'Does this go on until the fall?' Delayed N.L. election holding up projects, services

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The head of an organization representing Newfoundland and Labrador municipalities says the province's delayed election is causing headaches for towns hoping to get infrastructure work done.

Craig Pollett of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador says that with a caretaker government in place, towns are being told to stop work or delay public tenders on provincially funded projects.

With the province's winter weather sometimes lasting until June, Pollett says there is a short construction window, and any delay can quickly become a large problem.

The election was called on Jan. 15, and after a series of delays and the cancellation of in-person voting because of a COVID-19 outbreak, it's still not clear when a winner will be declared.

With some experts saying the results of the chaotic election could wind up in court, Pollett says he and his members are worried the caretaker government, which by convention exercises restraint in spending, could last until the fall or later.

He says when the provincial legislature resumes sitting, the rules around caretaker governments need to be changed to account for unexpectedly long election periods.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press