Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

More cash for sump pump incentives

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Winnipeg's sump pump incentive program has been so successful the province wants to triple it by adding $2 million in funding.

Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux said Friday the additional $1 million in funding from the province, to be matched by the city, is needed because uptake has been so swift.

Lemieux said under the original program, about 400 city properties have been approved to get sump pumps and backwater valves installed to prevent basement flooding during a flood or heavy rainstorm when the city's sewers are overwhelmed.

"That really hangs over our heads," Lemieux said of the possibility of a severe spring flood.

Mayor Sam Katz said 10 days ago water and waste officials recommended the city find an additional $1 million to continue the subsidy program when they saw the money was nearly used up. When it was first announced, the city and province contributed $500,000 each toward it.

Katz said the program has received more than 600 applications since city council approved it at the end of February and more are coming in.

"We approached the province and yesterday we got a verbal yes, they'll partner with us," Katz said.

The plan offers a 60 per cent rebate on backwater valves and sump pump pits for homeowners. It costs anywhere from $2,500 to $9,000 to install the protective devices. Homeowners who installed the flood-proofing after May 2010 are also eligible. The rebates have been offered on a first-come, first-served basis, up to a maximum of $1,000 for backwater valves, $2,000 for sump pumps and pits and $3,000 for both.

Jerry Comeau, senior project engineer for Winnipeg's water and waste department, said he was surprised by the uptake and the average subsidy is $1,850.

Comeau said most homeowners jumped on the subsidy after the announcement was first made and the department thought it was a good idea to extend it so more homeowners could protect their properties.

Lemieux added the program will also likely be extended in Brandon and in some other municipalities that have recently expressed interest.

He also said the province is extending funding so plumbing companies can confidently plan installations and order more products.

 

-- with files from Jen Skerritt

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 19, 2011 A11

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