Regina residents are nearly split on the issue of what business model should be used to construct a new sewage treatment plant, according to an independent online poll involving 400 city residents.

Almost all of the people who took the poll — 96 per cent — said they were aware of the debate taking place in the city on whether a traditional design, bid and build (DBB) approach, or a public-private partnership (P3) approach should be used when constructing the plant.

Poll respondents were given the following description of the two options: 

The City of Regina Council unanimously approved using a public-private partnership (P3) for the sewage treatment plant because it believes this to be the best option for the city. They report that a P3 costs less than other options, is less risky and is much more likely to be built on time and on budget.

However, there are some who do not support the idea of a P3 approach because they feel it does not provide accountability to citizens, it will cost more than the traditional Design, Bid and Build (DBB) approach, privatization is risky, and Regina’s entire water system should be kept public.

Based on that description, four out of 10 people said they would prefer the P3 model, while three out of 10 people said they would vote for the DBB option.

More than a quarter — 27 per cent — of the people polled were unsure, and three per cent were indifferent. 

The P3 option is more strongly supported by male voters — 46 per cent — compared to women respondents — 35 per cent. 

Regina residents will have the opportunity to say which approach they want, in a city-wide referendum on Sept. 25. 

The poll shows 66 per cent of people surveyed plan to vote in the referendum. 

The survey was conducted online by the research company Insightrix between Sept. 11 and 15.