BILL NO. 198
(as passed, with amendments)
1st Session, 59th General Assembly
54 Elizabeth II, 2005
Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission ActCHAPTER 7 OF THE ACTS OF 2005
The Honourable Peter G. Christie
Minister of Finance
First Reading: May 10, 2005 (LINK TO BILL AS INTRODUCED)
Second Reading: May 12, 2005
Third Reading: May 19, 2005 (WITH COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS)
Royal Assent: May 19, 2005
Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
(b) "Bridges" means the bridges across Halifax Harbour known as the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge and the A. Murray Mackay Bridge, and the approaches and other real and personal property relating to the Bridges;
(d) "electronic collection system" means the methods, equipment and other tangible and intangible personal property used in the collection of tolls, fees, rates and related charges, by which the construction, operation and maintenance of certain facilities are paid for in whole or in part by the users of the facilities and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes
(h) "transportation project" means a bridge, tunnel, fixed crossing or similar structure and the approaches, facilities and other real and personal property relating to it, so long as the construction, operation and maintenance of such structure or facility is financed in whole or in part by tolls, rates, fees and other charges charged to its users.
3 The Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission is continued as a body corporate and continues to possess and may exercise all powers conferred upon and vested in it by law and continues to have title to and control of property and funds vested in or held by or belonging to it and consists of
(2) The terms of members of the Commission are for one year, two years or three years, as may be determined by the Governor in Council in the case of members appointed by the Governor in Council and by the Council of the Municipality in the case of members appointed by the Municipality, so that
5 (1) Where a member of the Commission, who at the date of the member's appointment was the Mayor or a councillor of the Municipality , ceases to be the Mayor or councillor, that person ceases to be a member of the Commission effective as of the date the person ceased to be the Mayor or councillor.
(2) Where a member of the Commission, because of mental or physical disability, is unable to perform the duties of Chair, Vice-chair or a member of the Commission, that person ceases to be the Chair, Vice-chair or a member of the Commission, as the case may be.
(3) Where a vacancy occurs pursuant to subsection (2) or because of a death or resignation, the Governor in Council, in the case of a member appointed by the Governor in Council, and the Municipality , in the case of a member appointed by the Municipality , shall appoint a Chair, Vice-chair or a member of the Commission, as the case may be, to complete the vacant term of office.
7 (1) The Commission may from time to time make, alter and repeal rules and regulations that in any manner relate to its schedule of rates, tolls, fees and charges and such rules and regulations come into force upon being approved by the Board.
(2) Subject to the approval of the Governor in Council, the Commission may from time to time make, alter and repeal by-laws not inconsistent with this Act and not relating to its schedule of rates, tolls, fees and charges as it deems necessary or proper for the direction, conduct and government of the Commission and its employees and for the management and control of the Bridges or a transportation project authorized by Section 27 and traffic thereon and all other property of the Commission and generally as it may determine necessary or proper for the management of its affairs.
(4) Notwithstanding this Act and the Motor Vehicle Act, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works may appoint the Commission to be a traffic authority and, upon such appointment, the Motor Vehicle Act applies mutatis mutandis to all property of the Commission and persons and vehicles making use of the same.
8 The Commission shall appoint such officers and employees as it deems necessary for the administration of the affairs of the Commission and shall fix the salaries, wages and other remuneration of such officers and employees and determine their powers and duties.
(b) to enter into contracts and to make and grant any lease or licence of, or in respect of, real or personal property of the Commission, including any approved electronic collection systems, that may seem directly or indirectly calculated to benefit the Commission and to do all such acts, deeds and things and to execute all such documents as may be considered expedient in the attainment of the objects of the Commission;
(d) to institute, conduct, defend, compound or abandon any legal proceeding by or against the Commission, its officers, servants or agents or otherwise concerning the affairs of the Commission, and to compound and allow time for payment for satisfaction on any debts due, and of any claims or demands by or against the Commission;
(f) subject to the approval of the Governor in Council, to borrow or raise or secure the payment of money in such manner as the Commission thinks fit including, but not so as to restrict the generality of the foregoing, by mortgage, charge, hypothecation or pledge of or upon all or any of the property of the Commission, both present and future, and to draw, make, discount and issue promissory notes and other evidences of indebtedness and generally to make, accept, endorse, execute and issue bills of exchange, bills of lading, warrants and other negotiable or transferable instruments;
(h) to sell such property and assets as are not required for the purposes of the Commission or that may advantageously be disposed of but, where the property or assets are valued at one hundred thousand dollars or more, only with the approval of the Governor in Council;
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Provincial Finance Act or from time to time by order of the Governor in Council, the Commission has all the powers of a company limited by shares incorporated pursuant to the Companies Act.
12 (1) Where the Commission considers it necessary to acquire real property for a purpose relating to the Bridges or a transportation project authorized by Section 27, the Commission may expropriate the real property.
13 (1) Subject to the Provincial Finance Act and with the approval of the Governor in Council, the Commission has the power and may borrow from time to time such sums as it may require for the objects of the Commission and issue and sell bonds or debentures for that purpose, and may secure such bonds or debentures or other borrowings by mortgage or deed of trust or otherwise on the revenues and real and personal property and undertaking of the Commission, including after-acquired property.
(2) The bonds or debentures may be for such separate sums and at such rates of interest and upon such terms or conditions and in such form and payable at such period or periods or at such time or times and place or places as the Commission recommends and the Governor in Council approves.
(3) Every bond or debenture issued by the Commission must be signed by the Vice-chair of the Commission and bear the engraved, lithographed or other facsimile signature of the Chair or a member designated by the Commission, and be sealed with the common seal of the Commission, and the interest coupons must bear the engraved, lithographed or other facsimile signature of the Vice-chair but need not be sealed.
