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A series of good news stories out of British Columbia this month started the New Year off in great style.

First, the city council of Campbell River voted to keep the city’s water quality monitoring program public. Council voted 4-3 against contracting out the public service. Councillors also unanimously passed a motion to write to the B.C. Ministry of Health to protest the downloading of costs, which were cited by a city staff report as a reason for contracting out the service.

The pro-public outcome was largely due to compelling arguments made by both the Campbell River Water Watch Coalition and Vancouver Island Water Watch. Presenters helped sway the vote by providing city council with enough solid proof that contracting out would be more expensive in the long run.

Next, members of CUPE 2086, representing workers in the District of Houston in the B.C. interior, celebrated when their employer announced it was bringing residential and commercial garbage collection back in-house. The service had been contracted out for more than 20 years.

The breakthrough took four months of talks, with CUPE 2086 working with the employer to select new equipment.

Finally, support staff at the University of Northern British Columbia, members of CUPE 3799, were elated that, contrary to earlier plans, the new Northern Sport Centre (NSC) in Prince George will not be a P3. Instead, the project will be built using a contract between UNBC and a design/build consortium. UNBC will run the facility, the university and city will jointly own it.

One person who is probably not too happy about the decision is Larry Blain, president of Partnerships B.C. He had been pushing hard to have the centre developed as a P3. Blain was scheduled to speak at a “Winter Opportunities Summit” in Prince George in February. His topic: the NSC as a successful P3. Looks like he will be choosing a different topic for his speech.