News Release Archive

Economic Renewal Minister Richie Mann is asking Ottawa to take
immediate action and address marine service fees in the province.

"The province, our ports and members of the shipping community
are becoming increasingly concerned that Ottawa is not living up
to a commitment to revisit and restructure marine services fees,"
Mr. Mann said.

"If the existing fee structure continues, the Coast Guard will
destroy our ports' natural competitive edge. Ultimately that
means lost jobs for Nova Scotians and a significant threat to
future growth opportunities," Mr. Mann said.

In a letter to Fisheries and Oceans Minister Fred Mifflin, Mr.
Mann asked for a meeting to address concerns about the lack of
progress on a fairer and more equitable fee structure for Nova
Scotia ports.

The Coast Guard instituted fees in 1996 to help cover the costs
of maintaining aids to navigation and icebreaking. When first
introduced, Nova Scotia's shipping community expressed discontent
over the "blanket" approach to fees and urged for the adoption of
a "user fee" approach.

"The inequity and absurdity of the existing situation is
illustrated by the fact that a foreign flag ship sailing the
short distance from the open ocean to call at a Nova Scotia port
now pays more than if the same ship sailed thousands of miles
inland to call at a Great Lakes or St. Lawrence River port. More
importantly, the existing rate structure contains many flaws
which unfairly penalize Maritime ports," Mr. Mann wrote.

Last year, the Coast Guard appeared to support the province's
suggestion for a "user fee" approach and made a commitment that
the existing "blanket" fee was to apply for year one only. In the
interim, stakeholders formed the Maritime Seacoast Advisory Board
and designed a regional approach that would substantially reduce
fees. The proposal was submitted to the Coast Guard on Dec. 2,

"I understand that no decision has been made on the proposal and
there is mounting concern that the Coast Guard may simply choose
to continue with the year one fee structure. Let there be no
mistake, this is entirely unacceptable from our perspective," Mr.
Mann said.

"We're simply asking the minister for the same opportunity that
was provided to western Canada -- to establish our own fee
structure and method of charging to the various users. There is
wide spread support for the proposed regional approach among
Maritime users who will be paying the bills," Mr. Mann said.


Contact: Angela Poirier  902-424-3900

trp                        Feb. 19, 1997 - 4:30 p.m.