COVID stimulus money gets new roofs on schools, hospitals and upgrades equipment

·2 min read

Almost $44 million in stimulus spending from the Education and Health departments went to replacing roofs, paving projects, buying new equipment and a variety of other projects at schools and hospitals around the province.

The work is part of the government's $230-million COVID-19 stimulus plan launched in May. Millions of dollars also went to road and bridge work, building restoration and other projects.

After government officials had pledged to make the list of projects public, Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters that if they wanted the information they could find it themselves using government websites.

When that was shown not to be entirely possible, McNeil eventually relented and allowed departments to release their respective project lists.

In the initial disclosure, the Justice, Community Services, Agriculture, Labour, Business and Transportation departments all provided itemized lists. Education and Health have now released their lists.

The Health Department projects included $4.8 million for building work at the IWK Health Centre, $1.6 million to replace the roof at Glace Bay General Hospital, $1.6 million for roof and chimney replacement at Hants Community Hospital and $4.2 million for a variety of work at the QE II Health Sciences Centre.

All of the projects included in the stimulus program were on existing capital lists but not everything was initially scheduled to be done this year.

A spokesperson for the Health Department said the new money meant projects were able to start sooner while also creating jobs during the pandemic.

The Education Department is using its $18.5 million for projects including roof work at 19 schools around the province.

Port Williams Elementary is undergoing upgrades to its electrical work, PA system, ductwork and lighting at a forecasted cost of $850,000. The mechanical systems elevator at Caudle Park Elementary in Lower Sackville is being upgraded at a forecasted expense of $740,000.

An Education Department spokesperson said most of the projects are underway now, with a completion goal of March.