Feds Say No to Marco
SAINT JOHN SHUT OUT: As Tory MP Elsie Wayne
blames Liberal politics for the loss of a Millennium Fund grant, booster Barry
Ogden says the news 'hurts.'
By Brian Kemp
Times Globe staff
Ogden has waged a 14-year battle to have a replica of the Marco Polo sailing
ship built in Saint John.
He thought this was the year for
a victory - but the struggle will continue.
government informed the group on the weekend that it would not be giving money
to the Marco Polo Project through its Millennium
That was the crushing announcement for Mr. Ogden,
who is the driving force behind the project.
hurts alot," he said. "I'd like to listen to the news some day and hear, 'The
Marco Polo is a go.
Supporters of the project had been
looking for money from the Millennium Bureau of Canada to help pay for the $2-
million project, which would see a non-sailing replica of Saint John's most
famous ship constructed on land near the city's waterfront. The masts would be
as tall as the nearby City Hall building.
Mr. Ogden said
he understood that the project met the criteria established by the Millennium
Fund. The group put the project forward but at one point pulled it out because
there were other major Saint John projects before the
"When we reapplied, there was a lot less money,"
said Mr. Ogden.
The Saint John High School teacher has not
given up hope, though He has received words of encouragement from Labour
minister Claudette Bradshaw, the MP for
Mrs. Bradshaw told the group
there were other avenues that could be looked at and was supportive of the
Marco Polo, said Mr. Ogden.
He said the province has also
given positive feedback about the project.
Last year, the
City of Saint John had approved $600,000 for the project, on the condition that
other backers came through. That support may not be there in future votes,
given that the city is facing a $2.5million shortfall from the provincial grant
pool this year.
"Now we've got to do some more work," said
Mr. Ogden. "We've got to keep going. We're going into our 14th year and we've
never been this close.
"I thought this time was really
"You teach your students that caring and tenacity
are the most important things in life, so you wouldn't be much of an example if
you got up and walked away right now. "
Mr. Ogden said the
project may have been hurt because Saint John's waterfront development has not
come about as fast as some people would like to see
Saint John Mayor Shirley McAlary said the lack of
funding for the Marco Polo is bad news for development of the city's
"It would have been money for the waterfront,"
said Ms. McAlary. "We need that first project to get started and that would be
a catalyst for other things to follow."
The Mayor said
area groups sent dozens of applications to the federal government for
Millennium Fund cash.
Only four projects were approved in
the city, including the Visit Canada Visitez walking trail in Rockwood Park
(which received $315,000) and a gallery of extinct animal replicas at the
Cherry Brook Zoo (which was given $70,833).
seemed really hard to get the applications accepted," said
Meanwhile, Saint John Tory MP Elsie Wayne is
accusing the Liberal government of short-changing her riding.
Of the 71
projects funded in New Brunswick, four were in Saint John, six were in Moncton
and eight were in Fredericton.
"Let me tell you, for
Moncton and Fredericton to get more than Saint John is straight political,"
Mrs. Wayne complained.
"We never get our fair share in
Saint John. We don't.
"I look at the politics that has
come into it, and I look at where some of them went, and I would say that
politics played a role again."
The Liberal MPs from
Fredericton and Moncton disagree with Mrs. Wayne's
"I certainly dismiss it," said Mrs.
"You speak to Elsie Wayne about the last batch
of millennium funding that she received, that I was in her riding to announce,
and you also tell Elsie Wayne that [in] the first part of the millennium
funding, I did not even get one," Mrs. Bradshaw
Added Fredericton MP Andy Scott, "I can't speak to
where Elsie comes from on most things. "
riding will always reveal small differences, he said, but in general the
program treated ridings, provinces and political parties
"It is never going to be mathematically perfect,
and when it is not mathematically perfect, you always will have somebody say,
'I did not get my fair share,' " he said.
country, the government contributed $148-million to 1,832 projects to celebrate
the new millennium.
Criteria for successful projects were
that they had to secure at least two-thirds of the money from other sources,
that they were strictly notfor-profit, and that they were not bricks-and-
mortar infrastructure projects.
files from Times Globe staff
writer Campbell Morrison in Ottawa.
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