BELOEIL, QC - Public-private partnerships (P3s) have encountered a new setback in Québec, when the Beloeil municipal council voted unanimously to scrap its P3 sports center and all P3-related procedures.
It was a decision that delighted the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents the municipality’s employees.
“Today, we can celebrate a victory for the people and our members,” exclaimed the visibly happy union president Johanne Gauthier. “It was a bad project that was too expensive and ill-suited to the needs of the people and employees of Beloeil. Now we can take a new approach to the project without being beholden to a private contractor for 30 years.”
For months, CUPE has sent a loud and clear message denouncing the use of a P3 to restore the arena and build a multipurpose recreation center. Through press releases, open letters, flyers, demonstrations, and ads, CUPE pulled out all the stops to raise public awareness.
CUPE’s efforts were so effective that the Minister of Municipal Affairs forced the city to open a registry to allow residents to call for a public consultation. Spurred on by CUPE and numerous community organizations unhappy with the project, over a thousand people—more than twice the number required by law—came out on September 22 to sign the registry.
Beloeil had only one choice: either hold a referendum or drop the project outright, which it opted to do.
“At the last council meeting, the municipality decided to split the two projects and come up with a process more likely to garner community support. It seemed right,” said CUPE Québec President Lucie-Levasseur, who had called on Beloeil residents directly in this campaign.
“We now hope that Mayor Lavoie will be able to work with the union and local organizations to avoid the costly errors made in the past regarding P3s,” she concluded.
CUPE represents some 70 per cent of all municipal employees in Quebec, as well as workers in 10 other sectors including health and social services, education, public transit, air transportation, energy, Quebec government corporations and public agencies, and communications. With some 105,000 members in Quebec, CUPE is QFL’s largest affiliate.
This press release and other information can be found at scfp.qc.ca.