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HALIFAX Now that common sense has prevailed among Halifax councillors, its time to re-examine the whole approach to the Halifax Harbour cleanup according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Council took the right decision and we applaud their actions, says Danny Cavanagh, spokesperson for CUPEs Water Watch committee. Now were calling on Council to take an honest look at the whole process and make a decision thats in the best interests of taxpayers, public health and the environment.

HRM Council decided yesterday to keep confidential the public sector bid for the $315 million project, overturning a staff recommendation that this information be made available to private sector contractors as they prepare their bids. But in a news release issued last night by Maurice Lloyd, manager of the Halifax Harbour Solutions project, HRM staff again displayed their strong bias in favour of privatization.

Its time that Council wrested control of this project from staff and did the right thing, says Cavanagh. The experience with water and wastewater privatization in Canada and around the world has been a disaster and in the end its not the companies or the staff who are going to be held accountable, its the members of Council.

HRM staff rushed the preparation of the public bid in order that they could get it into the hands of the private contractors before they prepared their bids. Now that Council has agreed thats not the direction they want to go, the HRM should take the time to review its own bid and ensure its as good as it can be, says Cavanagh.

The HRM bid was prepared by a private consulting firm that from the start has recommended that ownership and operation of the sewage treatment plants be privatized.

The risks arising from privatization are too great to be ignored, Cavanagh adds. Were going to be dogging members of Council in the months ahead, leading right up to the elections this fall. But thats nothing compared to what will happen if these plants go private, because the fallout from that decision will haunt councillors for years.

For further information:

Danny Cavanagh at (o) 455-4180 (h) 895-2352

Larry Power at (o) 454-6369 (h) 864-7304

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