HRM's absurd obsession with secrecy

City refuses to release four-pad arena management contract

For the past two days I've been trying to get details of HRM's contract with Nustadia, inc. for management and operation of the new four-pad arena going up on Hammonds Plains Road. But word has come down from high that I can't have those details, because a clause in the contract requires that both parties---that is, both HRM and Nustadia---must agree to any public release of the terms.

This is beyond absurd. We have a $50 million facility going up, which will no doubt cost taxpayers millions more each year in operational expenses, but the actual amount is a state secret.

Secrecy breeds distrust, and in this case, the taxpayers should have a boatload of distrust. I'll say it out loud: there's potential for out-right bribery on a project of this scale.

Beyond that, taxpayers should be immensely concerned about Nustadia, because the company has famously botched a similar contract with the city of Guelph, Ontario. The HRM-Nustadia should be open to the widest possible public review.

That's not possible when the entire contract is secret.

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