Province can’t address boil orders by issuing threats

March 4, 2020

St. John’s, NL – Boil water advisories (BWAs) currently affect 144 communities in the province. Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) says dealing with these advisories should involve more support from the provincial government, not less.

MNL is responding to public comments made by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment last week that communities will have to address their boil orders before they can access any additional cost-share funding from the government.

“We are very concerned,” MNL President Sheila Fitzgerald said. “Our members shouldn’t first learn about important matters of public policy that affect them in the media. MNL was not consulted about this new funding approach, nor do we agree with it.”

Of the 144 communities, 68 are municipalities. Three-quarters of their BWAs arise from issues with chlorination, existing system contamination or maintenance. Funding to address these issues does not exist. Apart from municipal operating grants, the provincial government only provides funding to cover a portion of capital costs. In other words, communities can access funding to help build water systems, but not to run them.

“Many communities do not have or cannot raise the operational funds required to resolve this issue and countless others, which is why MNL has spent years researching and advocating for new sources of municipal revenue. Their tax base can’t absorb rising costs either,” Fitzgerald says. “Threatening municipalities with funding cuts is not a solution.”

MNL is seeking further clarification from the department on this issue.

 

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Contact:

Deatra Walsh – Director of Advocacy and Communications
Cell: 709-986-2771 l email: dwalsh@municipalnl.ca

Gail Woodfine – Communications and Public Relations Coordinator
Cell: 709-725-1440 l email: gwoodfine@municipalnl.ca

MNL mailing address is
79 Mews Place, St. John’s, NL  A1B 4N2