Please keep in mind that this referendum is bigger than just us. What we do here and now will set a precedent for all of Canada. All eyes are on us, let's do right by our country.
My short answer to the P3 proposal is NO. Absolutely not.
The idea of a private company having any hold over our water is terrifying. Water is life. They'll tell you that it will be privately/publicly run, but there has to be an alternative that will keep our costs down and the control solely in our hands.
Private companies, by nature, are concerned with their shareholders - not the public. How can we be certain that water quality, conservation of ecosystems, pollution control, and customer service will be more of a priority to them than profit?
Now, the council claims to have chosen the best out of 19 proposals and are bullying us into accepting it with a "My way or the highway" referendum. General Manager of Economic Development, Jim Teichroeb's statement, "It's important that the public understands what is in front of them. It is not an either/or question... The choice is the model proposed or nothing", sadly reminds me of a character from Seinfeld. "No water for you!!!"
Do I have an absolute alternative? No - I'm no engineer. But I do believe that we can find a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, public solution to our water problem. One that will meet the needs of both Abbotsford and Mission residents. It could be in the 18 discarded proposals, it could be publicly operating the current proposal, but it definitely isn't with the current P3 proposal.
Anne Graham, who is running for council, made an excellent point the other day. She asked why the city isn't emphasizing the sewage upgrade, (projected at an additional cost of 108 million), that will have to be done if the City goes with the Stave Lake option.
Have you heard about CETA? It's terrifying. Learn about it here.
Check out WaterWatch, the champions against P3 here.
...And what about this? Frank Pizzuto's letter dated August 28, 2010...
Let's hear from former City Engineer Ed Regts:
Doing the P3 project mathPublished: October 07, 2011 12:00 PM
Updated: October 07, 2011 12:16 PM
So do the math – as only Abbotsford council can.
The Stave Lake project in the city’s Master Water Plan was to cost $209 million for a 200 million litre per day (MLD) plant.
Now, after consultants have laboured and charged hard for 18 months, there are two costs: $315 million for the traditional construction, and $291 million for the P3 construction for a 100 MLD plant. Both of the revised estimates would make this project more costly than others considered in the city’s plan.
It appears that P3 contractors are smarter and more efficient than traditional contractors. However, there is a problem. Comparisons have shown that the operational cost for the P3 project are $1 million per year higher than the owner operated project.
Must be time to do an economic analysis and comparison and come up with a present value. Let’s project a $62-million grant for the P3 project. Now press the enter key, and lo and behold, the P3 project is the winner.
Looks very nice for the Abbotsford taxpayer, but guess where the $62 million is coming from? Right again, it comes from your federal tax pocket, but fortunately it is shared with a lot more people, so that should be easy to sell.
The city has embarked on its program to sell the Stave Lake water supply project to its citizens, and it did it in fine style. First, a media event at one of the local greenhouses where the proponents, along with their group of a dozen paid young cheerleaders, tried to make the case that agriculture, as indeed the entire community, needs the water since we are quickly running out and there will be a shortage in just a few short years.
The problem with this argument is that very few agricultural operations actually use the city’s treated water because it is too costly, and secondly we are not running out of water. The city’s wells are producing more water than they did several years ago, and Norrish Creek and Cannell Lake are producing as much water as always.
The only way the present population could run out of water is if we ran out of rainfall – droughts are possible, but it is not likely that the Fraser Valley will turn into a desert.
Next up, the city decided to prepare the kickoff to its public relations campaign during a bylaw reading at a committee meeting of council to ensure the public can view, but not participate, in the debate. Indeed, one of the councillors commented that they have been elected by the public, and therefore should be blindly trusted to make the $300 million decision on their own.
There are alternatives for the city’s future water supply which would cost the taxpayers less than a Stave Lake P3 project. Abbotsord and Mission will not run out of water and the sky will not stop delivering rainfall if the voters reject this thinly disguised bid, aided by all three levels of government, to benefit not the local taxpayers, but large multinational P3 corporations.
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