Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee calls Souris’ Coast Guard lobbying efforts utter and complete silliness.
Souris officials want to have the Canadian Coast Guard base relocate from Charlottetown to the Kings County deep-sea port.
Since leaving its location on the Charlottetown waterfront to make way for construction of a convention centre beside the Delta Prince Edward, the coast guard and its services are now housed in three temporary locations around the city.
Souris Mayor Dave MacDonald and Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie told The Guardian this week that having the coast guard in Souris would benefit the town and makes more sense than having the service in Charlottetown — from a safety and logistical point of view.
Lee said Wednesday he’s disappointed — but not surprised — at the lobbying efforts.
“It might be more productive, I might suggest, for the mayor of Souris and the elected representative from Souris and the provincial government actually got together and had some serious discussion on what they could do to sustain the Town of Souris on a long-term basis,’’ Lee said.
The Charlottetown mayor said to take a service from one municipality and move it to another is a bandaid approach to a problem.
“It’s silliness (and) it doesn’t work long term. You end up robbing Peter to pay Paul so that some politician someplace can stand up and bang his hand on his chest and say ‘Look what I’ve accomplished’. It’s utter and complete silliness.’’
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans was also forced to move as its former headquarters was demolished to clear the site for the multimillion-dollar convention centre.
The mayor of Souris said moving the coast guard base east makes more sense than having it in Charlottetown. He said Souris is the closest port to access the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where the majority of the coast guard’s work is done.
Lee said federal P.E.I. MP Gail Shea has already stated publicly that the base is staying in Charlottetown.
“I’m taking it for granted that when the federal minister said it she meant it and if that was going to change she would have the common decency to contact the city and let us know,’’ Lee said.
The capital city mayor accused MacDonald and LaVie of “taking shots’’ at the City of Charlottetown.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, they are doing a terrible job of representing the people that they are elected to represent. That’s no disrespect to Mayor MacDonald or the MLA (LaVie) from Souris but at some point and time they need to come to grips and try to find something that is going to sustain that town on a long-term basis.’’