Province announces new money to repair gravel roads, ice rinks in Nova Scotia

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Road work is done by provincial crews near Liverpool on Monday. The province has announced $32.5 million in new funding for gravel road maintenance and repairs on top of the existing budget. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)
Road work is done by provincial crews near Liverpool on Monday. The province has announced $32.5 million in new funding for gravel road maintenance and repairs on top of the existing budget. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)

The Nova Scotia government says it will spend an additional $32.5 million to improve gravel roads in the province.

Kim Masland, the new minister of public works, made her first public announcement in Liverpool, N.S., on Monday.

"More than 35 per cent of our provincial road network is gravel roads. Many people travel these every day to go to work," Masland told reporters.

"We need to make sure that our roads are in good structure for ambulances, fire trucks, that need to get to people."

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

The money will help repair and maintain the more than 8,400 kilometres of gravel roads in Nova Scotia. That includes brush-cutting, pavement patching, ditching, shoulder gravelling, shoreline protection, and buying new equipment like graders and backhoes.

It costs about $100,000 to $125,000 per kilometre to repair these roads, according to a news release from the province. Once a gravel road is properly repaired, it can serve a community for up to 15 years.

Department staff will evaluate and prioritize the gravel roads that need the most work, taking into account factors like road condition and traffic volumes.

The new funds are in addition to the $31 million already budgeted this fiscal year for two programs: the Gravel Road Capital Program and the Rural Impact Mitigation Program.

Help for aging rinks

Masland also announced a new $1-million Rink Revitalization Fund on behalf of the Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage department, which will help make repairs and upgrades to aging buildings.

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

Applications for the rink fund will open in the next few weeks on the province's website. The fund aims to offer a boost to projects like replacing boards, upgrading refrigeration, improving seating and renovating canteens.

Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality, Darlene Norman, said Monday she was happy to see the new funds.

On rinks specifically, Norman said this "is a start," noting that there are many types of rinks from curling to skating across the province, and various ownership models including private owners and community groups.

The province has also invested $1.67 million in general sport and recreation infrastructure in 2021-22 through the Recreation Facility Development Grant.

Applications for that fund open again in early 2022.

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