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KAMLOOPS, B.C. CUPE BC is applauding a $23-million federal-provincial infrastructure grant that will help this interior city build a much-needed water treatment plant.

“We hope this is a vote of confidence for the public administration and delivery of services, ” CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill said as the union was planning to present its view to city council on Tuesday.

Last year the City of Kamloops rejected a bid to privatize the proposed water treatment plant in the face of sustained opposition and a poll that showed overwhelming public support for keeping the water system in public hands.

For 50 years a CUPE work force has effectively and efficiently delivered water to the people of Kamloops, CUPE Local 900 president Mel Hale said. Our members look forward to continuing to supply safe, clean water with the building of the new water treatment plant.

Previously, the medical health officer had ordered Kamloops to install water treatment facilities on its main community water system by July 1, 2003. The city applied to the Canada BC Infrastructure Program for funding to build a water filtration plant at River Street on the banks of the Thompson River.

The project, which will cost $48.5 million, is a state-of-the-art filtration plant using green technology. The city will contribute about $25.2 million while the other two levels of government will kick in about $11.6 million each.

In July 2002, city council voted to reject a proposal by Epcor to design, build and operate the water treatment plant. This decision came after an exhaustive CUPE effort to persuade council to keep the water filtration plant public.

This is a good example of how governments can work together to help keep our communities strong, ONeill said. This is especially important when it comes to our precious water resources.


Mel Hale, CUPE Local 900 president,
(250) 374-0042 or 319-1907 (cell), or
Barry ONeill, CUPE BC president, (604) 916-8444.