Council votes to sell Gold Bar treatment plant to EPCOR
In a close 7-6 vote, Edmonton city council voted in favour Wednesday of transferring control of its Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment plant to the Edmonton Power Corporation, the city-owned utility.
The city will receive a transfer fee of $75 million and continue collecting dividends, taxes and franchise fees from EPCOR.
The proposal was controversial. Most of the 25 people who appeared at a public hearing earlier this week were opposed to the transfer over concerns it could expose the facility to future privatization and take control out of city hands.
But one of the councillors who voted in favour of the deal dismissed those worries Wednesday night.
"Edmonton Power Corporation is solely owned by the citizens of Edmonton. We are the sole shareholder," Kim Krushell said.
"City council, not only do we sit on as shareholders, but we also appoint the board of directors, who, I might add, are far more expert in dealing with regulatory issues than city council would be."
The city has said rates will not go up under the transfer and no jobs will be lost.
EPCOR officials hope the sale will increase the utility's expertise in managing sewage systems.
EPCOR, which is based in Edmonton, does business in Canada and the United States.
It builds and runs power plants, electrical transmission and distribution networks, as well as water and wastewater treatment facilities.