Ottawa West Nepean MP John Baird is happy to pump money into fixing city sewage, but you won’t catch him swimming in the Ottawa River just yet.
While he would not criticize the speed with which the city was fixing its sewers in order to eliminate sewage spills into the river, Baird was elusive when asked if he’d take a dip in the water after his speech at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual conference yesterday.
Reports of occasional sewage spills into the river have made headlines over the last few years.
The largest spill was in August 2006, when a jammed gate released nearly a billion cubic litres over 12 days.
Baird said the problem would not be solved overnight.
“I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and take pot shots. We want to be part of the solution,” said Baird.
Earlier this month, Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Jim Watson criticized the city for not doing more to address the problem sooner, and he received more than 70 messages from constituents praising him for speaking up.
Those comments riled Alta Vista Coun. Peter Hume, who called Watson’s comments “uninformed and unsubstantiated.”