We have not had any responses to our requests for meetings from four Ministers to discuss our OCIF3 grant being denied. I have sent the below correspondence to the Premier today.
March 12, 2017
Kathleen Wynne, Premier
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
This is a formal invitation to visit the the Village of Westport in eastern Ontario. And you are correct – it has been a Progressive Conservative riding for years. Further, I suspect it will remain a PC riding in 2018. I thought we should get that out of the way at the beginning of my letter. I hope it makes no difference to you, the Premier of ALL Ontarians.
The Corporation of the Village of Westport, located on the Upper Rideau Lake, has a population of 600 people. It is the smallest municipality in Ontario with both water and waste water systems. The waste water system is wholly inadequate to service the needs of the community due to climate change and aging infrastructure. Westport was turned down for an OCIF 2 grant and now for OCIF 3 as well. It is difficult to understand how this critical work to bring the Village into compliance with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is not a priority with your government. The Environmental Assessment has been completed and approved by MOECC. The build for the “green”, “low energy” waste water treatment system has been approved by MOECC. We are shovel ready. Moving forward, we need $2.3 million dollars in 2017 to replace the old system. To my municipality – it is an incredible burden. To your government – it is an insignificant amount of the OCIF3 grants.
Before you say that “this isn’t my department”, Premier, we have written to your Ministers and requested meetings – Municipal Affairs and Housing, OMAFRA, Environment and Infrastructure. Only one has replied to our correspondence. Minister Mauro’s schedule was “too busy” to meet with me.
Before you say “the applications were assessed by experts and others were found to be more in need”, Premier, think about the environmental impact of a waste water system imploding versus a new road or arena.
The Village needs the help of the provincial government to complete a project of this magnitude. To think that the Village’s small tax base can complete it on its own is unreasonable. Without being able to process effluent, thousands of litres has been hauled to a neighbouring community by truck over the past couple of years to a total cost of $800,000. The situation poses an environmental threat to the Rideau Canal and a public safety and economic threat to the Village and surrounding community.
Premier, what are you and your government going to do to help the Village of Westport? I repeat my invitation to you and your Ministers to come to Westport and see with your own eyes the challenges that we are facing. I am certain it will soften your heart.
Village of Westport