1999 GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITY FORUM
SEPTEMBER 24-26, 1999
LIGHTLY EDITED, VERBATIM TRANSCRIPT
SATURDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 25
QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION
Bruce Walker, STOP, a citizens environmental group in Montréal, Québec
I also wear another hat. In Québec we have variant on RAP PACs in the Great Lakes. We call them ZIP Committees along the St. Lawrence River in Québec. I am also representing the Comité ZIP Jacques Cartier, which represents about the eastern half of the island of Montréal, and one of our key stakeholders and concerns has to do Canada's largest municipal sewage treatment plant. Certainly not Canada's best treatment plant but certainly the largest, that has been treating sewage for the residents of the island of Montréal for four years, two months and two days, I think. This is one of the reasons that I am here. Not only because everything you flush into the Great Lakes eventually finds its way down to Montréal, but also, so that in our clean-up efforts we can avoid some of the mistakes and learn from some of your experiences.
To that end, I have two questions for representatives from the government of Ontario. Earlier this morning there was a slide that referred to the Ontario Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement and there was some references to some of the industrial regulations that were adopted. The simple form of the question is what happened to M in MISA in Ontario? Are there any current regulatory initiatives underway with regard to municipal sewage treatment plants? A second question, help me better understand Minister Clement last night said something which to me was very surprising. He said Ontario will continue to support RAPs in Ontario. Is this a policy change? I was under the impression that the government of Ontario had discontinued funding of RAP PACs some years ago.
Well, we'll certainly try. First of all, I guess, since, well, over the last two years, and we are going to accelerate the payment on the program, we have increased our funding of municipal sewage treatment, and water and treatment programs have had a $200 million infusion over the last couple years in Ontario. You are right that we haven't put the M component into a regulatory structure but, in fact, we have been substantially improving what the effluent levels are from those plants.
In terms with dealing with your second question, the RAP question and what Mr. Clement said last night, there are components where Ontario has moved towards greater community involvement, but Ontario has still contributed to the RAP program throughout the last number of years. We have contributed capital dollars and we have contributed other components. It's not that Ontario has abandoned that area. What we have done, we have taken a different approach. It is one where he wants to re-assess how we can engage other approaches as well.