Manitoba released its 2017 budget, yesterday, which includes $60 million for water infrastructure and $15 million for maintenance and preservation of water related assets.
The budget also outlined the province’s intention to develop a tailored climate and environmental framework based on principles of sustainable development. “It will offer approaches to water and land use, sustainable agriculture, protecting wetlands, forests and natural areas, investing in green infrastructure, promoting technology and innovation, and numerous other initiatives,” reads the budget.
“Budget 2017 was built for and by Manitobans, and sets out a strong plan for our province as we work to correct our course and steadily pursue improvements year over year,” said Finance Minister Cameron Friesen in a press release.
The province has made headlines recently after making difficult financial decisions in attempts to correct a flagging economy. The 2017 budget asserts that the province will reduce “red tape for municipalities and third-party proponents and move toward making Manitoba the first province to deliver a truly functional, single-window model while ensuring an expanded fair say for municipalities through greater flexibility and autonomy.” However, it’s Red Tape Reduction bill, which received first reading in March, was met with uncertainty given its impacts on drinking water, reducing the frequency of audits on small, semi-public water systems and eliminating the need for permits for making mind alterations to water systems.
Water infrastructure spending in the 2017–18 budget has increased from $45 million in the previous year to $60 million, although overall infrastructure spending fell by more than $10 million dollars.
The budget also devotes attention to ongoing efforts to recover from 2011’s extreme flooding. The province points to ongoing “reconciliation with First Nations who were displaced from their homes by the catastrophic flooding of 2011.” Infrastructure investment in flood protection measures “remains a top priority” for the provincial government, “including outlet channels that are needed to alleviate flooding around Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin.”
Budget 2017 is available in full on the province’s website.