Ontario mulls selling sewer and
OTTAWA - The province is considering hiking water rates
and selling off municipal sewer and water systems as a
means of paying for an estimated $12-billion repair bill.
A discussion paper released by David Caplan, the minister
of Public Infrastructure Renewal, discusses ways of coping
with Ontario's crumbling hospitals, schools roads, water
and sewer systems.
Water system infrastructure was one of the areas singled
out as needing the most attention.
Caplan said water rates, which are currently the third
lowest in the world, are going to have to go up.
"We have an enormous infrastructure deficit in this
province," he said. "No firm decisions about
how and the methods, but clearly we can't keep going on
the way we have."
He's even willing to consider the sale of the infrastructure
to the private sector to get the much-needed money.
But Paul Muldoon, the head of the Canadian Environmental
Law Association, said even the suggestion of water privatization
flies in the face of recommendations made in the Walkerton
"The idea is totally outrageous, that we're going
to privatize or sell one of the most important parts of
our common infrastructure, our water system," he
said. "Even the idea of that has to be withdrawn."
The ministry will be holding public consultations across
the province in March to discuss the issues raised by
the discussion paper.