BURNABY Concerned citizens and workers in the Resort Municipality of Whistler attended Whistler council’s January 9th meeting to urge the newly elected group to keep wastewater treatment public.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees presented a written submission on behalf of CUPE Local 2010, which represents Whistler’s municipal workers. In its submission CUPE raised serious concerns about Whistler’s decision to enter into a multi-decade public-private partnership (P3) contract to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant.
Pete Davidson, president of CUPE 2010, said that with a new council recently elected, there is an opportunity to cancel the privatization initiative. “We are concerned about possible cost and tax increases that are associated with P3s, about a lack of openness and accountability and inadequate access to information,” said Davidson.
CUPE’s presentation noted that the RMOW has won national awards for its public sewage treatment and questioned the quality of information given to the previous council around the P3 cost-savings. CUPE also provided information about a number of P3 projects in B.C. that are experiencing substantial cost increases, including the RAV line in Vancouver, the Bennett Bridge in the Okanagan and the Sea to Sky highway.
Members of the Council of Canadians were also in attendance at the meeting. Carleen Pickard, the Council’s B.C./Yukon regional organizer, said that the Council fears that once wasterwater treatment is opened up to private delivery, there are serious implications not only for Whistler, but also right across the country. “Under NAFTA and international trade law, this is a slippery slope that will result in us losing control of all water, including our drinking water,” said Pickard.
CUPE’s submission can be downloaded at www.cupe.bc.ca/water.
For more information:
Pete Davidson, President CUPE Local 2010, (604) 935-8603
Roseanne Moran, CUPE Communications, (778) 835-7537
Carleen Pickard, Council of Canadians, (604) 340-2455