Four months later….cost of McGuinty’s water bill still unanswered

For Immediate Release:
September 13, 2010

Queens Park – Four months after first asking what people can expect to pay for McGuinty’s water bill, Opposition Environment Critic Toby Barrett was still searching for answers on his return to Queens Park today.

Despite first introducing the Water Opportunities Act on May 18th government failed to schedule debate before the end of the Spring session, meaning Opposition had to wait until today before having the opportunity to address McGuinty’s water bill.

“Four months of waiting, and it does raise some questions. How much will it cost?” Barrett fired at the outset of his hour lead off response. “Why is this government creating yet another crown agency? Where are the targets? Where are the targets to ensure compliance?”

When the legislation was first introduced, Barrett noted that Bill 72 represented a warning for residential users, industrial users, farmers with water taking permits who are dependent on irrigation-based agriculture like potatoes, carrots, tobacco – four months later, with no information forthcoming from government on cost, the warning remains.

Barrett noted that the Water Opportunities Act, represents the second kick at the water can for the McGuinty government in recent months, following MPP David Caplan’s legislation – the Sustainable Water and Waste Water Systems Improvement and Maintenance Act.

“What was a little scary was that Mr. Caplan pegged the cost to consumers at about $600 a year,” reported Barrett. “Everybody here, and anybody that’s listening to this presentation, hang on to your wallet, because, here comes another bill by way of Mr. McGuinty.”

The Water Opportunities Act calls for municipalities to submit water “plans” to the Minister focusing on water conservation upon which individual targets may be set – the bill also calls for the creation of an overarching body titled, the”Water Technology Acceleration Project”.
“It goes without saying, that there’s no doubt that clean water is essential.” Barrett acknowledged. “What concerns me is the very fact that it took seven years for this government to finally come to the table with some sort of an approach to water conservation and related water infrastructure. It brings into question this government’s commitment.”

Barrett added that over those seven years, McGuinty dragged his feet and never did implement the previous governments Bill 175 – the Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act.

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For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at
(519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629