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Council of Canadians opposes P3 in Saint John

The Telegraph-Journal reports that, “The Council of Canadians is calling on the city to adopt water policies that oppose the private sector’s involvement in the treatment and distribution of the precious resource.”

“The council, a citizens group that receives support from labour organizations, wants Saint John to ban the sale of bottled water in municipal buildings and fund a new water treatment system with public, and not private, money.”

“The group’s requests are part of a campaign called the Blue Communities Project. The organization would designate municipalities that meet the criteria as a ‘blue community’, although no local governments have qualified yet.”

Water campaigner Meera Karunananthan told reporters yesterday that, “It’s an ambitious plan, but we are relying on the leadership of municipal governments, starting right here in Saint John. We’re hoping that Saint John will have the vision and the leadership to take on this project.”

The article notes that, “Earlier this year, (Saint John city) council asked for a broad review of water treatment designs and, as part of that work, requested that consultants consider the viability of public-private partnerships in building the treatment plant. Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase, who sits on the water committee, said he expects a full report on the review will be available soon.”

“Karunananthan said P3s are simply forms of privatization, arguing Saint John should not allow private companies to finance, own or operate water or wastewater services.”

She said, “Private companies are much less likely to engage in practices to protect the environment than the public sector.”

The full article is at http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/city/article/832055.