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MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. The public private partnership deal that lost the mayor his job and put district councillors on legal notice will cost taxpayers about $35 million more than necessary, says an auditor’s report released yesterday.

The report, commissioned by the District of Maple Ridge itself, confirms earlier claims made by CUPE BC in an investigative brief called Secret & Illegal. It concludes that two years were wasted on a potential partnership, that council made decisions contrary to the advice of consultants, and that it failed to “fully consider alternative courses of action.”

“This is a wake-up call to every municipality in the province,” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill. “How many other P3s have gone unnoticed? How many millions of dollars have been squandered while schools, hospitals and courthouses shut down?”

Clearly, the district was so ideologically committed to the P3 concept that it was willing to do virtually anything to push the deal, O’Neill said. Yet the report concludes that the analysis was misleading and not verified, while practical and business considerations were ignored, including the eventual cost and financing of the deal.

“Where is MLA Ken Stewart?” O’Neill asked. “He praised the deal when he was on council. Yet he hasn’t said a single word. I challenge him to come forward and admit that this was a terribly costly mistake.”

“Where is the Canadian Taxpayers Federation on this one? They are quick to jump on other boondoggles, why not this one?” O’Neill asked.

CUPE will keep a watchful eye on all future P3s, he said, calling on others to be vigilant as well.


Contact: Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications, 604-291-1940.

For a copy of CUPE BC’s report “Secret and Illegal” visit http://www.cupe.bc.ca./files/SecretandillegaFinalappx.pdf