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Federal budget misses the mark on wastewater funding says Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador

Churence Rogers, President of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador says the federal government missed an opportunity to partner on an infrastructure project that offers a basic service Canadians have a right to expect – and time is running out to do something.

In this budget municipalities were looking for a federal partnership to meet federal wastewater regulations that will cost Canadian municipalities upwards of $18 billion over the next 25 years. In Newfoundland and Labrador alone, close to 200 municipalities are affected with an estimated cost of $500 million just to build treatment facilities. That doesn’t include the ongoing costs of staffing and running these facilities.

Rogers’ says he’s upset that the budget didn’t address the $300M wastewater fund recommended by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). “We recognize that this budget is addressing transit priorities that are critical to urban areas. However, we need commitments from all federal parties for a successful cost-shared implementation plan for the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations so we can be ready for 2020, the deadline imposed by the federal government.”

MNL will continue to advocate as part of FCM for federal investments in a clean water fund to be matched by municipalities and provinces.

Yesterday’s budget offered some progress on the growing housing crisis in this country. As FCM recommended in its federal budget submission, annual investments of $1.7 billion for social housing are being maintained. This is a first step; however with only a 4-year commitment and many outstanding details, it is unclear how much pressure will actually be relieved on growing waitlists for affordable housing in municipalities from coast to coast to coast.

“Our goal is to replicate the success on transit on other key issues such as housing and clean water,” said Rogers.

In the coming months, Churence Rogers will join mayors of other municipalities across Canada as we push forward on these shared priorities.

For more information, click here to visit the Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador website.

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