernadette Jordan.

“The minister of Rural Economic Development has cancelled the review of the Cape Breton Island Airport proposal,” the statement reads. “Projects submitted under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream [RNIS], must improve the quality of life in those communities by responding to rural and northern specific needs. There is not enough information at this time to demonstrate how this project will respond to Cape Breton’s needs.”

However, Jordan’s letter urges the provincial government, municipalities and project partners to submit a revised proposal.

“The project will not receive approval until such time the proponent can submit a revised proposal which would clearly demonstrate how the proposed airport would improve the quality of life for residents in those communities,” the statement reads. “We encourage the province and project partners to work together with municipalities and other interested parties on a revised proposal that clearly fits the RNIS project criteria.”

The CTF said news that Jordan officially rejected the proposed $18 million for a luxury golf course airport in Cape Breton was a “victor for taxpayers.”

“Minister Jordan deserves praise for recognizing that this luxury golf course airport is clearly not a good use of precious tax dollars,” said CTF Atlantic Director Paige MacPherson. “Taxpayers made their voices heard loud and clear on this issue and stopping this waste before it happened is a real hole-in-one.”

The CTF collected more than 15,000 signatures on its petition opposing funding for the airport.

Yesterday, the CTF asked petition signers to phone Minister Jordan’s office to voice their opposition to spending taxpayers’ money on the project.

Minister Jordan’s statement rejecting the project, acquired by the CTF today, can be found at: http://www.taxpayer.com/media/airport_email_statement.JPG.

The proposed airport would have been located one hour away from an existing airport in Port Hawkesbury and two hours from an airport in Sydney, shortening the commutes of guests at the Cabot Links golf resort by a one-hour drive.

“The wealthy golf course owners were wrong to demand tax dollars, particularly coming from a fund that would otherwise go toward road repairs or food security in rural communities and First Nations,” said MacPherson. “We’re thankful that Minister Jordan recognizes that lining the pockets of wealthy golf course owners isn’t what federal infrastructure dollars should be used for.

“This sets a powerful precedent and shows that when taxpayers really take a stand, politicians listen.”