Feds, Ontario open spigot on $1.1B for clean water and wastewater projects
Building on transit funding announcement last month, two tiers of government add water infrastructure upgrades to docket
TORONTO—The Ontario and federal governments are providing more than $1.1 billion under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund for municipalities looking to upgrade treatment plants and enhance water quality.
Ottawa will provide up to 50 per cent of the funds, almost $570 million, while the province will invest almost $270 million. Municipalities, First Nations and local services boards will cover the remaining costs.
Ontario recently announced it will triple its community infrastructure fund to $300 million a year by 2018-19, and said municipalities will be able to apply their grants from the fund toward their contribution for the water projects.
An initial list of 41 approved projects includes new water mains in Barrie, a new storm water treatment plant in Sudbury, updates to the snow disposal facility in Guelph and similar projects in Toronto, Brampton, Waterloo and Guelph.
The two levels of government say these projects will help ensure that communities across Ontario have access to clean and reliable drinking water, efficient wastewater systems, and healthy rivers and lakes.
Environmental Defence said the funding announcement for local water projects was long overdue, and complained that many First Nations communities still have a problem with safe drinking water.
“More still needs to be done to ensure that our water resources are protected and that everyone has access to safe and clean drinking water,” said spokeswoman Ashley Wallis.
The funds are in addition to the $2.97 billion in joint transit funding announced last month.