WIN! Abbotsford rejects P3 water proposal

The Vancouver Province reports, "Abbotsford residents were so frustrated with their city’s handling of the Stave Lake water plan, they ousted the mayor (George Peary) in charge and killed the project. ...Residents voting on the Stave Lake P3 water plan referendum nixed the idea by an overwhelming majority: almost 75 per cent voted no on the question."

The Abbotsford News adds, "Abbotsford's election results are in, and both the Stave Lake water project and incumbent mayor George Peary have been defeated."

And the Abbotsford Times reports, "The Abbotsford Stave Lake P3 proposal has gone down the drain taking with it Mayor George Peary who has been beaten by political newcomer Bruce Banman. The $291-million Stave Lake P3 water project spearheaded by Peary was overwhelming rejected by 74 per cent of the voters in a referendum on the issue. ...Voters rejected the P3 plan early in the polls with the No vote hovering steadily around 75 per cent for most of the night. ...Peary conceded his loss was most likely the result of his outspoken support of the P3 project. ...It appears the Stave Lake referendum mobilized the electorate, as there was a 39 per cent voter turnout for the election versus 33 per cent in 2008."

The stakes were very high in this vote. In a Financial Post op-ed last week, Environment Probe’s executive director Elizabeth Brubaker wrote, "CUPE (is) campaigning on the slogan ‘Water for life, not for profit’… And of course Maude Barlow is campaigning for ‘precious’ public water. …If voters can see through CUPE’s ill-informed and self-interested opposition, they will approve the Stave Lake project. Abbotsford’s demonstration that the private sector can help municipalities finance and operate water systems will then help pave the way for P3s elsewhere in Canada."

Congratulations to Abbotsford-Mission Water Watch, local activists. CUPE and everyone who worked so hard to secure this important win.

The Council of Canadians helped contribute to this win too:

Nov. 18 - Chairperson Maude Barlow sends a telephone message on the eve of the vote to all our members in Abbotsford encouraging them to vote ‘no’ in the referendum, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12043.

Nov. 17 - We send a media release to all media outlets in Abbotsford, http://canadians.org/media/water/2011/18-Nov-11.html; that release is posted on Abbotsford Today and widely distributed through social media.

Nov. 5 - We issue an action alert calling on Abbotsford (and people who know people in Abbotsford) to take action against the proposed P3, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11761.

Oct. 28 - Barlow responds to Abbotsford MP Ed Fast’s comments; he says her comments on the P3 and CETA are “hogwash”, http://www.abbynews.com/news/132656593.html.

Oct. 26 - Water campaigner Emma Lui blogs on the P3 referendum and what people can do to defeat the proposal, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11487.

Oct. 12 - Barlow, CUPE president Paul Moist, and Abbotsford-Mission Water Watch activist Lynn Perrin speak in Abbotsford in opposition to the P3, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11073 and http://www.abbynews.com/news/131521108.html.

April 4 - Organizing assistant Ava Waxman was at the city council vote in Mission that rejected a joint Abbotsford-Mission P3 proposal for Stave Lake, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6367.

For numerous Council of Canadians blogs against the P3 plan throughout this campaign, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=abbotsford.

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