Mr. Speaker, the motion by the member for Comox-Alberni concerns the establishment of a country-wide program to permit municipalities to upgrade their sewer systems. I would point out to the House that the infrastructure program launched by the government in co-operation with the provinces and the territories has helped municipalities modernize their effluent treatment facilities and, at the same time, has created the jobs these communities badly needed.
On June 14 of this year, the government approved $1.2 billion dollars for infrastructure projects across Canada to modernize and expand sewer systems. If we add to this the funds approved for projects to improve drinking water supply and treatment systems, we end up with a figure of $1.9 billion, or a third of the money earmarked for the infrastructure program, going to water or sewer system projects.
These figures indicate that clean water and establishment of a healthy environment are priorities in each province. The municipalities invest the money from the infrastructure program to provide essential services, and we are their partners in this undertaking.
The improvements will benefit the municipalities themselves and Canada as a whole. The projects will mean work for workers, improved quality of life in the communities and a better future for our children.
The member sponsoring this motion comes form British Columbia. In that province 75 per cent of infrastructure works funding has been set aside specifically for sewer and water projects and $388 million has already been approved for sewage treatment improvements.
The largest single infrastructure works project in the country is a major sewage treatment facility in B.C. The $206 million upgrade to the Annacis Island sewage treatment plant will reduce waste reaching the Fraser River. Costs will be shared with the province of British Columbia and the greater Vancouver regional district. The upgrade will cover the first phase of secondary waste water treatment and reduce the level of pollu-
tants expelled into the Fraser River, home of the largest salmon run in the world. More than one billion fish migrate up the Fraser River to spawn every year.
Still in British Columbia, communities from one end of of the province to the other are taking advantage of the unique partnership created by Canada infrastructure works to upgrade vital services and boost their local economies. For example, in the Okanagan region infrastucture funding of $27 million is allowing the district of Summerland to build sanitary sewers and a sewage treatment plant. With a population of almost 10,000 Summerland is the largest community in the Okanagan without a community sewage program.
Thanks to the $7.5 million in infrastructure works funding Prince George is moving ahead with stage three of a waste water treatment plant in that city. Smaller communities are also benefiting. On the northern part of Vancouver Island, Port Alice, Port McNeill and the district of Powell River are upgrading or building sewage facilities under the infrastructure program.
By taking advantage of the possibilities for co-operation offered by infrastructure works, municipalities can begin earlier, and at a lower cost, to modernize their water treatment facilities. In my province, Manitoba, Winnipeg is modernizing its sewer system in order to reduce spillover into the Red River. Four projects worth a total of $20 million will prevent the rise and overflow of sewer water.
A similar project is now under way in Hamilton, Ontario. That city is building a $25 million facility that intercepts combined sewer overflows and contains them for treatment at the water pollution control plant. Here again is a case of the national infrastructure program responding to local priorities and improving our environment.
The infrastructure program is bringing water and sewer service to many rural Atlantic Canada communities for the first time. Examples include Colchester county, Nova Scotia where a $13 million project will build a sewage treatment plant to service the town of Truro and surrounding area. This improved infrastructure will assist industrial development while enhancing the local environment. What is more, using the latest technology will develop the job skills of those employed in the construction and operation of the plant.
Three communities in Prince Edward Island have worked together to expand sewer facilities. Bunbury, Southport and Crossroads have now been amalgamated into one town. The community is pleased with the rapid implementation of the $1.5 million project. It is a densely populated area and environmental problems were imminent if the sewer system had not been extended.
According to the head of the local pollution control commission, the community benefits in several ways. I quote: "One is the potential for safer groundwater for a much longer time. It also makes the area much more attractive to live in. There's also a greater potential for commercial and industrial development in the area".
In the community of Conception Bay South, Newfoundland about 350 homes, schools and businesses will have water and sewer services available to them this summer for the first time. The $5 million infrastructure project employed over 200 people and has been a real shot in the arm for the local economy. The town's mayor says that it is the best thing that has ever happened to his community. I quote: "There are a lot of families that have been waiting a long time, perhaps 20 years, for these services, if not for the infrastructure program".
Finally, the infrastructure program has allowed large and small municipalities across Canada to make improvements to their sewer systems, improvements they established as priorities themselves.
Thanks to federal-provincial co-operation, these improvements may be made now and create the jobs these communities so badly need. The program is a fine example of what can be accomplished when three levels of government decide to work together for the welfare of the people.