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Ladysmith town council received a very clear message September 4 when more than 250 local residents jammed a local hall to say they didnt want water meters installed, read or maintained by the private sector.

After hearing presentations by CUPE BC president Barry ONeill and the local mayor, citizens made it very clear that if water meters are going to be installed, they should be outdoors and should be installed by public workers. They also wanted assurances that in the future no part of the water system would be privatized.

Council was slated to vote on a recommendation that a subsidiary of BC Gas be awarded a contract to install the meters. In the end, the matter was referred back but it appears the proposal is dead.

This is an important victory for CUPE Local 401, representing Ladysmith municipal workers, which sounded the alarm bells about this privatization threat. Not only does it stall a move by BC Gas to establish itself as a provider of multiple utility services consistent with the world wide trend toward convergence but it derails a looming threat that the towns water and waste water services would privatized.