08/10/2000

Toronto, August 10, 2000 - AMO President Michael Power has welcomed today's announcement of provincial funding to help to bridge the financial gap for municipalities to meet new water regulation requirements. Michael Power said, "This funding is an important first step to help us restore confidence in Ontario's drinking water."
Michael Power said, "This funding is an important first step to help us restore confidence in Ontario's drinking water."

Tony Clement, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, has announced that at least $240 million will be made available to municipalities with a population of less than 100,000, toward capital costs required to meet the new provincial water regulation. 

The Regulation, which introduces a number of new requirements, is expected to result in greater expenses to municipalities.  These include the cost of new filtration and/or chlorination systems for some municipalities, upgrades of systems based on independent reviews of each municipal system, engaging an independent engineer to inspect systems every three years, and expanded testing requirements, among other matters. 

"If the $240 million announced today turns out not to be enough to implement the Regulation, I am confident the Province will make additional money available quickly, as Premier Harris has said that he is highly committed to making Ontario's drinking water the safest possible," said Michael Power. AMO agrees that the Province and municipalities must work together toward the shared the goal of safe drinking water. In commenting on next steps, AMO President Michael Power said, "I look forward to working with the Province to ensure that the funding application process is fast-tracked to facilitate timely fixes, and that appropriate solutions for the wide variety of water system deficiencies across the Province are put in place." 

While the immediate priority is to meet the new regulatory requirements, this must not detract from the bigger picture, the need for a long-term financing strategy, to ensure the renewal of Ontario's water and sewage infrastructure into the future.  "AMO is dedicated to working with the Province and Federal government to develop a fair and sustainable infrastructure financing arrangement. Investing in infrastructure is essential for the health and safety of Ontarians, and for a growing economy," explained Michael Power. 

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