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Hamilton - After a disastrous ten-year experiment with private-sector management of its water system facility, Hamilton council must put the interests of local residents first and return the operation to full public, municipal control, says Sid Ryan the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Ryan, along with CUPE Local 5167 president Gus Oliveira, will make a deputation to the Hamilton Public Works Infrastructure and Environment Standing Committee on Monday, January 19th, outlining the merits of public control and delivery of the service.

Since contracting out to Philip Utilities, operation of the citys water system has changed hands four times, including to a subsidiary of now defunct Enron. The contract is currently in the hands of the giant German corporation RWE.

Under the original contract, all potential risk in providing service and all capital expenditures and major maintenance were incurred by the city. That risk included the substantial cost of cleaning-up a major raw sewage spill from the facility into the basements of Hamilton residents and into the harbour.

The new Hamilton council has the opportunity to right the wrong that was done a decade ago and take back control of an important public service. The private contract has been a dismal and costly experience for Hamilton, far from the best value deal touted by the then city staff, says Ryan, who notes that despite mounting evidence from around the world, that water should be kept under public delivery, a recent Hamilton senior staff report to council makes the same ill-conceived arguments promoting private sector management of the city water system that were made a decade ago.

WHO: Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario Gus Oliveira, President CUPE Local 5167

WHAT: Deputation to Hamilton Public Works, Infrastructure and Environment Standing Committee

WHERE: Hamilton City Hall

WHEN: Monday, January 19, 2004, 9:30 a.m.


+ For information please contact:+

Sid Ryan President CUPE Ontario (416) 209-0066 Gus Oliveira President CUPE 5167 (905) 517-4105 Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications (905) 578-8774