New $40 million storm treatment facility to protect Lake Simcoe from excess phosphorus
York Region, Ontario, November 12, 2020—Lake Simcoe is the largest inland lake in southern Ontario outside of the Great Lakes. The watershed is home to more than 435,000 people. Clean water is vital to this ecosystem and these communities. But human activity has impacted the lake’s health.
Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors and Member of Parliament for King–Vaughan; Helena Jaczek, Member of Parliament for Markham–Stouffville, and Wayne Emmerson, York Region Chairman and CEO, announced funding to construct a storm water treatment facility.
The storm water treatment facility will reduce runoff from Holland Marsh into Lake Simcoe, and protect the lake’s watershed from excessive algae growth. This investment will result in better protection for the region’s aquatic habitats, ecosystem biodiversity, and protect drinking water sources.
The Government of Canada is investing $16 million through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF). The Regional Municipality of York is contributing $24 million to the project. The project is expected to save $5.38 for every dollar invested.
The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority identified the Marsh as a critical point load of phosphorus, contributing an average of 6 tonnes a year. The release of excess phosphorus from agriculture, such as fertilizer, places the Lake Simcoe Watershed at risk of eutrophication that can irreversibly destroy aquatic habitats and ecosystem biodiversity.
“This project alone will reduce phosphorus runoff into Lake Simcoe by 40 percent, cutting algae growth in the lake’s watershed, preserving fish habitat and protecting a major source of drinking water. We simply have to invest now in infrastructure that protects Canadians, our environment, and the biodiversity of our ecosystems. The $16 million the Government of Canada is investing in this storm water treatment facility will ensure York Region residents have access to quality drinking water, and will preserve industries that are important to the economy, including agriculture and recreation.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“Clean water is vital to the health of our environment and communities. The Government of Canada is proud to partner with York Region to help protect Lake Simcoe with this major investment. These investments will create jobs today that help protect our region’s environment and drinking water for our future.”
The Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors and Member of Parliament for King−Vaughan
“I’m very pleased to see this project move forward with a significant investment from our government. I know it’s the product of years of hard work—and it will have a really positive impact on the water quality and ecosystems in the area.”
Helena Jaczek, Member of Parliament for Markham–Stouffville
“Building strong, caring, safe communities is a top priority for York Regional Council. This includes building resilient infrastructure for residents today and into the future. Through the support of our federal partners we continue to safeguard the local water supply, while also investing in innovative solutions to protect the Lake Simcoe Watershed and its habitats.”
Wayne Emmerson, York Region Chairman and CEO
The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) is a $2-billion, 10-year program to help communities build the infrastructure they need to better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes and droughts.
To date, more than $1.8 billion has been announced through DMAF for 65 large-scale infrastructure projects that will help protect communities across the country from the threats of climate change.
DMAF is part of the federal government’s Investing in Canada plan, which is providing more than $180 billion over 12 years for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and rural and northern communities.
To support Canadians and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories.
The COVID-19 Resilience Stream will help other orders of governments whose finances have been significantly impacted by the pandemic by increasing the federal cost share for public infrastructure projects.
The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in existing federal funding to support communities as they deploy innovative new ways to adapt spaces and services to respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Office of the Minister of Seniors, Deb Schulte
Manager, Corporate Communications
The Regional Municipality of York
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