Update on Winnipeg's Infrastructure Priorities: North End Winnipeg Pollution Control Centre and Public Transit Funding

Posted earlier this morning was the Interim Phosphorus Reduction and North End Winnipeg Pollution Control Centre (NEWPCC) Upgrade Plan Update.

This is a joint report prepared by the City and the Province and submitted to the Project Steering Committee that the Province created for this project last year.

Special thanks Moira Geer, Director of Water and Waste and her team for their participation and leadership on this project and in support of this Steering Committee.

Council and the Winnipeg public service are aligned in the objective to protect Lake Winnipeg, and to ensure we do not introduce avoidable delays in the schedule.

A scientific, evidence-based approach to this project is an absolute necessity and we appreciate the Province’s interest in learning about the project and supporting the efforts of the City of Winnipeg’s Water and Waste department.

The City and the Province continue to collaborate on finding an Interim Phosphorus Removal Solution, but as noted in the joint report, we have more information to collect so we can develop a safe implementation plan at the North End Plant that does not further risk the health of Lake Winnipeg.

As noted in the project update, the City commenced work on its own but is hopeful significant financial support is coming soon.

The NEWPCC upgrade is critical for the health of Lake Winnipeg.

It is also incredibly important for continued growth and development in Winnipeg.

This upgrade has stagnated without action from previous Councils and for far too long, lacked substantive funding commitments from other levels of government.

The NEWPCC upgrade is the largest capital project in Winnipeg’s history and was launched by the City on its own, and now it appears the City is finally on the precipice of gaining full funding partners for Phases 1 and 2.

On September 30, 2020 Winnipeg City Council unanimously endorsed a request from the Province of Manitoba to transfer $321.24 million of federal funds from the Transit to the Green Infrastructure Stream under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) to support upgrades to the NEWPCC.

Winnipeg City Council’s decision on this transfer of federal funds is subject to the Province of Manitoba committing to:

  • Provide its share of $267.7 million towards the NEWPCC upgrade, and;

  • No further reduction of Winnipeg’s remaining federal transit allocation of $203.6 million under the ICIP and committing to provide provincial cost matching funds for the remaining federal transit funding under the terms of the Manitoba Canada ICIP bilateral agreement.

Winnipeg City Council’s unanimous decision to place conditions on the ICIP funding underscores the importance of Winnipeg Transit by ensuring a stable and predictable level of investment in transit infrastructure by all three levels of government, with specific projects to be guided by the soon to be released Transit Master Plan.

Winnipeg City Council’s decision also marks a historic milestone in securing a total investment of $589 million from the Provincial and Federal Governments, and when combined with the City of Winnipeg’s investment, totals $909 million from all three levels of government towards Council’s top infrastructure priority of upgrading the NEWPCC.

As the economic engine of the province, Winnipeg needs strong funding partners that will support the unanimous decision made by every single democratically elected representative for all of Winnipeg. We now look to the Province to respect the will of Council to provide its share of the NEWPCC upgrade and protect Winnipeg’s remaining federal transit allocation because both are critically important to the environment and for future growth and development in our city.