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NEWS: Winnipeg-Veolia water utility contract in limbo

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that, “The future of Winnipeg’s new water and waste utility remains murkier than ever, though the city is still negotiating with environmental giant Veolia Canada about a waste water consulting contract.”

“In late 2008, the city announced plans to replace its water and waste department with a new arm’s-length utility that would oversee sewage treatment, garbage collection and water treatment and also develop green power. Council approved the creation of the new utility in July 2009.”

“But the project has been in limbo ever since, partly because the city and province have not come to an agreement about the regulations required to allow the dissolution of the existing water and waste department. Now, two out of three city officials in charge of developing the utility have moved to other jobs. …Conversations with the province about the utility regulations are still ongoing, (Winnipeg mayor Sam) Katz said.”

“But the delay in creating the utility, coupled with provincial deadlines for components of the city’s $1.8-billion waste water upgrade, have placed the project on the back burner. Instead, officials have focused more closely on what was originally an offshoot of the utility project: the selection of a private consulting firm to complete $641 million worth of upgrades to two city sewage treatment plants.”

“The city also contemplated increasing the scope of Veolia’s work for a total cost of $1 billion, which might require the contract to come back to council. Katz has dismissed that idea as a mere topic of discussion among city engineers.”

Today’s news article is at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/water-and-waste-utility-in-limbo-112856019.html. Previous campaign blogs on this are at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?s=%22winnipeg%22+%2B+%22veolia%22.