Canada Winnipeg gets nearly $213M from federal, provincial governments for North End sewage plant upgrades
Alberta to see $290M injection of federal cash to improve child-care access
Alberta is still negotiating with the federal government to secure money to implement the Canadian national child-care program that has been announced recently in other provinces, but in the meantime the province has secured some additional cash from the feds to extend an already existing program. On Friday, the province announced the extension of the existing Canada-Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, which will see the federal government provide $290 million over four years to Alberta to improve access to child care.
A long-awaited funding announcement for the first stage of critical upgrades to Winnipeg's North End Water Pollution Control Centre finally came on Friday — a fraction of the total $1.8 billion the city estimates it needs to fully upgrade the sewage treatment plant.
A combined $212.8 million has been dedicated to the project by the federal ($116.1 million) and provincial ($96.7 million) governments, officials announced Friday morning.
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Winnipeg's city council has granted developer Starlight Investments three more months to secure financing for a proposed $400-million makeover of downtown's Portage Place mall.Council voted 11-5 Thursday to give Starlight until October to reach a funding deal with the federal government. The company has asked Ottawa for $50 million in direct support as well as a $243-million loan through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The city is spending more than $143 million on top of that.
It will all go toward the headworks at the plant on Main Street, across from Kildonan Park. The headworks is part of the treatment process that involves raw sewage pumping, screening, grit screening and removal.
The cost for upgrades to the plant's headworks was estimated in April at $473 million, up $65 million from an earlier estimate.
And that is just Phase 1 of the broader series of upgrades necessary to modernize the plant and expand the entire treatment system, which is expected to reach nearly $1.8 billion.
The city has been waiting for provincial and federal funding for upgrades to the plant for years, something that Dan Vandal, the member of Parliament for St. Boniface-St. Vital, acknowledged.
Manitoba divisions complete air system upgrades as new school year looms
Out of the province’s 37 school divisions, 33 tell Global News they've been increasing filter changes or have made adjustments to their HVAC system. "Even if vaccines became available for the next age group, five to 12, that wouldn't be until the fall. And then you're looking at a month to two months at least before they have full immunity. So these next few months, the students are at risk," said Winnipeg physician Dr. Lisa Bryski. "We don't want to take chances with people who are vulnerable, and put them in a population density of a classroom without vaccines.
"I'm very, very happy to be here as we finally, finally, finally make this announcement," the former City of Winnipeg councillor said during Friday morning's announcement at the treatment plan. Vandal had pushed for the project back when he was part of the municipal government.
"This has taken way too long."
Asked about being left to pay the majority of the costs, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman shifted the focus to what has already been committed.
"Today shouldn't be undervalued. This is progress [but] we've got more work to do," he said.
Vandal was also asked about future funding for the plant and said he is ready to sit down with the city and province and look at supporting the next two phases, calling Friday's announcement "an incredibly positive first step."
Last fall, the cityfrom the transit infrastructure stream of the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Fund be used for work on Winnipeg's North End Water Pollution Control Centre — in effect moving it from an allocation earmarked for transit to a green infrastructure project.
Without fiscal course correction, Ottawa could be posting deficits until 2070, PBO says
OTTAWA — The federal government could be running budget deficits until 2070 if current spending plans are not altered, according to estimates by the Parliamentary Budget Officer that have spurred warning calls over Canada’s fiscal position. The Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has heaped on numerous new permanent spending programs in recent years, including a planned national childcare program, expanded Employment Insurance, increased elderly benefits, and bigger transfers to provinces for infrastructure, among other things.
That application had to be approved and forwarded to Ottawa by the provincial government.
Two months ago, the province told the city to explore the option of a public-private partnership to find the funding for the second phase of the North End upgrades — the creation of a biosolids processing facility.
Bowman said today this will delay the project by two years. Provincial Crown Services Minister Reg Helwer said that is not necessarily the case.
The opposition NDP accused the Progressive Conservative government of having "a hidden agenda" to privatize components of Winnipeg's wastewater treatment system.
The federal Conservatives, meanwhile, accused Justin Trudeau's Liberal government of dithering on the sewage-treatment upgrades since 2016.
"Trudeau let down Manitobans and failed to deliver on this project and his 2017 promise to clean up Lake Winnipeg," Kildonan-St. Paul MP Raquel Dancho said in a statement.
The city has been undertaking a massive upgrade of its sewage treatment system toand reduce the outflow of nutrients into Lake Winnipeg.
Winnipeg ICE players celebrating 'dream' after being picked in NHL draft
Winnipeg ICE defenceman Carson Lambos was selected in the first round, 26th overall by the Minnesota Wild. Gage Alexander was picked in the fifth round 148th overall, by the Anaheim Ducks. "When I finally heard my name get called, it was really emotional and I was just so stoked," Lambos said. "It's kind of something you dream of," he said. "There's still a lot of work left, but it felt good to earn that." Selection process Both Lambos, 18, and Alexander, 19, sat through the long selection process at home with their families. "It was a really cool moment with my family and my grandparents and my brother," Alexander said.
In 2003, Winnipeg was ordered by the province's Clean Environment Commission to reduce the nutrient load it puts into Lake Winnipeg.
The city spent $47 million upgrading the West End Water Pollution Control Centre a decade ago, is spending $336 million on upgrades to the South End Water Pollution Control Centre and has most recently been planning upgrades at the North End plant, the largest and oldest of the three.
Commissioned in 1937, the North End plant processes 70 per cent of the city's wastewater.
"It's a critical piece of infrastructure [but] it's been in desperate need of an upgrade for many years. Today's historic announcement … is a major milestone in funding that upgrade," Bowman said Friday.
"After being stalled by numerous city councils for many years, we're now making major progress."
On top of the upgrades to the North End plant, the city must also spend billions over the coming decades to replace combined sewers with separate, dedicated pipes for sewage and storm water.
The province has alsothat flows into Winnipeg's rivers during an average year due to the old, combined system that carries both stormwater runoff and raw sewage and results in overflows an average of 22 times a year.
Mathieu Perreault gains fresh start with Canadiens .
The Canadiens will have a new French Connection trio next season. After signing defenceman David Savard and centre Cédric Paquette as free agents on Wednesday, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin added left-winger Mathieu Perreault on Thursday night. “I haven’t talked to them yet,” Perreault said during a Zoom conference Friday when asked about the two other francophones added to the Canadiens’ lineup. “I’ve met them in a few charity tournaments in the past summers, so I know them. But it’s very exciting to have a chance to play with some French-Canadians, not something I’ve had a whole lot throughout my career.