Manitoba wants to back out of $34M sewage-treatment promise, city says

February 1, 2019 – CBC News

Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government wants to back out of a $34-million commitment to help Winnipeg pay for billions worth of sewage-treatment upgrades, and instead spend the money on other infrastructure projects, the city’s chief financial officer says.

The province denies Mike Ruta’s report and claims the city is attempting to move around money intended for upgrades at the North End Water Pollution Control Centre.

A report to city council’s finance committee, published Friday, says the province wants Winnipeg to redeploy $34.4 million it already gave to the city and use that cash to help pay for other projects it’s agreed to fund, including the Waverley underpass and transit projects.

Council finance chair Scott Gillingham (St. James) said he’s very concerned about the request considering Winnipeg is facing billions of dollars worth of sewage-treatment upgrades.

“To move any money off of wastewater treatment when we have these significant projects in the queue is very problematic,” Gillingham said Friday at city hall.

The potential redeployment of wastewater-treatment cash could further delay plans to conduct $1.4-billion worth of upgrades to the North End Water Pollution Control Centre, the largest of Winnipeg’s three wastewater treatment plants.

This is the largest component of a multibillion-dollar sewage-treatment upgrade ordered by the province in 2003 to reduce the quantity of nutrients that flow into the Red River and into Lake Winnipeg, where they help spawn algae blooms. READ MORE.