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NANAIMO, B.C. - Vancouver Island residents do not support water privatization. On issues of safety, cost for taxpayers and basic rights, public water management wins hands-down.

A recent Ipsos Reid survey for the Canadian Union of Public Employees found that a whopping 92 per cent of Vancouver Island residents believe that water is a basic public service and should remain in public hands. And 80 per cent of Islanders trust local government more than a private company to provide affordable drinking water. On all questions asked, Vancouver Island residents held stronger views on protecting public water than the provincial norm.

CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill, who lives on Vancouver Island, says that he is not surprised that the survey results are so overwhelming. “Right across the Island, we have seen private corporations approaching regional districts and municipalities to propose public-private partnerships (P3s). Municipal councilors and regional district representatives should get the message loud and clear. We don’t want private water management on Vancouver Island,” says O’Neill.

CUPE’s Island Water Watch campaign is working to raise awareness of threats to public water. Rodger Oakley, president of CUPE 401 in the Regional District of Nanaimo, points to upcoming events that are good examples of the work to protect public water and wastewater on Vancouver Island.


  • November 5th - Concerned citizens on the south Island will be leafleting to raise awareness of local water issues at four locations between10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Locations are: Westbrooke Mall, Colwood Corners, CanWest Mall, and Juan de Fuca Rec Centre.

  • November 8th - CUPE activists will join with others at 7 p.m. in Parksville to welcome Maude Barlow to a public forum, water for life not profit.


For more information:

CUPE Island Water Watch campaign coordinator Leslie Dickout 250-616-2156.