Climate crisis: the UMQ asks the next government for $2 billion a year

Stephane Blais, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — The Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) is asking the next Quebec government to implement a Green Pact with the municipalities, at a cost of $2 billion per year, for the next five years, in order to respond immediately to the climate emergency.

The UMQ believes that an “ambitious partnership” with the government is necessary to acquire the necessary infrastructures to respond to climate change, ensure the resilience of the territories and the safety of the population.

“We are all already feeling the impacts related to environmental issues that are causing drama in our cities, and threatening future generations,” said the mayor of Montreal and president of the UMQ, Valérie Plante, during a press conference. Tuesday morning in Montreal.

The UMQ argues that municipalities are on the front lines of the consequences of climate change.

During the press conference in which several elected officials took part, the Mayor of Sherbrooke mentioned that the obsolescence of the water infrastructures had even slowed down the project to build a school.

« The CAQ recently announced the creation of a new secondary school in Sherbrooke, then the first response from municipal services was that currently, we do not believe we have the capacity, simply at the level of the sewers, to be able to absorb this new pressure on the territory, so it also slows down the arrival of essential infrastructures such as that of secondary schools, ”said Évelyne Beaudin.

“It is time to have a partnership of equals with the other levels of government and we must have the resources and the flexibility necessary to respond to the climate emergency,” added the Mayor of Sherbrooke.

The City of Longueuil estimates that it will cost $650 million just to expand and rebuild a drinking water supply plant.

« When there is an increase in rainfall or a lot of rain in a short period, the plant is not able to treat all the water, hence the overflow phenomenon, » explained Mayor Catherine Fournier in specifying that the problems are growing « because there are more episodes of heavy rain ».

The UMQ asks the leaders to decide on Friday

According to a study conducted by WSP and Ouranos, the costs that municipalities must bear due to precipitation, flooding, extreme heat and more intense freeze-thaw cycles are estimated at $2 billion per year. until 2055.

“Road maintenance, maintenance of aqueducts, sewers, bridges, culverts, buildings, will represent a 12% increase in annual municipal spending. These additional expenses constitute the most important foreseeable budgetary issue for Quebecers and the window of opportunity to limit the damage is very short,” argued Martin Damphousse, vice-president of the UMQ and mayor of Varennes.

Mr. Damphousse invited the leaders of the various political parties to decide on the « Green Pact » on Friday, on the occasion of the « Electoral Summit ».

During this meeting of municipal elected officials which will take place in Montreal, the UMQ plans to welcome the leaders of the various provincial political parties, to invite them to position themselves on its municipal electoral platform.


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