Local MP calls for federal funds for Ottawa River cleanup

Every time there is a heavy rainfall in Ottawa sewers overflow, spewing millions of litres of raw sewage into the Ottawa River and a local MP is using Earth Day to renew his call for the federal to put that to an end.

Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar says it's time for the federal government to spend more money to finish the ongoing project to prevent sewer overflow into the river.

"Minister [John] Baird has said as the minister responsible for the Ottawa area that this is a moral issue for him," said Dewar. "I agree with him, but alas, we've seen no announcements in the most recent budget, and when it comes to commitment, we need more than words. We need money on the table."

He told CFRA there are ways the federal government could offer the river further protections.

"One thing that Minister Baird could to with the stroke of a pen is to declare the Ottawa River a Heritage River," he said. "All the work's been done. It was passed through Cabinet, but not declared and that's something that he could announce tomorrow or the next day and it wouldn't cost him a dime, but would be a very important signal."

Dewar made this same call on Earth Day last year and said he's disappointed the commitments since then have only been verbal.

He said if there is still no movement on this file by next year, it's time for the people of Ottawa and Gatineau to hold all politicians accountable.

"I know that there will be an election in 2015 and I think this is a major election issue that people will be focused on in this area," said Dewar.

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