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NEWS: Winnipeg chapter condemns City signing contract with Veolia

Michael Welch, Winnipeg chapter

Michael Welch, Winnipeg chapter

CJOB Radio in Winnipeg reports, “The City has formally signed a 30-year deal with international water and sewage firm Veolia to help build and deliver sewage treatment services.” The Winnipeg Free Press adds, “The City of Winnipeg has completed contract talks with Veolia Canada that will allow the environmental consulting firm to help manage improvements to Winnipeg’s sewage-treatment plants over the next 30 years. Last year, city council approved a plan to enter into a contract with Veolia… Opposition councillors voted against the deal because they wanted the city to clarify Veolia’s role in the long-term project.”

“Initially, the city planned to replace its water and waste department with a new corporate utility before it completed a deal with a private partner. But as provincial deadlines loom to conduct the treatment upgrades, the utility took a back seat to completing the terms of the Veolia deal.”

“City councillors were briefed on the details of the completed contract at 1 pm (today) during a closed-door council seminar. …(City of Winnipeg) water and waste director Barry MacBride said the agreement will see the city retain full ownership of its plants, operate and maintain the facilities itself and continue to be responsible for city staff. Veolia will provide advice about the upgrades and share any compensation resulting from cost savings over 30 years, MacBride said. Veolia will also share some of the risks, he added. ‘Outside of sewage treatment, the rest of our department and the rest of the City of Winnipeg will continue to work in the way it does today — the agreement is related to sewage treatment only.'”

“The Winnipeg chapter of the Council of Canadians issued a statement condemning the contract, claiming the partnership between a ‘profit-making entity’ and ‘a vital public service’ will harm the community.” Chapter activist Michael Welch and other members of the chapter are currently reviewing the contract and will be offering further analysis soon.

CJOB also notes, “No numbers were revealed during a technical briefing but the formula on how Veolia will share the risk and potentially earn profits was presented.”

To read more about our concerns about this deal, please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?s=veolia+%2B+winnipeg.