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Premier Indifferent to Municipalities’ Waste Water Fears
PC Opposition Municipal Affairs Critic Chris Tibbs said, “The Premier is not listening to our province’s municipal leaders or bringing their concerns to Ottawa."
Friday, November 15, 2019

Office of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release

St. John’s, NL (November 15, 2019) – PC Opposition Municipal Affairs Critic Chris Tibbs is appalled that Premier Dwight Ball dismissed the fears of municipal leaders that they can be personally prosecuted and sent to jail over tough new municipal waste water rules the federal government has imposed on them.

In the House of Assembly on Thursday, Ball responded to Tibbs’ questions, saying: “this morning I spent four hours with community leaders across our province. We spent four hours going to every single table asking members what the number one priority was amongst their communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Not one of them – not one leader in this province today at the municipal level brought up a fear of them going to jail – none. As a matter of fact, they very much appreciated that this was the opportunity for first time in the history of this province, no other premier has done this, Mr. Speaker, and not one of them brought up a fear of going to jail over waste water.”

But the outgoing president of Municipalities NL told the very same conference that new federal waste water regulations remain one of the most pressing issues facing towns in the province. Tony Keats said the pressure placed on communities has been overwhelming. It was one of the greatest concerns raised by municipal leaders attending this week’s Premier’s Forum on Local Government.

Tibbs said, “The Premier is not listening to our province’s municipal leaders or bringing their concerns to Ottawa. Instead, he is bringing Ottawa’s message to municipal leaders and ignoring the real threats that have mayors, town managers and clerks living with fear of being hauled off to jail, which is exactly what can happen under Ottawa’s Draconian new rules.”

Tibbs said, “Some 86 per cent of waste water systems in our province discharge untreated water. This issue is bigger here than in any other province. For municipalities in this province, compliance is practically impossible, and municipal leaders are scared.”

“Just last month, we attended the meeting at the Holiday Inn up here where it was on every municipality’s mind. This is a huge, huge issue that needs to be addressed. But it’s not going to be addressed by a Premier who won’t even admit it’s a problem.”

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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