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Another public-private partnership (P3) may get wiped off the map, this time on Montreal’s South Shore.

Yesterday, the residents of Beloeil were invited to come to City Hall to sign a petition demanding a referendum on a controversial proposal to build a recreation center using a P3. The response was overwhelming—no fewer than 1,080 people came out, twice what was is required to force a vote.

It was provincial municipal affairs officials who forced the city to hold the vote, in response to intense public pressure. Unhappy with this turn of events, mayor Réal Jeannotte said last week that he would cancel the contract with the private firm rather than hold a referendum.

The municipal employees’ union (CUPE 4750) had earlier got its hands on an email from Beloeil’s city manager stating that the municipality had opted to go the P3 route to avoid having to consult residents on a government loan. This strategy has now been thwarted.

Last week CUPE sent a letter to all Beloeil households from CUPE-Québec president Lucie Levasseur inviting them to sign the petition. It was accompanied by a leaflet created by CUPE’s municipal branch clearly outlining the pitfalls of P3s.