City of Edmonton staff are advising council to scrap plans for a P3 and keep a new recreation centre public.
- Update: on April 16, council voted to keep the rec centre public
CUPE opposed the plan from the start, calling for the city to keep the much-needed rec centre in public hands. Other community groups, including Public Interest Alberta, also campaigned against the scheme.
In a press release announcing its recommendation that the facility would proceed as a “construction management” project, the city administration said it couldn’t reach an acceptable deal with the private sector. Construction management is the way much of Canada’s infrastructure was built – with the private sector designing and building facilities that are publicly financed, operated and managed.
A city backgrounder highlights the pitfalls of building the Southwest Community Recreation Centre as a P3. A P3 gave the city no protection against rising costs and would have delayed construction until the fall - at a cost of $2 million per month.
The P3 model was only viable if it included a rink with four ice pads, forcing the city to cut into the budget for recreation centre facilities. The city said it was “unwilling to compromise on those amenities.”
While the city says it will continue to consider P3s for future projects, it’s yet another example of the higher costs, delays and compromised services that come with this form of privatization.