Citizens of Ladysmith, a small municipality on Vancouver Island in BC, have
spoken with a loud and united voice. Theyve made it clear to their Town
Council that they do not want water meters installed or monitored by the
private sector. More than 250 people jammed a local hall at a recent meeting
to hear presentations made by both CUPE BC president Barry ONeill, and the
Mayor of Ladysmith. Residents spoke strongly in support of having water
meters installed and maintained by public workers.
During CUPEs intensive public education campaign leading up to this
September 4 meeting, union researchers had also uncovered evidence that
Ladysmith was considering privatizing other water and waste water services.
Citizens also sought assurance from Council that no part of their water
system would be privatized in the future.
The Council was slated to vote on a recommendation that the contract for
water meter installations go to a subsidiary of BC Gas, but, in response to
public pressure, has now referred this matter “back to committee”. This
decision is a blow to the plans of BC Gas, which is trying to establish
itself as a provider of multiple utility services.
CUPE Local 401 president Chuck White and union members in Ladysmith worked
hard to mobilize the large local turnout for the public meeting.