Jan 7, 2006

Prime Minister announces clean-up strategy for the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes   by Liberal Party of Canada

Montreal:Prime Minister Paul Martin today announced a 10-year, $1-billion comprehensive four-part strategy to clean-up problem areas of the St. Lawrence River basin and the Great Lakes – including $25 million for the clean-up of Montreal’s Technoparc – as part of a new national environmental revitalization plan.

“Our new plan aims at cleaning up the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes and restoring habitat for fish and wild-life. The long-term health of Canadians requires that we maintain a rich and flourishing ecosystem,” said the Prime Minister. “We want to ensure our water is safe to drink and swim in, our fish and wildlife flourish, and our waterfronts are vibrant and healthy.”

The National Ecosystem Initiative and Revitalization Plan is a comprehensive strategy to work with all levels of government to clean up toxic hotspots around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence ecosystem, including Montreal’s Technoparc. It will also initiate research and actions to revitalize the Lake Winnipeg watershed.

“For close to a century, the site where the Technoparc is located was part of a dump for industrial and household waste,” said the Prime Minister. “This project is part of a larger process aimed at strengthening the competitive advantages of the Montreal region by promoting the development potential of the city’s harbour-front district.”

Today’s announcement builds on the $1.6 million we invested to find technological solutions for the treatment of groundwater in Montreal’s Technoparc district in November.

Like the revitalization of the LachineCanal, the rehabilitation of the Technoparc is a key factor in the promotion of Montreal’s harbour-front and recreational tourism for the district. Following an investment of $82 million by all levels of government, the LachineCanal was re-opened in 2002 as a pleasure-boating area and has become a major tourist attraction.

“Watersheds affect all aspects of the environment: from weather, to air quality, to wildlife habitat, to water quality and availability,” the Prime Minister said. “By significantly improving the health of our waterways and ecosystems, we improve the health, economic opportunities, and quality of life of Canadians.”

The Prime Minister’s four-part strategy to preserve a number of Canada’s ecosystems and improve Canada’s long-term health and biodiversity includes:

  • Restoring degraded and threatened areas across the entire region of the Great Lakes and St.Lawrence, including Montreal’s Technoparc and HamiltonHarbour, at a cost of $500 million over 10 years. 
  • Identifying and addressing current and growing ecological threats due to population growth, invasive alien species and new substances such as pharmaceuticals that make their way into the ecosystem at a cost of $100 million over 10 years. 
  • Investing in scientific research to improve our understanding of the dynamic effects of human activity, alien species and climate change on these ecosystems at a cost of $200 million over 10 years. 
  • Restoring Lake Winnipeg’s health through a reduction of pollutants, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, at a cost of $120 million over 10 years; and establishing best practices for other key watersheds at a cost of $80 million over 10 years.The National Ecosystem Initiative and Revitalization Plan will clean up the harmful actions of the past and permit all levels of government to work in partnership so that Canada can prevent future ecological damage.

    “In this new century, a key aspect of our nation’s development will be measured in how well we work as responsible stewards of our environment,” said the Prime Minister. “That means we must act now to preserve a vibrant ecology and clean water as a natural resource. This will be a large part of the valuable legacy we will leave for our children and future Canadians.”

  • Backgrounder: The Liberal National Ecosystem Initiative and Revitalization Plan
  • Backgrounder: Progress to Date