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November 9, 2010

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CUPE 374 calls on council to consider the public option

SOOKE—CUPE 374 is calling on Sooke’s Mayor and Council to hold an open tendering process and to look at a public option for delivery of water and wastewater services in Sooke.

The District of Sooke issued a news release late last week stating that they were moving forward with negotiations to enter into a 21-year agreement with EPCOR, their current wastewater provider.

“Not only did council vote for a long-term twenty-one year agreement without allowing for an open tender process, they are not even considering that wastewater services could be delivered publicly in Sooke,” says CUPE 374 vice-president Trevor Davies.

Davies notes that the District of Sooke owns the wastewater facilities outright. “In the best interests of residents, the District of Sooke needs to look seriously at public management and operation of wastewater.”

“Our experience in municipalities across Canada has been that accountability and transparency are lost when services that could be provided publicly, are handed over (or kept in) the private sector,” says Tammy Simonds, CUPE National Representative. “Privatization of services means costs invariably come in higher, and delivery of services become defined by profit, not public need.”

Elector approval is required for Council to proceed with the 21-year deal. The District of Sooke will direct staff to prepare an electoral approval bylaw.

“CUPE 374 will ensure that the public knows the full cost of this long-term 21-year deal,” says Davies.

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