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CALGARY - The Alberta President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees is wading into the controversy over the use of a Medicine Hat area recreation centre.

CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz says recent fights over the use of the centre are a cautionary tale for governments looking at Public Private Partnerships (P3s) as a means of building public institutions.

The South Ridge Recreation and Wellness Centre was built with funds from two school boards, the provincial government, the YMCA and the South Ridge Community Association. Although school boards contributed to the building of the centre, they cannot use it without paying fees.

Lanovaz said the Centre is much like a P3 because under the P3 model, a level of government pays to build a project, then turns the operation over to someone else to operate.

“This is exactly how P3s work,” said Lanovaz. “Instead of building something that the school board needs, and then using it, a P3 model makes taxpayers pay over and over to use a facility they own.”

“This project is another example of a school board getting burned by giving up control over an asset it should own outright.”