WINNIPEG — The Province of Manitoba is looking into restarting its Quarry Rehab Program.
The Agriculture and Resources Development Department has committed to consultation with the Provincial Aggregate Advisory Committee on improvements to the program following a report from the office of the auditor general last month, a Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA) release stated.
The auditor general’s investigation found the program administered by the Mines branch lacked appropriate management oversight and internal controls and noted inspectors had “far too much responsibility and the program focused on spending, not prioritizing the most pressing projects.”
“The work of the Provincial Aggregate Advisory Committee (PAAC) is appreciated and the recommendations will be considered as we develop the path forward for quarry rehabilitation,” the department’s June 8 response said.
“As you can understand, the recommendations of the OAG have only been recently received and have significant implications for the program. The department is working as quickly as possible as we are aware of industry’s interest in the resumption of a program for the 2020 construction year,” the department stated.
The department made the commitment in response to a letter to Agriculture and Resources Development Minister Blaine Pedersen from the MHCA and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM), the release stated.
MHCA president Chris Lorenc said his association supports the report’s findings.
“We broadly support the recommendations within the auditor general’s report, and we want our industry reviews to be reflected in the practical measures taken to improve the program. It is critical that the referenced consultations with PAAC take place well in advance of decisions made to program improvements.,” Lorenc said.
AMM executive director Denys Volkov said the association supports outcomes that benefit local communities, industry and the environment.
“PAAC was created to serve as a forum for discussion regarding such topics and should be convened for those purposes,” Volkov said.
The PAAC has recommended to the province the program’s standards be updated and that there be an increase in the quarry rehab fee producers pay per tonne of aggregate extracted into the province’s quarry rehab reserve.
MHCA, AMM and a number of capital region municipalities sit on the PAAC along with representatives from a number of provincial departments.