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The private sector has an important role to play in designing and building public infrastructure – but that’s where it must end, argues CUPE National President Paul Moist in a letter to ReNew Canada magazine.

The letter, published in the magazine’s current issue, responds to an earlier article written by a P3 consultant.

Moist cautions the construction industry about the many problems with P3s. A recent article in the Vancouver Business Examiner detailed the BC construction industry’s criticism of P3s.

Industry spokespeople quoted in the article are unhappy local and regional contractors are being frozen out of projects in favour of large American or European firms. They’re also critical of the higher costs, lack of unbiased assessment and loss of transparency that come with P3s.

Another key player in the design-build process is also questioning P3s. A feature article in Canadian Architect magazine paints P3s as risky business for the professionals. It’s not the first time the deals have drawn fire. Renowned architect Moshe Safdie withdrew from a Montreal P3 hospital project with concerns that are echoed elsewhere in the industry.

Moist concludes his ReNew letter with a reminder that “[t]he private sector played a key role in designing and building the infrastructure that is our country’s bedrock. The traditional design-build approach, which keeps services and facilities in public hands, is a partnership that works.”