'Unsexy' sewers need some infrastructure loving, too, report says

OTTAWA – Sewers aren’t exactly sexy, but they need love, too.

A new report is calling on governments of all levels and political stripes to fight the urge to pose for ribbon-cutting photos and instead throw more infrastructure cash down the drain, so to speak.

The Canada West Foundation’s study has the backing of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and other groups that want to see a steady infusion of infrastructure cash in the next federal budget, expected next month.

Some of that money ought to go to little-loved projects that don’t exactly get people’s pulses racing, they argue.

“Infrastructure has no constituency. Health care, pensions, police services — they all have very active lobbies,” said Warren Everson of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“Nobody loves a sewer pipe.”

The Conservative government made full use of the infrastructure photo-op during the last round of spending. Few projects could escape branding with the ubiquitious tri-coloured Economic Action Plan logo.

“Our review shows that the most important benefits from infrastructure come from what it accomplishes in the economy across the long haul,” said Casey Vander Ploeg, a senior policy analyst with the Canada West Foundation.

“This highlights the need for sustained investment, rather than short-term, sporadic bursts prompted by recession.”

The report says that kind of steady, stable, long-term spending lets cities and towns better plan their projects.