City Council votes in favour of new city-owned utility
July 23, 2008 at 1:50 AM
CUPE members and staff before presenting to Winnipeg City Council about
the City's plan to set up a corporate utility to manage water and waste water
On July 22, Winnnipeg City Council voted 10-6 in favour of a new city-owned utility that will assume responsibility for water and sewage treatment, garbage and recycling pickup and possibly energy services.
The utility opens the door to public-private partnerships the city calls "strategic partners" to design, build, finance and operate services.
About 23 delegations appeared before City Council including a presentation from Local 500 President Mike Davidson.
A coalition of community, student, church and union groups have criticized the plan from the start and have been advocating for the City to build on existing public capacity through the City's Water and Waste Department. They wanted more public consultation and discussion on the proposals but were told there was sufficient input from City officials.
During the meeting several amendments were tabled including a motion by Councillor Orlikow and seconded by Councillor Gerbasi to delay the vote until September but was subsequently defeated.
A CUPE-sponsored Viewpoints Research poll said 67% of Winnipeggers wanted the city to delay approval of the utility.
Before this utility can take effect, it still needs to go through the provincial regulatory process. Only the Province has the authority to alter the Charter and this can take up to several months.
The Local will continue to monitor this issue and update the membership as more information becomes available.