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CUPE BC wants Victoria-area municipal officials to be on their toes when they get a pro-privatization consultant’s report on financial options for sewage treatment.

The committee in charge of plans for Victoria-area sewage treatment heard about the “inherent dangers” of  P3s in a presentation from BC-based CUPE researcher Blair Redlin. After hearing the presentation, members of the Capital Regional District (CRD) Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee instructed staff to review and report back on CUPE’s 10 questions about business advisor Ernst & Young Orenda and its role in supporting private sewage treatment.

In the spring of 2007 the CRD hired the corporation to prepare a financial analysis of the sewage treatment project, including potential private sector involvement.

Ernst & Young Orenda has a long track record of promoting privatization through public-private partnerships or P3s. And we know that the provincial government is really pushing for privatized operation of new sewage treatment. We wanted to give members of the committee some key questions to make sure there is a fair assessment of this important project,” says Redlin.

CUPE 1978 member Kim Manton was also at the meeting. Her local represents staff in the Capital Regional District. “This is an exciting project. We have the opportunity to have world-class sewage treatment that includes resource recovery. It should be done right as a publicly-operated and integrated system,” says Manton.

Manton is pleased the committee passed the resolution requesting staff look at CUPE’s questions and report back.

CUPE has been campaigning steadily to keep the region’s long-awaited sewage treatment public, clean, green and affordable. Last month, CUPE teamed up with Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow to donate copies of her new book on water to Victoria-area high schools, colleges and university.  Barlow’s book, Blue Covenant, is about the global water crisis and the struggle for the right to water.

CUPE is also working closely with the Greater Victoria Water Watch coalition.

Visit CUPE’s campaign web site for more information.