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HamiltonWith nearly 200 supporters of public water filling the council chambers Wednesday evening, Hamilton council voted nine to six in favour of contracting out water and waste water operation.

The controversial vote effectively takes the municipal model for water delivery off the table, despite an admission from city staff that the costs are the same under either a public or private contract model.

Several of the six councillors opposed to the privatization spoke passionately about the importance of regaining municipal control over water operations. They stressed the need for council to have full financial disclosure of the current contract that expires at the end of 2004, before voting to proceed with a new ten-year contract with a private operator.

Hamilton Water Watch - a coalition of community, environmental and labour groups that supports public delivery of water services - will continue with its campaign to bring water and waste water operation back under full municipal control.