[Editor's Note: The following is an Op-Ed piece written by Mayor Peter Kelly and authorized for release by Haligonia.ca. See Also: Harold MacKay Responds About The Concert Controversy]
This week’s events at City Hall have been stressful, to say the least.
As you are probably aware, a sum of municipal money was advanced in good faith to the promoter of two major outdoor concerts in Halifax last summer. However, before the money could be repaid to HRM (which it was), word was received that the shows were at risk and so, to protect the funds already advanced, further monies were authorized. As a result, the shows were staged and thousands of fans enjoyed the performances.
It was subsequently learned that the advancement of funds was actually contrary to the terms of HRM’s Charter and policies. What began as an act of good faith has now become an issue regarding policy. Consequently, Council has authorized a review of the issue by the auditor general.
As mayor, I take full responsibility for ensuring that we never again find ourselves in this situation. I will work tirelessly with my Council colleagues, with our audit committee and the auditor general, to this end.
Let me be clear, at no time did I encourage anyone to breach policy and that permission to do so was neither asked nor given.
I want to assure you that the enthusiasm I bring to my job each day to advance the wellbeing of our community will continue. Yes, this particular occasion has resulted in concern for the people of HRM and for that, I am truly sorry and I apologize.
As a servant of the people, I have only one mission – to further the interests of our collective community with all my heart and all my soul. And that is what I have tried to do during my years in public office. In fact, if you look back at the record, I think you will agree that there are quite a few successes.
Successes like the clean-up of Halifax Harbour through Harbour Solutions. Granted, the road was difficult, not least because of initial funding problems and then well-publicized equipment failures, but thanks to the vision and perseverance of everyone on Council, our harbour is the cleanest it has been in nearly three centuries and our children and our children’s children will thank us.
New libraries have been built and work on a new one downtown will soon be underway; we have new recreation facilities including the BMO Centre 4-Pad and the Canada Games Centre; there are new fire halls and community centres. We’ve just staged the most successful Canada Winter Games in history. International high-tech companies are arriving, bringing high-paying jobs with them. Our population continues to climb as more people arrive, wanting to share what we have here.
These are all signs of a healthy, progressive community, one which breeds optimism and enthusiasm. As mayor, I am passionate about HRM and all that we have here – and all that we can have. I am doing all I can to make The People’s Oval permanent and also championing a new convention centre as well as a new stadium.
HRM matters deeply to me; this is where I live. My enthusiasm for helping make our community an even better place for all of us will continue.