Speed up source water protection plan approvals, AG report says

Protection of drinking water is one of the items that Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk explores in her annual report, released Tuesday.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk criticizes MOE for delays in getting plans in place across Ontario

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk is criticizing the Environment Ministry for the delays in getting plans in place across Ontario. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Protection of drinking water is one of the items that Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk explores in her annual report, released yesterday.

Lysyk criticized the Ministry of the Environment for its slow pace in approving source water protection plans.

She noted it has been 14 years since the recommendation to put strategic protection plans in place was first made.

Sudbury's plan is one of 11 out of 22 across the province to get approval.

The Nickel District Conservation Authority's Judy Sewell says Sudbury is ahead of most municipalities.

“It takes effect April 1st, 2015. So I'd say we're in good standing.”

But the question of why it has taken so long is a good one for the ministry, said Sewell. However, she did acknowledge it's a fairly detailed job.

“Drinking water sources ... can be groundwater sources or surface water intake,” she said.

“In Sudbury, we have 24 municipal water wells and three surface water intakes and it does take a fair bit of technical work.”

Other issues highlighted by the Auditor General include long waiting lists for housing for the developmentally disabled, the need for more oversight of daycare workers, and high rates of recidivism among high-risk offenders.

Lysyk’s report also underscored a number of other issues facing the province, including ballooning debt. She estimates that, by 2017, the net debt will reach $325 billion — double that of a decade ago.

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