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The first plant in Halifax’s new sewage treatment system is up and running, and the project is on track and under budget.  It’s the latest proof that privatization would have been the wrong choice for the region’s harbour cleanup.

CUPE and the Council of Canadians, along with local environmental groups, were instrumental in a local water watch committee that waged a long fight to stop the harbour cleanup from being privatized through a P3. The city’s Harbour Solutions project came close to being privatized to one of the world’s largest water multinationals, Suez.

After many twists and turns, city council tore up a P3 deal it had signed with a Suez-led consortium, after Suez refused to assume responsibility for meeting environmental standards  – a move that would have left taxpayers on the hook for any fines.

After the deal was cancelled, Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly told the media that going public would save taxpayers millions of dollars.

Now, after years of P3-related delays, the project is on track – and Halifax Harbour is no longer being used as the city’s toilet. Construction began quickly after the P3 was scrapped, and the project received federal funding the following year.

The media reports that the overall project is three-quarters done. A second plant will be up and running next spring, with a third plant coming online in November 2008.