Let public employees manage public water supply: Moncton coalition
As a deal with private company nears expiration, the city is considering its options
A coalition of social justice and labour groups are lobbying the City of Moncton to put the management of its water supply back in the hands of public employees.
The city contracted a private company almost 20 years ago to design, build and operate its water treatment system. With that deal poised to expire in 2019, the city must decide whether to renew or return to public sector management.
- Blue-green algae in Moncton's water supply
- Moncton city council extending fluoride decision deadline
- Glyphosate will not be sprayed near Greater Moncton's water supply this year
Darcy Barker, the chair of the MonctonH20 coalition, said the choice should be obvious.
"Water should be an enabled human right and no one should be making money off it," said Barker, who is also with CUPE. "We want to see Moncton look at attempting to bring water back in house and run it themselves."
No decision from city yet
The current contract is with the French multinational company, Veolia.
The initial public-private partnership involved financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the water treatment plant.
The city still owns the watershed and sets the rates for the water supply.
No one from the city would agree to an interview, but according to an email from its communications director Isabelle LeBlanc, the city has made no decisions on whether it will go with the private or public sector.
City plans to compare options
A request for quotes went out in March and two proponents were selected. A request for proposals will go out later this fall.
LeBlanc said the city intends to compare the costs of running the facility through the private sector versus developing qualified in-house expertise.
"The exercise that we are undertaking will allow us to make a decision based on facts and hard data, not perceptions," she wrote.
Barker and members of the coalition, which includes representatives from the Council of Canadians and CUPE, plan to continue to urge the city to choose a public option.
"Moncton is capable, just like every other municipality in Canada, of running their own water and there's no need for profits to go outside the country to do so," he said.
- An earlier version of this story said incorrectly that a lease to Veolia gave the company the right to sell drinking water to the city. In fact, the city owns the watershed and sets the rates for the water supply.Jul 27, 2018 10:38 AM AT