Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

VOTE YES! KEEP REGINA’S WATER PUBLIC

Posted by strattof on September 2, 2013

On September 25, you will be asked to vote on whether you support the City of Regina publically financing, operating, and maintaining Regina’s new $224.3 million waste water treatment plant.

This is an exciting and historic opportunity for our city which has not had a referendum since 1994.

  • Get out and vote on September 25thThe referendum gives Regina citizens a rare opportunity to have a direct say on a particular matter.
  •  VOTE YES and reject the P3 model for our city’s new waste water treatment plant. Turn the page and find out why you should Vote YES

WHY VOTE YES 4 REASONS

1. VOTE YES to keep our water public.

According to our Mayor and City Council, waste water isn’t water. It’s sewage or poop. They are wrong.

Waste water is part of the water system. After treatment, it is typically discharged into a river or a lake. In other words, it is treated in order to make the water reusable. “A clean water supply, especially so with regard to sewage, is the single most important determinant of public health” (Wikipedia).

City Council also claims it will control the new plant. According to the Deloitte report – a report commissioned by the City of Regina, “The P3 models are only feasible if the City is willing to transfer operational responsibility for the waste water treatment plant to a contractor for a 25 to 30 year period” (5). In other words, the P3 deal is a transfer of an essential public service into private hands for an extended period.

2. VOTE YES to pay less.

According to City Council, the P3 deal will save Regina taxpayers money. It is true that the P3 deal comes with up to $58.5 million in federal government infrastructure funding. If Regina chooses not to go the P3 route, we will lose that federal funding.  

However, this does not mean a P3 waste water plant is a good deal. $58.5 million in federal funding will not make up for the additional costs of the P3:

  • Cities can borrow money more cheaply than private companies. Private borrowing interest rates are higher than public rates.
  • Private companies need to make a profit. Regina citizens will not only pay for the service, we will also pay for the profit that must be paid to shareholders in the private company that is operating and maintaining the facility over the 30-year period.

City Council claims other P3 savings, but it will not release the figures on which it bases these claims.

Earlier this week, the City posted the Deloitte report on its website, but it is heavily redacted with all the key information missing. See all the blank pages in the redacted report. Go to the City of Regina website, click on “Sewage treatment plant,” “Reports and Links,” and “Deloitte report.”  

Regina Water Watch, the citizens’ group that organized the petition campaign, says that rejecting the P3 and choosing the publically financed, operated, and maintained model for the new plant will save Regina taxpayers about $13 million. All of the calculations involved are publically available. Google “Flushing Money Away Regina Water Watch” or go to www.reginawaterwatch.ca/  and click on “Learn More.”

Transparency is essential for democracy. Ask Mayor Fougere and your City Councillor to disclose the secret calculations on which the P3 deal is based so citizens can cast an informed ballot.

3. VOTE YES to maintain a high quality of service.

Private companies minimize cost in order to maximize profit. When they take over a public service, such as waste water treatment, they typically cut costs by laying off workers and reducing safety measures.

The waste water system in Hamilton-Wentworth provides an instructive example. In order to cut costs, the private company running the plant laid off half the workers. The result? A disastrous reduction in service quality with raw sewage being dumped into Hamilton Harbour. In the end, the city had to step in and take back the plant and clean up the mess.

4. VOTE YES TO KEEP REGINA’S WATER UNDER LOCAL CONTROL AND OUT OF THE HANDS OF OUT-OF-PROVINCE CORPORATE FORCES.

Handing off one of our most vital services and assets to an out-of-province corporation is a lose-lose situation. ●Regina taxpayers lose money. ●The City of Regina loses control of an essential public service.

Who wins with P3s? Large corporations.

FAILED P3s: EXAMPLES

Britian, 1992 – present: Britain’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) is the model for Canada’s P3 privatization program. Britain’s PFI projects include water, transportation, hospitals, schools, and prisons. The result has been cuts in staff and service, excess costs, bankruptcies, and public sector bailouts.  

Hamilton-Wentworth, ON, 1994: A P3 waste water treatment deal promised local economic development, new jobs, and cost savings. Instead, the citizens of Hamilton got a workforce slashed in half, a spill of 489 million gallons of raw sewage into the harbour, the flooding of 200 homes and businesses, and major additional costs.

Moncton NB, 1998: Moncton entered into a P3 for its water filtration system. Between 1999 and 2000, water rates went up by 75% and the private company received a 24% return on its investment.

WATER IS NOT A COMMODITY.

WATER IS:

A HUMAN RIGHT

A COMMON GOOD

A PUBLIC SERVICE

AN ESSENTIAL HUMAN NEED

VOTE YES!

KEEP REGINA WATER PUBLIC 

 

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