Ottawa may have plowed a damaging hole in its future provincial funding due to the city's increased spending on the year's winter maintenance, according to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Ottawa-West Nepean MPP Jim Watson.
Ottawa's Public Works Department has been under some heat this past month about the $5 million deficit it ran during the first three months of this year due to high snow clearing costs.
According to Watson, provincial money allocated to Ottawa specifically for infrastructure purposes was used for city snow plowing instead. This, he said, will end up hurting Ottawa in the long run.
"It really hurt the credibility of the city because they've been coming to (the provincial government) for a long time saying how hard-pressed they are for infrastructure money," Watson said.
"So we deliver them infrastructure money for roads and bridges and then they turn around and use it for snow removal."
This past winter, the city of Ottawa spent a total of $14.5 million on snow removal.
Watson said that while the provincial government will continue to fund municipalities in its goal to save cities about $600 million per year, the process for cash-outs will likely become more stringent because of what happened in Ottawa.
"We now require municipalities to sign off on exactly what they're going to use the money for — lesson learned" said Watson.
"I'm not going to dwell on the fact that the city made a mistake, but it will hurt them next time they cry poor for infrastructure money."