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SUDBURY, Ont. – City council’s plan to build a biosolids plant at Kelley Lake by handing over millions of dollars to corporations stinks, says Fred Hahn, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, the province’s largest union. Hahn made the remarks at a BBQ at the Steelworkers Hall in Sudbury this afternoon.

“Politicians try to pass off these public-private partnerships as a way to save money. It’s simply not true. Time and again, these projects end up costing taxpayers a lot more for inferior service,” said Hahn. “Privatization means that tax dollars go to profits for shareholders, not toward reducing costs or improving service. And with sewage, it’s our health and the health of our families that is at risk.”

Hahn was joined in opposing the project by Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas, Sudbury NDP Candidate Paul Loewenberg, CUPE Local 4705 President Fred Posadowski and other community leaders.

Public-private partnerships have been a costly failure time after time, Hahn said. He pointed to Hamilton, where the city privatized its water operations, then had to bring them back in-house and saved more than $1.2 million. Prince Edward County decided to stop its public-private partnership wastewater treatment plant plans after bids came in at $1.2-$1.45 million, compared to $625,468 a year to have the plant run publicly.

“These kinds of deals take control of local services out of local hands. They don’t guarantee savings, and often cost a lot more. And they come with risks: financial risks, environmental risks, health risks. Even the city’s own report from KPMG says it will probably cost more,” Hahn said.

He was referring to the January 2011 report which states, “Consistent with other projects undertaken through alternative procurement, it is anticipated that the direct costs associated with the Design Build Finance Operate Maintain (DBFOM) approach will be higher than the design-build approach currently approved by council.”

CUPE Ontario is calling on councillors to reconsider the public-private partnership approach and to build a safe facility with control kept in local hands. That is, a public facility.


For more information, please contact:

Fred Hahn, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-540-3979

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316