Public Values

BC community votes down P3 water plan in referendum

Residents see 'little value' in a 21-year deal with a private contractor.

Roth: The decision to go regional will offer lower capital costs as well as lower borrowing rates.BEAVER CREEK, BC, November 7, 2011: Beaver Creek residents are keeping their water public. They saw little value in a proposed P3 water infrastructure plan. They proved it by voting 73 percent against a pricey P3 plan on October 29. Instead, the improvement district will be converted into a regional service area within the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD).

"It's been years since I could trust the water that comes out of my tap," says activist Susan Roth. She launched a small but dedicated Alberni Valley Water Watch campaign that ended last week with a huge victory. "Since 2004, we've had an average of four boil water advisories per year, some of them lasting up to a month. Becoming a part of the ACRD means Beaver Creek will get a system upgrade and better quality water — that is a victory for all residents."

  "The regional solution offers better legislation that ensures openness and transparency."

The decision to go regional will offer lower capital costs as well as lower borrowing rates, explains Roth. The P3 would have locked the BCID into a 21-year deal with private contractor Corix, without any of the benefits that the regional option provides.

Roth explains, "Joining the ACRD has given us several advantages that a P3 couldn't offer. We will have access to government grants and there is already a plan in place for a total system replacement so we won't face this same problem again in 20 years. The regional solution also offers better legislation that ensures openness and transparency."

A referendum on P3 water will also take place November 19 in Abbotsford. Residents there will vote on whether to accept a 30-year P3 drinking water supply deal with an unnamed private partner.

"It is clear that the benefits of a public system outweigh the expensive price tag of a P3 and we hope that Abbotsford will follow in Beaver Creek's footsteps and vote no in the November 19 referendum," says Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford spokesperson Lynn Perrin. "A no vote will allow Abbotsford and Mission to work together towards a regional solution that could benefit both communities."

Links and sources
  Alberni Valley campaign sinks P3 — keeps water public

Posted: November 16, 2011

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