Water, water everywhere

Have you ever suspected business and government are in bed together? Well, those looking for evidence of an ongoing affair would have went apoplectic yesterday when Premier Gordon Campbell announced all new municipal capital projects receiving provincial funding will have to be reviewed by Partnerships British Columbia if they cost more than $20 million. Speaking to Union of British Columbia Municipalities conventioneers, the premier explained the agency will be taking a "hard look at how that project might be built as a public-private partnership." As has already been noted by freelance columnist Paul Willocks, "some municipalities - especially on sensitive projects like water systems - are likely to balk at provincial interference." But not to worry. Because Partnerships British Columbia is teaching the private sector how to push those projects through - irrespective of those concerns.

Next month, the agency's communications and government relations director Jennifer Davies is scheduled to offer "advice on the importance of establishing well thought out communications strategies to handle the inevitable campaign against" water and wastewater public-private partnerships at a conference in Toronto. The conference is being organized by The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships - whose board of directors includes Ken Dobell, the premier's special advisor and former deputy minister.

Ms. Davies is a member of a panel discussing "water and water procurement rights in Canada." Other panelists include Veolia Water NA customer relations vice-president Mark Sanderson, EPCOR Water Services Inc. British Columbia and Pacific Northwest development vice-president Karim Kassam and OMI Inc. sales director Wally MacKinnon.

6 Comments

Looks like its time to back up the truck on shares of SNC-Lavalin...one of the province's favourite providers of engineering and "project management" for rapid transit, highway construction, you name it.

Campbell's PPP's decision effectively is the final nail in the coffin of the Evergreen Line. There simply isn't the ridership demand to make the line feasible, as compared to a line out to UBC. TransLink can't even fill regular buses on the 97b-line, let alone the articulated buses. Compare that to the constant pass ups on the routes out to UBC.

But the people heading out to UBC arn't Gordon's type of people. Business likes folks who can push the corect button at the fast food place.
Gordons' tye of people drive their parents SUV's to the business school.

There is already at least one P3 sewer project in place in the small western suburb of Victoria called Sooke. The Mayor and Council there think it's a pretty great thing. I read about it in one of the local Victoria papers a couple of weeks ago, and from the figures presented I didn't see why they were so enthusiastic. But this was a relatively small project in the tens of millions in total cost.

Now that the provincial government is basically forcing the Capital Regional District to go to secondary treatment, after many decades in which the Region has scandalized environmentalists and Americans alike by pumping raw sewage into Juan de Fuca and Georgia Straits, it surely must be highly likely that the provincial Liberal and the federal Tory Gov'ts will be merrily pushing the Capital Region towards doing this as a P3. I heard yesterday that a rough cost figure is half a billion, so a nice big P3 for all the enthusiasts at the BC Gov'ts P3 bureau such as Suromitra Sanatori, who previous claim to fame was that of a vigorous opponent of minimum wage legislation.

I see today that municipal politicians are only starting to realize they have been hoodwinked by this pack of phoney liberals.
Campbell shows up at the UBCM with oodles of announcements to assist municipalities. Only problem; there's no money for any of them and unless the local yokels buy into the P-3 scam they will be out of luck in trying to get any of their tax dollars back from these shysters.
So it's interesting to see that the well paid (with our tax dollars) Ken Dobell is again doing so much for Campbell at our collective expence.

This gang of schemers ought to be flushed right out into the harbour with traps at the end of the pipe to ensure they can't ooze back up anywhere.

Ok, how many more "interesting situations" will we find Mr. Dobell attached to?

He is a special advisor to the Preem and therfore should not be sitting on any boards or be getting plum contracts form the City of Vancouver, etc., because he had the inside track due to his position.

It's disgusting that this man has not been called to question.

Bleeding and A sign are right. Why should we pay someone with Ken Dobell's ability and experience to frame and direct provincial government policy? Bleedingheart and A sign would do it for nothing. Or maybe they could get Jim Sinclair to do it pro bono.

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