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(Halifax) The decision by HRM council to back out of its P3 deal on the Halifax Harbour cleanup is good news for taxpayers and residents, according to one of the deals toughest critics.

CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) is applauding the decision of council, saying elected officials came to the inevitable conclusion that taxpayers were not being well served by the contract with the HREP consortium.

The unions Atlantic Regional Director, Ross Grimes, says, They did the right thing and theres only one direction to go in now, and that is to have the private sector design and build the new plants, and have the municipality own and operate them.

Says Grimes, The French multinational at the center of the deal, Suez, lived up to its reputation for playing hardball. When it came down to the details they wanted to assume all of the profits, but none of the risks.

CUPE National Representative Larry Power, who represents members of Locals 227 and 1431 at the Halifax Water Commission and HRM employees at Local 108 says, We were very encouraged to hear Mayor Kelly acknowledge that staff have the expertise and the experience to do the job in-house. He has also said that going this route will save taxpayers millions of dollars.

Adds Grimes, This is a good day for the people of HRM in the sense that we can now get on with the job at hand, which is to get these plants built and the harbour cleaned up once and for all. We say lets get on with it.

For information:

Ross Grimes, Atlantic Regional Director,
455-4180 (o)

Larry Power, CUPE National Rep.
454-6369 (o)

John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
455-4180 (o)