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Winnipeg city council votes 10-6 for water utility

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that, “After a gruelling, day-long debate, Winnipeg has decided to dissolve its water and waste department to make way for a new stand-alone utility. During the final council meeting before the summer break, Winnipeg’s elected officials voted 10-6 to create a new city-owned agency that will assume responsibility for water treatment, sewage treatment and garbage and recycling pickup and possibly produce green energy.”

“The plan also calls for the utility to make sewage-treatment deals with neighbouring municipalities and form some sort of ‘strategic partnership’ with a private engineering consortium to complete up to $1 billion worth of sewage-plant upgrades and combined sewer replacements in Winnipeg.”

“Earlier (that) afternoon, a motion to delay the vote until September failed by a margin of 10-6.”

Council of Canadians water campaigner Meera Karunananthan has stated that we will continue to pursue strategies to stop the creation of the water utility, including voicing our opposition as the city examines bids from corporations like Veolia and American Water to serve as ‘strategic partners’.

The water utility could also become an issue during the next municipal election in Winnipeg, which will take place on Wednesday, October 27, 2010.

The Municipal Corporate Utility for Winnipeg’s Water and Waste: Lessons from Elsewhere report by Maude Barlow and Meera Karunananthan can be read at http://canadians.org/water/publications/fast_facts.html.

For additional background, please see http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=1529.

The Winnipeg Free Press report is at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/LIVE-COVERAGE-City-council-meeting-51342542.html.