Pollard remains positive

Rudy Norman
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One could argue it's been a tough year for MHA Kevin Pollard. The member for Baie Verte-Springdale was caught in the crossfire a couple of times this past year, when protests, public meetings and outcry over road conditions in his district led him to represent his constituents before the ministers of his governing PC Party.
However, moving into a new year, he says, he isn't letting that negativity faze him, and is committed to remaining positive about the bright future we face as a province.

"We're in some of the best times we've ever seen as a province," he said in an interview this week. "We have a low unemployment rate, our economy is on pace to be one of the best in the country, we're a have-province, which means we can see to ourselves, make our own decisions, and choose our own path, and the future is looking brighter and brighter for Newfoundland and Labrador."

Pollard says he's proud of what his government has been able to accomplish in the past year, and since they started governing 10 years ago.

"When we took over government, we had a province with an aged infrastructure, drowning in debt, and in serious need of a revitalization," he said. "When you look back at what we've accomplished in the past few years - from the new schools and hospitals, to the road work, and the community investments, to paying down the debt - I think we have a lot to be proud of."

Since he's taken office as MHA, he says, the PC government has invested well over $100 million dollars into the Baie Verte-Springdale district. That's a number, he says, that he's very proud of, as should be his constituents.

"That ranges in everything from a new school for Baie Verte, to a new ferry for Green Bay," he said. "We've also made some key investments in community funding through programs like JCP, CEEP, capital works, and others."

Pollard says the prosperity that the province is seeing as a whole is also being reflected here at home in his district.

"You see it all around - people have more disposable income today than they ever did," he said. "Snowmobiles, ATV's, boats, whatever - nearly everyone you come across has something, and that shows that they're obviously doing well for themselves in some regard."

However, he also says he recognizes the challenges that are faced throughout the district as well.

"Do we still have things we need to work on? Absolutely," he said.

The major projects the MHA sees now are things like the new community centre for Fleur de Lys, a new fire hall for Baie Verte and a new hospital in Springdale.

"Those are the three that I can look at right now as being a major project in the district that we're working towards getting completed," he said. Funding has been announced for all three projects to either start with initial phases or to carry out the project.

In the case of Baie Verte, Pollard says they're working with the town council and the Department of Municipal Affairs to go to tender on the project again, after it came in over budget on the original plan.

As for the hospital in Springdale, he says he's happy with the progress that's been made thus far.

"I'm glad that the land has been bought and work is already going ahead to prepare it," he said. "That's a positive sign towards getting the hospital there, and we're going to keep working towards seeing a new, much needed, hospital in Springdale."

As for the issue that seems to be always coming up, Pollard says he suspects that 2014 will be similar to 2013 and all the years previous.

"Roads is, and always has been an issue in this area," he said. "It is now, it was when Tom Rideout was MHA, it was when Paul Shelley was MHA, and it was even before that."

However, despite the negativity and outcry, Pollard says he remains committed to doing what he can with what he's given.

"We'll keep on working with the people to highlight the troubling areas and we'll keep looking for whatever we need to meet those needs," he said. "We won't get it all done in one year - there's going to be issues, always, somewhere, but we'll keep trying to make progress."

 

Organizations: Department of Municipal Affairs

Geographic location: Baie Verte, Springdale, Newfoundland and Labrador Green Bay Fleur de Lys

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