Houston appointed Tom Hickey, CEO of Atlantic Road Construction and Paving Ltd., to run the newly-created Invest Nova Scotia, to be compensated up to $18,000 a month ($216,000 annually).
Invest Nova Scotia, reporting to Economic Development Minister Susan Corkum-Greek, is taking over the work of Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) and Innovacorp. It will hand out loans and try to recruit businesses to Nova Scotia.
Hickey was appointed to NSBI’s board in 2015, with a news release touting his business acumen and noting he’s originally from Glace Bay, “where he maintains the head office for Atlantic Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, which services Atlantic Canada.
“Mr. Hickey is also president and CEO of T. Hickey Enterprises, which has been operating since 2001. T. Hickey Enterprises has 13 operating companies under his management. He is also CEO of Atlantic Road Construction and Paving Ltd.”
The CFO of Atlantic Road Construction and Paving Ltd., Bruce Wood, is the owner of 4197847 Nova Scotia Ltd., the company applying to dump slate excavated from construction sites into the Halifax Harbour at Dartmouth Cove, as the Halifax Examiner reported in May.
The plan was to start the infill project August 1, but the federal government has yet to approve the plan, at least according to the project website. As the Examiner reported last month, Transport Canada received nearly 500 public submissions on the project after residents organized in opposition. HRM missed the deadline, but later submitted this letter registering its concerns with the proposal.
Copied on that letter is Tom Hickey.
For Jill Brogan of Friends of Dartmouth Cove, it’s all a bit fishy.
“There’s no clarity with this announcement as to ensure to any of us what’s going to happen here,” Brogan told the Examiner.
At a recent meeting with Develop Nova Scotia, Brogan said she was told the Crown corporation had granted tentative, conditional approval for trucks headed to and from the infill to cross its property. The condition is that the project can’t last the six years cited in the application to Transport Canada, Brogan said, with Develop Nova Scotia believing it will last just two years.
The organization made that decision with no public consultation, Brogan said.
“They didn’t say it in so many words, but they said, ‘Well, if this pyritic slate infill doesn’t happen, then the cost to develop in Dartmouth will be higher and so the development wouldn’t happen or wouldn’t happen for any affordable housing.’ It was really very odd,” Brogan said.
Develop Nova Scotia was soliciting bids for a nearby affordable housing development, on King Street in downtown Dartmouth.
But that Crown corporation no longer exists, having been folded into the new Build Nova Scotia, along with Nova Scotia Lands. Houston’s other buddy, entrepreneur Wayne Crawley, will run that organization.
“They’re all going to be sitting at the same table,” Brogan said of Hickey and Crawley.
“We’re not stupid. You look at things and go, ‘Well, now, how’s that gonna work out? And, is there a conflict of interest here?’ And we think there is for sure.”