ST.JOHN'S, NL: MAJOR INVESTMENTS IN WATER WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE
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by Michelle Moore
On June 29 the province of Newfoundland and Labrador announced funding of more than $21 million to improve water and wastewater systems and provide flood mitigation in St. John's.
North America's most eastern city will contribute $8.5 million, receive about $7.7 million through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component—National Regional Projects, and $5.6 million from the Federal Government.
Drinking water in St. John's is collected from the Broad Cove River and Windsor Lake watersheds in the east end and Bay Bulls Big Pond in the west end. $5 million of the funding will decrease the likelihood of water main leaks in the future.
Almost $15 million will be used for the St. John's Water and Sewer Reconstruction Project, which will see the replacement and restoration of degrading sewer, storm and water mains in the downtown sector.
Last week the city held one of two information sessions to advise local residents of the project and any impacts it may have. More than fifty people met with project leaders about the changes being made and street closures that may incur during the process.
The city is currently working on installing a new watermain, as well as sanitary and storm sewers which necessitates the full reconstruction of a portion of the street and sidewalk on Leinster Street from Sydney to Carmarthen Streets.
The remaining portion of the funding will be invested in the second phase of the Rennies River Flood Mitigation Project which would see the construction of a retention wall and berm along the Rennies River.
A berm is already in place in front of the Health Sciences Centre which protects the building during flooding. Over the last few years however, heavy rain has nonetheless led to flooding in some areas and caused major property damage.
The Rennie's River Catchment Stormwater Management Plan released a report recently that recommended a larger berm be built that would accommodate the increase in flood plain levels from Leary's Brook and Leary's Brook Pond.
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities for the Government of Canada and Member of Parliament for St. John's East, Nick Whalen expressed the need to manage the effects of climate change.
He said "we are proud to work with Newfoundland and Labrador, and the City of St. John's, to support improvements to water and wastewater services, and to ensure residents have a safe environment to live, work and raise their families."
These investments are part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy, a two year provincial action plan by the provincial and federal governments to stimulate economic growth in the region.