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Column: Ontario Liberals can’t do math

It’s going to be a record year, but not in a good way. In 2014 Greater Sudbury will have more water main breaks than ever before. Almost every day it seems we read about problems with the water system in one part of town or another.
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watermain
A watermain break on The Kingsway is seen in this file photo. Already this year, city crews have dealt with 70 watermain breaks, compared to 78 in all of 2012. File photo.
It’s going to be a record year, but not in a good way.

In 2014 Greater Sudbury will have more water main breaks than ever before.

Almost every day it seems we read about problems with the water system in one part of town or another. Major roads have been closed, lanes restricted, water service interrupted.

The inconvenience is one thing, but we will also spend more on fixing these problems than ever before.

Costs continue to build, and each dollar we spend on repairs takes away from what we can spend on preventative maintenance.

When the provincial Liberal government decided water users must pay the “full cost” of the water system, they didn’t consider the existing state of the pipes in the ground, and the skyrocketing failure rate.

Even for a city committed to maintaining our water system properly, it is difficult to set aside enough money each year to handle almost 1,000 kilometers of water main and another 800 kilometres in sewers.

Last year alone we faced more than 100 water main breaks, which cost about $2 million to fix. Though our system covers a lot of ground, there are only about 50,000 accounts to share the infrastructure costs.

It seems the Liberals can’t do the math. Sudbury isn’t alone. Across Ontario municipalities are worried about the state of water infrastructure.

While the Liberal government refuses to take the lead, New Democrats are reiterating our commitment to infrastructure investments and to uploading services so our cities can continue to grow.

Joe Ciminio is the NDP candidate for Sudbury in the upcoming provincial election.


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