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11 questions with Mayor Peter Kelly

HRM’s mayor sits down with Metro to talk politics, stadiums and councillors’ ties<br />

1. What would you say was the biggest HRM issue of 2010?
I think the restarting of the Harbour Solutions programs is one of those issues that come to the forefront as to achievements for this year.

2. What will be the biggest HRM issue in 2011?

Of course we have the discussion over the convention (centre) complex. We’re waiting to hear back from the federal government to see if they’re going to fund that.

3. How would you characterize the cohesiveness (or lack of) of council?

For the most part, I think council has been fairly focused. From time to time things go sideways, and that takes away from the real discussion, but for the most part I think we’ve moved ahead quite a bit.

4. How likely do you think it will be that HRM will have a smaller council in 2011?
I think there’s an understating that we need to reduce the size of council and I think that’s an inevitable outcome.

5. Anything you regret about the Harbour Solutions problems?

We didn’t take the right approach in keeping the public well informed as to what’s going on, the progress and other issues. We’ve learned a lot, and that’s one piece you can never forget: you cannot ever communicate too much.

6. What are your Christmas plans? New Year’s?
For Christmas I will be visiting family and friends. Unfortunately, I’ve not had the time to be able to do so, so I’m looking forward to having the time to rekindle relationships. New Year’s (Eve) I’ll be here for the event in Grand Parade ... and on New Year’s Day we’re hosting a levee here at 9 a.m. I think I’ll be going to levees most of the day.

7. Do you ever feel you’re spread too thin in trying to make it to all these events?
When you’re putting in 70 to 90 hours a week, you feel that you’re thinly spread and it’s challenging to get to what you can, but there’s always more that you can’t even get to. I only scratch a fraction of the things I’m asked to go to and I find that the most challenging part of the job.

8. Will Halifax get going on a stadium in 2011?

We understand there’s some appetite from the federal government and we’ve had some preliminary discussions with the private sector, where there’s a desire to see where this is going to go ... We want to make sure it’s a concerted effort. We can’t go on our own; we have to make sure we work with all the stakeholders. So are we getting a stadium? My hope is this is one we will be able to bring to fruition. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate stadium, and it can be different from the one envisioned with the Commonwealth Games bid, but it’s a major piece of sport infrastructure we don’t have.

9. Will there be enough money to go around, in light of the new library and the convention centre?

The library has been funded through the land ... and the funds have been allocated. The funds from the convention centre have been allocated from the dollars derived from the overall project, so that will be self-sustaining.

10. What do you think of people who refer to you as a fence-sitter, that you won’t go out and immediately take a stand on an issue?
For politicians it’s strange to be criticized for what politicians should really do, which is listen to the public. Politicians don’t have all the answers, and if we’re going to look at where the public is on any particular issue, we have to listen.

11. Who would you say is the newsmaker of 2010?
I think it would be the premier. In his first year he’s had many challenges. Some people think he’s done them right, and other’s think he’s done them not so right.

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