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City council decision the right move for community, says Water Watch chair.

NANAIMO, BC – Campbell River City Council will keep the city’s Water Quality Monitoring Program in public hands. Rodger Oakley, chair of the Island Water Watch Campaign, congratulated the council late Monday, January 16, following a standing-room-only meeting in which council voted 4-3 against contracting out the important public service.

Oakley, also president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 401, which represents city workers, had argued that council would be increasing its costs by contracting out.

Keeping this important service in-house is not only the right thing to do, it is also the most cost-efficient,” said Oakley.

Penny Repstock presented on behalf of the Campbell River Water Watch Coalition.

First and foremost is the issue of maintaining our public water system and all of its functions and resources in the capable hands of our public employees,” said Repstock. “For many years, this has been a process that has proven successful and we see no reason to believe that it would not continue to be so – even with the additional tasks required of them.”

Oakley said that Island Water Watch is increasingly active in communities across Vancouver Island as private corporations attempt to take over previously public water services.

Research done by Ipsos Reid in November clearly found that Island residents want our water to remain public, and the Water Watch campaign is acting as a watchdog and a support to communities who face privatization,” Oakley said.

Council also unanimously passed a motion to write to the 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.