MHCA welcomes ongoing commitment to dedicated rehab fund and program
The provincial government has announced that, after review of provincial reserve accounts, it will ensure fees collected for specific purposes – including quarry rehabilitation fees – will be used expressly for the intended programs.
Further, Finance Minister Scott Fielding said, the government will ensure annual program budgets increase equal to the revenues raised each year by the fees.
Under the Quarry Rehabilitation Program, the province collects a per-tonne fee from producers extracting aggregates from pits and quarries. The fee revenues are deposited into a dedicated reserve managed and administered by the province, to pay contractors completing rehab work.
The rehab reserve is among 17 special funds “in the process of being remediated to ensure those expecting benefits from the funds can rely on the money will be spent for its designated purposes.”
MHCA President Chris Lorenc said the announcement is welcome news as the industry has been concerned about the future of the rehabilitation program, an integral element in Manitoba’s ability to make the most of its aggregate resources. Many municipalities in the Capital Region, where a trove of high-quality aggregate exists, are facing pressures the push back on pit and quarry licensing, due to competing development interests.
Lorenc said the MHCA has been working for years to see the Quarry Rehabilitation Program updated, to increase the per tonne fees and the program standards. MHCA is a member of the Provincial Aggregate Advisory Committee, with municipal and provincial department representatives.
Lorenc said his understanding of the province’s announcement is that the rehabilitation fund will continue to be a separate, dedicated reserve expressly for the purpose of the program. MHCA is sending a letter on this to Fielding, relevant ministers and municipalities in the Capital Region.
“This year, departments will receive sufficient funds to use for their original, intended purposes and to ensure this money is spent,” Fielding said. “Going forward, departmental budgets will be increased by an amount equal to the revenues generated by the fees, to be spent on their intended purposes by the end of fiscal year.”
The minister added these amounts will be part of base budgets in future years.
To read the minister’s announcement click here.