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Public sewage treatment campaign goes to the bakery

VICTORIA - It wasn’t exactly a food fight, but CUPE Local 1978, representing staff in the Capital Regional District (CRD), found a creative way to bring its message about the need for public sewage treatment to members and the public last night.

At a February 21 forum on public-private partnerships (P3s) at Victoria City Hall, CUPE 1978 campaign coordinator Kim Manton was on hand to offer forum participants free cookies decorated with the campaign theme: Public Sewage Treatment: Clean, Green, Affordable.

Manton says that participants at the well-attended forum ate up the cookies and that there was much support for the idea that publicly operated sewage treatment is the way to go in the CRD. “We have a fight on our hands because the provincial government is trying to force a P3 model for sewage treatment on the CRD, but clearly the public here wants to have its say about making sewage treatment public,” says Manton.

The forum, organized by city councillors Dean Fortin (Victoria) and Judy Brownoff (Saanich), and sponsored by the Columbia Institute Centre for Civic Governance, attracted interested members of the public, including a number of CUPE members who live in the CRD. The regional district is in the process of developing a plan for new sewage treatment and is facing pressure from the provincial Liberal government to privatize, using a P3 model.

CUPE provided information about a recent Environics of CRD residents that finds overwhelming support for publicly operated sewage treatment.

Earlier in the day, CUPE 1978 members who work at the CRD head office in Victoria were greeted with cookies and leaflets on their way in to work.

More information on the CRD campaign is available at www.keepwaterpublic.ca