One year and nine months after the City of Winnipeg sent in an application, senior governments have now committed funding for just one phase of the $1.854-billion upgrade to the North End sewage treatment plant.
Officials from the governments of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada gathered at the plant today to announce a long-awaited funding agreement that stops well short of the city funding request for the three-phase project.
The federal government will provide about $116.1 million from its Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to support Phase 1, while the province will contribute $96.7 million and Winnipeg pays $143 million.
That provides a combined $212.8 million of provincial and federal funding to pay for the initial facilities upgrades.
The city applied for tri-government funding for the project’s first two phases in October 2019. At the time, it asked Ottawa to pay $321 million and the province $268 million to cover the $909-million tab for the first two phases of the sewage plant upgrades, while the city would cover the rest.
An $828-million third phase of sewage treatment plant upgrades, which would reduce algae-promoting nutrients that flow out of the plant and wind up in Lake Winnipeg, is not yet part of a funding request.
While government officials at the announcement promoted the Phase 1 investment as a major step forward on a key environmental project, there is no set date for when the third phase could actually begin to reduce the polluting nutrients.
Several officials acknowledged that the announcement has been a long time coming, since Winnipeg was first ordered to make the upgrades in 2003.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.