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Oshawa Residents of Oshawa will get the best value for their tax dollars if any new sports facility is developed with public funding and remains publicly operated, says Sid Ryan, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario Division.

Under a public private partnership (P3), the basic cost to taxpayers for a $40 million facility would be more than $126 million over 20 years $20 million more than the same project would cost if publicly financed, Ryan said in a presentation to City Council today.

“We hope that Oshawa will make the right decision to save $1 million a year by using the municipalitys good credit rating and low interest rates to invest in a public facility that will give back to the community,” Ryan said.

He called on council to reject the P3 approach and either refurbish the old Civic Auditorium or build a new facility at a lower cost using public money.

CUPEs brief, Recreation P3s Gone Wrong: Lessons For The City Of Oshawa, provides case studies from eight Canadian municipalities that have considered and accepted or rejected P3 arenas. The results included cities paying many times over, cost overruns, construction delays, higher user fees and projects kept or brought back in-house.

“Any new facility is only going to be used 50% of the time by the OHL so there will be a need to book other events,” Ryan said. “Oshawas proximity to Toronto, a casino and other communities means theres a real risk of low turnouts and low revenue. Experience shows its a risk that the private sector will only bear to a point before the city has to pick up the pieces.”

Either option recommended by CUPE would provide the combination of savings and revenue Oshawa needs both to expand its sports and recreation facilities and to revitalize the communitys downtown core, he said.

For more information, please contact:

Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-209-0066 (cell)

Pat Daley, CUPE Communications,416-299-9739 ext 264