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NORTH BATTLEFORD:The Canadian Union of Public Employees will present hundreds of postcards signed by North Battleford citizens opposing the privatization of that city’s water services at a city council meeting on Monday, November 25. The council meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.

This spring U.S. Filter Canada, which is owned by the French multinational company Vivendi, approached the city with a proposal to enter into a public-private partnership or P3 to build and operate a new sewage treatment plant.

We will be urging city council to take a real stand on this issue and start listening to the people, said Barb Plews, president of CUPE Local 287, which represents 123 municipal workers including sewer and water plant operators.

The union first outlined its concerns with the P3 proposal in the presentation of a brief to city council in June. After the city refused to rule out the privatization deal, the union launched a publicity campaign in October to raise awareness of the privatization threat. Brochures, with attached postcards, were distributed to every household in North Battleford.

City council has been sitting on the fence, but at some point they have to make a decision, said Plews. We have provided council with extensive research, including independent research, which shows that P3s don’t save money and often lead to higher user fees and erosion in service. Why is council still considering such an arrangement?

Plews said that concern about the water privatization proposal is growing. The North Battleford and District Labour Council will also be making a presentation at Monday’s city council meeting.

We hope that city council will have the courage to be proactive about protecting public services, said Plews, who added that public financing and operation of a new sewage treatment plant would cost less and ensure local control.

The union is urging city council to pass a motion categorically rejecting the P3 option.

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For more information contact Barb Plews at 445-6606 or 446-3397.