Phil Lyons’ Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

2010 February 28, by Chapter Council

Feb. 25, 2010

It is coming up to decision time for CRD representatives on the procurement options for the new sewage system. As a citizen of the CRD and a member of the steering committee of the Greater Victoria Water Watch Coalition representing the Greater Victoria Seniors((OAPO191) , I feel that you should make the kind of decision here that provides the greatest protection for the taxcpayers , and accountability in such a project.

This protection., in my view , is best provided by the design–bid-build option on the left of the chart which was clearly the preferred option by the overwhelming majority of those who came to the public sessions last week. This is not an accident. The citizens do not believe that there is any way to get accountability into the P3 models offered. This is not addressed by the Partnerships B.C. preferred privatization model driven by the contracting process. We have found out that these contracts are not accessible to public scrutiny once they are signed in regard to the Abbotsford Hospital P3 ( see the B.C. Health Coalition website for ,ore information this) and the Port Mann Bridge P3 as well since the Provincial government and the companies insist that this is “proprietary” information and there fore not accessible through the F.O.I Act.

It might help if there had not been cutbacks in the Public Service of those positions that provided oversight in depth of the contracted service provisions in P3s. The PartnershipB.C. process is not able to supervise these contracts due at least partially to the conflicts of interest that are shown in their exorbitant bonuses and their history of involvement in the very companies that are bidding on contracts and providing reports to the CRD that are favourable to privatization.

The only solid claim that has been made for the P3 option is that of risk transfer from governments to corporations. Since this is done through a contracting process that is not enforceable ( See the Hamilton experiment) , the fall back position is to put the public partner in the position of saving the contactor from their own failings of finance and operation. Unless there is a real possibility of beefing up the enforcing provision at the CRD Level in these contracts, and the bidders would not sign such a contract , the electors will be faced with the opportunity of throwing out those elected representatives at the next election. Why not just take the over-exaggerated risk in Public hands and take your electoral risks that way rather than buying a pig in a poke that has a well-documented international history of failure in delivery.

There are also more details on the failure of P3s on these websites.- Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives and, for sewage , Greater Victoria Water Watch

Phil Lyons , Greater Victoria Seniors