The Council of Canadians, the Common Front for Social Justice, the Moncton and District Labour Council, the New Brunswick Federation of Labour, and CUPE New Brunswick have formed a coalition to convince Moncton City Council to bring back in-house operation of its drinking water treatment plant.
“Council needs to break the silence on this unique opportunity. With Veolia’s 20-year contract expiring in 2019, Moncton can finally bring water services back under public control. This will save money, ensure water quality and protect our environment,” said Darcy Barker, coordinator of the new coalition.
Recently, a City communications director confirmed that a public feasibility study should be in the works soon.
“Councillors have yet to say anything on where they stand or how they feel about this issue that affects all residents. I hope that they do go ahead with a public-option study, and that their comparative analysis be made public before a decision is made,” said Barker.
Members of the coalition presented their concerns to Moncton City Council on May 7th. However, Council gave no instruction to halt the staff-led process of looking for private contractors to operate and maintain Moncton’s drinking water. On June 18th, Council received a staff report that two companies – Veolia and Accione Agua/Groupe Hélios – have been shortlisted to compete for a new fifteen-year contract.
The coalition has launched a new website, www.MonctonH2O.ca, where residents can learn more about this issue and voice their concerns directly to City Councillors.
“We know residents care about this issue and we hope to give them the means to put enough pressure on Councillors to convince them to consider the public option”, said Pamela Ross, Chairperson of the Moncton Chapter of the Council of Canadians.