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(Halifax) – Media reports today that a private contractor using improper snow removal equipment caused major damage to property in north-end Halifax should be no surprise to Council.

The union representing some 450 ‘outside workers’ with HRM says it has been raising this concern on a regular basis with the regional municipality, as recently as this June in a presentation on contracting out.

CUPE Local 108 Contracting Out Committee Chair Dave Carr says, “We even told council back in June that using Bobcats to do sidewalks was not advisable. The ‘Tracklesses’ that HRM owns are much better suited to do this work, but Council has chosen to contract it out.

We have seen a disturbing new reliance on contracting out of core services over the past 10 years in HRM, in an apparent attempt to trim the bottom line,” says Carr.

Public service expertise is often needed, but missing when private contractors are used, invariably resulting in reduced quality of service. HRM employees see the proof of this on an almost daily basis, when they are dispatched to ‘clean up’ the mistakes made by contractors. This latest incident is just one of many,” he says.

Says Carr, “We have identified several areas where contracting out of municipal services is actually costing taxpayers more money. So far, input from HRM’s own workforce seems to be falling on deaf ears.

A variety of services, from grass cutting to snow plowing, have been handed over to private companies. We think residents – especially those in the 20 or so homes that just got their lawns ripped up - will agree with us that this reliance on contractors has resulted in services that aren’t as good,” says Carr.

For information:

Dave Carr
Chair, Local 108 Contracting Out Committee
(902) 454-6369 (o)
(902) 499-6051 (cell)

John McCracken
CUPE Communications Rep.
(902) 455-4180 (o)