Environmental organization says it is not fair to ask the city to choose between public transit and clean water
March 7, 2012 (Ottawa) – At a press conference this morning at Britannia Beach, Ecology Ottawa and Community Associations called on the federal government to help the nation’s capital clean up its rivers, and asked that it stop calling on the city to choose between public transit and clean water.
“We’re glad the federal government is supportive of making the Ottawa River Action Plan a priority in 2014, but the feds are planning to spend billions of dollars on jets, jails and oil subsidies, so we don’t think they should be asking the people of Ottawa to choose between light rail and clean water,” said Graham Saul, chair of Ecology Ottawa. “Minister Baird has called this a moral issue, so now is the time to act.”
To illustrate the fact that Ottawa dumps hundreds of millions of litres of untreated sewage into the river, a male model sat on a toilet bowl in Britannia Beach, with his pants around his knees during the press conference.
Ecology Ottawa has collected 750 signatures on a letter to all Ottawa-area Members of Parliament (MPs) urging them to fight to ensure funding for the Ottawa River Action Plan is included in the federal 2012 budget. During a press conference this morning at Britannia Beach, Saul said he was dissatisfied with the response to the funding request received from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
Pierre Poilievre, M.P. Nepean-Carleton, STATED that: “The cleanup of the Ottawa River remains the federal government priority now and for 2014. We wished the city shared that priority.”
“The basic argument from the federal government that if the City is serious about the Ottawa River Action Plan it can just use money from federal transit funding is unfair,” Saul said.
Saul was joined at the press conference by representatives from two Community Associations (Riverview Park and Westboro Beach) upset with beach closures and untreated sewage in our waterways. These representatives also expressed dissatisfaction in the response received from the federal government so far.
“We are asking the federal government to do what is right and fund the Ottawa River Action Plan in Budget 2012,” said Mari Wellman, chair of the Westboro Beach Community Association.
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