For immediate release
February 22, 2010

Media Release

Save the View Coalition asks Auditor General to Investigate Proposed P3 Convention Centre

(Halifax, NS) The Coalition to Save the View from Citadel Hill (STV) has written to Nova Scotia Auditor General (AG) Jacques Lapointe asking for an inquiry into the Nova Scotia governmentÕs plan to participate in a proposed P3 (public-private-partner) convention centre for downtown Halifax.

The Coalition is concerned about the P3 financing and that if any public money is used the twin towers will double in height to 14- and 18-storeys- this will block the view from Citadel Hill of the Central Halifax Harbour and GeorgeÕs Island. Under a peculiar HRMbyDesign clause, the doubling in height of the towers is unique to the use of public money and only at this proposed location.

Peter Delefes, a spokesperson for Save the View, says ÒWe arenÕt opposed to a convention centre as such but P3 financing has been identified by the Auditor General as being a burden for taxpayers throughout the province and in the proposed location it will be using public money to privatize the publicÕs view.Ó

In his February 2010 report the Auditor General analysed P3 school contracts and found that profits going to private developers were as much as 34% more than what the public sector would have done the job for. Over 20 years one set of service contracts analysed will cost taxpayers an extra $52 million dollars. P3 developers were able to pocket these profits.

The Coalition draws a parallel between the P3 schools and the proposed P3 convention centre. The present downtown convention centre is owned and operated by Trade Centre Limited, a provincial crown corporation. The corporation also leases office space in the building, mostly to government departments.

ÒGiven the bad experience with P3 schools,Ó says Delefes, Òthe Province should not risk more taxpayersÕ money on a P3 convention centre, especially as there will no opportunity for public participation in the decision-making process.Ó

The Save the View Coalition suggests the Dexter government need not be bound by the previous MacDonald government's agreements to support the P3 convention centre and towers, especially after the AG has condemned extra costs associated with P3 schools. The NDP provincial government has asked Ottawa to help pay for the P3 even though previously the NDP has opposed past P3 projects.

Save the View is made up of individuals and the: Community Coalition to End Poverty in Nova Scotia; CUPE Nova Scotia; Ecology Action Centre; Facebook-Save the View; Friends of the Halifax Common; Peninsula South Neighbourhood Association; Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia; and Sierra Club of Canada-Atlantic Chapter.

-30-

For information on Save the View visit: www.savetheview.ca

For high resolution accurate images for downloading visit: www.savetheview.ca/multimedia.html

Facebook site is: Help Save the View From Citadel Hill

For information contact:

Peggy Cameron: 492-4372

info@savetheview.ca