15 The Minister may pay such amounts as are appropriated for the purpose of Section 14 or, with the approval of the Governor in Council, advance to the Commission such amounts as the Minister may from time to time consider necessary for that purpose.
16 Upon the Government of the Province guaranteeing the bonds or debentures of the Commission as provided in Section 14, the Municipality may, by agreement with the Government of the Province, undertake to reimburse the Province for forty per cent of any sum or sums that the Minister pays from time to time by reason of the guarantee.
18 Every sum required by the Municipality pursuant to its agreement with the Government of the Province is deemed to be sums required for ordinary lawful purposes of the Municipality and shall be raised, levied and collected in the same manner and in all respects as other sums required for the ordinary lawful purposes of the Municipality are raised, levied and collected.
(a) new construction, improvements or betterments in, or extensions or additions to the property of a public utility and relating to the issuance of shares, stocks, bonds, debentures or any evidence of indebtedness issued by a public utility;
(c) the assessment, marketing, licensing, implementing and integrating of electronic collection systems that do not relate to either of the Bridges or a transportation project authorized by Section 27, including the earning of income and the incurring of expenses,
do not apply to the Commission nor may any such income or expense or any property of the Commission devoted to the activities set out in clause (c) be taken into account by the Board in regulating the Bridges, unless the Governor in Council otherwise directs.
(2) The Commission, for a reasonable compensation, shall permit the use of its works by any other public utility whenever public convenience and necessity require such use and such use will not result in any substantial detriment in the service to be rendered by the Commission.
(3) In case of failure to agree upon such use, or the conditions or compensation for such use, any public utility or any person or corporation interested may apply to the Board and, where, after investigation, the Board determines that public convenience and necessity require such use and that it would not result in any substantial detriment to the service to be rendered by the Commission, the Board shall, by order, direct that such use be permitted and prescribe conditions and compensation for such joint use.
20 (1) Notwithstanding Section 19 and the Public Utilities Act, the Board may, on any application of the Commission to the Board to set the tolls, rates, fees and charges to be paid to the Commission for services rendered and facilities provided, take into account any allowance for proper and adequate annual depreciation of its property and assets that the Commission wishes to provide, set aside and maintain.
(2) All orders and directions of the Board previously made under this Act and the Public Utilities Act, relating to the provision of proper and adequate annual depreciation of its property and assets and the setting up, maintaining, use and disposal of depreciation reserve funds or special depreciation reserves, cease to bind the Commission and the Commission may dispose of or use as it sees fit in its undertakings any funds or assets held in the depreciation reserve fund or the special depreciation reserve.
21 (1) The property of the Commission is exempt from taxation except that the Commission shall annually pay to any municipality, with respect to real property located in the municipality, a grant in lieu of taxes on
(2) A municipality may also assess, rate, impose and levy real property taxes on lessees of the Commission, as if they were owners, and also on occupiers of real property situate within the municipality, owned by the Commission and leased by it, and such assessment is to be on the land and improvements to the land so leased, and such assessment and rating done pursuant to the Municipal Government Act.
22 Notwithstanding Section 21 and in addition to the amounts required to be paid pursuant to that Section, buildings owned by the Commission and used for administration purposes, and being within the Municipality, are subject to assessment and taxation in the normal way, and the Commission shall pay a grant in lieu of the normal rates and taxes on the buildings, but not including the land on which the buildings stand, except as provided in Section 21, and not including gates, staff compartments or structures that form part of or are situated at the entrance or exit of the bridges owned or operated by the Commission.
23 (1) Profits of the Commission in any year, after providing for interest and principal payments on funded obligations, retirement fund or sinking funds for funded obligations, depreciation and all expenses of maintenance and operation, shall be paid into a reserve account, which may be invested and which may only be used for the following purposes and in the following order:
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), no payment may be made that would result in a default by the Commission under any funded obligation, bond, indenture, loan agreement, security or other obligation to any third party.
24 The Government of the Province, after all bonded indebtedness of the Commission has been retired, may, on payment to the Municipality of any sum or sums that the Municipality may have paid to the Minister pursuant to Section 16 together with interest on such sum or sums at the rate of three per cent per annum and on the Province assuming all the obligations and liabilities of the Commission, take and on proclamation acquire and take over all right, title and interest to the real and personal property, assets and undertakings of the Commission, and on such proclamation the right, title and interest to the real and personal property, assets and undertakings of the Commission vest in the Government of the Province.
25 The Commission shall make an annual report to the Government of the Province and the Municipality and the report must include an audited statement of the affairs of the Commission certified by an accountant or firm of accountants named by the Governor in Council.
26 (1) Notwithstanding the Public Utilities Act, the Commission may at any time suspend all traffic or restrict traffic or classes of traffic across either of the Bridges for such time and to such extent as the Commission in its discretion deems advisable.
(2) Where the violation of any rule, regulation or by-law of the Commission is attended with danger or annoyance to the public or hindrance to the Commission in the use or operation of either of the Bridges or a transportation project, the Commission may, by or through its officers or employees, prevent or stop such violation and may use reasonable force for such purpose, without prejudice to any liability for any penalty that may be incurred by reason of such violation.
(3) Notwithstanding the Expropriation Act, the Commission is not liable for injurious affection as a result of suspending all traffic or restricting traffic or classes of traffic across either of the Bridges or a transportation project during periods of construction or maintenance.
(2) Where the Government of the Province or the Municipality request the Commission to investigate the sufficiency of the means of access to Halifax provided by the Bridges or the present or future need of a transportation project referred to in subsection (1), the Commission may
(3) Any costs incurred by the Commission under this Section are expenses of operating the Bridges or a transportation project in respect of which the Commission is collecting tolls, fees, rates and other charges.
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