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Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) council’s plans to privatize the cleanup of the Halifax Harbour is going to mean millions of dollars in ‘hidden costs’ – and the evidence is already starting to mount.

Reacting to news that the city may spend over a million dollars to hire an engineering firm to “monitor” its private sector partner’s work, the Canadian Union of Public Employees says the hosing of Halifax residents is officially underway.

CUPE has argued from the beginning that the harbour cleanup must be publicly owned and operated. Says Atlantic Regional Director Roger Neeley, “If the sewage treatment project was fully public, these extra costs would not be necessary. Why do we need to spend a million bucks just to keep an eye on these companies?”

First the private consortium (HREP) told us they would not agree to the six-year off-ramp council wanted as part of the deal, and now we’re seeing extra costs associated with the P3 approach.”

Mayor Peter Kelly and members of council need to give their heads a shake, rediscover their backbones and walk away from this deal,” says Neeley.

We would encourage people to show up at the next few city council meetings and express their outrage that this council is being railroaded by lawyers and senior staff into a deal that will see HRM residents being gouged for the next 30 years,” he says.