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Theres a whole new ballgame in Halifax.

Billboards, talk shows, weekly information pickets and dogged determination helped make the harbour cleanup the number two issue (after education funding) during city council elections for the Halifax Regional Municipality.

In fact, then mayor Walter Fitzgerald held a news conference two days before the vote to repeat his commitment to cleaning the harbour. But poor Walter forgot to use the word public in his speech. Now hes toast.

New mayor Peter Kelly says he supports public ownership and operation of the four new treatment plants, but hes also said hell choose the most cost-effective solution.

Water Watchers will be watching the new mayor to make sure hes as good as his word and that all the costs are considered when he looks at the equation. To date the only costing of the public option has been prepared by a private firm with a pro-P3 bias.

With the new mayor, there are nine new councillors to be educated and lobbied. In this effort, Halifaxs Water Watch Committee will be looking for support from local residents asso-ciations that share our concern about accountability and are increasingly active on this issue.