CUPE will be in a New Brunswick court Nov. 13 to argue that Sackville town council’s decision to privatize its water treatment facility violates the province’s municipalities law.
The union will argue that council acted in secrecy, in bad faith and against the province’s municipalities act by “subdelegating” its responsibility to maintain the city’s water supply.
Sackville council voted Feb. 12 to contract-out the operation of its water treatment plant, they claimed, to deal with water quality issues.
The deadline for proposals from would-be privateers was Mar. 2.
On Mar. 23, council held a special meeting to award the contract to Veolia Water, a multinational which does $14.5 billion in business in 59 countries, mostly in privatized municipal water facilities.
CUPE’s court documents allege that the whirlwind decision to privatize the town’s water system was taken in secret and without public consultation.
On the surface, Veolia seems to have landed a sweet deal. While they must manage, maintain and repair the town’s water systems, the town continues to pay for utilities, property taxes, water treatment chemicals, purchase new equipment and dispose of the old.
Along with the decision to privatize its water treament, town council also raised its water rates - around 38 per cent from 2006.