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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.