VICTORIA – More than 600 delegates attending CUPE BC’s 53rd annual convention in Victoria voted unanimously today for an emergency resolution that supports publicly owned and operated sewage treatment in the Capital Regional District (CRD) and rejects a privatized wastewater system.
“Implementing a solution for wastewater treatment will be the largest infrastructure project that the CRD will undertake for decades and ensuring that it is publicly owned and operated is a key factor to its success,” says CUPE BC secretary-treasurer Trevor Davies. “Public operation will ensure that the project is accountable to local residents, makes certain that the public’s concerns are addressed promptly, and saves money in the long run while keeping resources in the local economy for the benefit of all CRD residents.”
Last month the provincial government stepped in to the planning process and appointed a mediator, Peter Milburn, an ex-deputy minister of finance and transportation, to help facilitate a solution. The government has also committed to assisting the CRD with a technology review through the engagement of Partnerships BC.
“Given the provincial government’s obsession with public-private partnerships, we hope that their direct involvement won’t push the region in the direction of private operation and proprietary technologies. We know that a decade of extensive study and exploration has failed to give a green light to the so-called innovative and cheaper private-sector solutions. We know that the region’s citizens want to see publicly operated and accountable sewage treatment. Hopefully the province will help the region to refocus on these realities,” said Davies.
CUPE Local 1978 represents workers in the Capital Regional District, including those at the publicly operated Saanich Peninsula Wastewater Treatment Plant servicing the Districts of North and Central Saanich, the Town of Sidney, the Airport Authority and the Tseycum and Pauquachin First Nation. CUPE BC represents more than 85,000 workers in B.C., including more than 8,000 taxpaying residents of the CRD.