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October 20, 2011

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Citizen takes on City Hall over P3 plan

ABBOTSFORD—As the City of Abbotsford continues their expensive P3 campaign, more and more citizens are raising concerns and questions about the Stave Lake P3 water project.

That’s the word from Laurie Hoekstra, 46, who was born and raised in Abbotsford. She took her concerns to Abbotsford City Council Monday night saying “there are too many questions that the City isn’t willing to answer - which leaves residents with no other option but to reject the P3 project in the Nov.19 referendum.”

“The Public Private Partnership decision is a big one and we can’t back out once we decide to go through with it,” said Hoekstra, “if we find out it is a mistake it would be too late – we’d already be tied to something with much bigger adverse affects than we are prepared for.”

Hoekstra questioned Council on the need for a new water source now and on why residents are only being offered one option.

Hoekstra also questioned the true cost of the P3 project. She referenced the 2010 Master Plan which states a $198 million price tag for a water supply from Stave Lake.  The current price tag for seeking the same water source is $345 million. She asked Council  “Where does the discrepancy come from?” adding that “the federal grants and funding promised by the City for this project are not sure things so what will happen if the federal funding falls through?”

Hoekstra also noted that other P3’s and their results should be considered. She said the “BC Auditor General’s May 2011 report states that the P3 Diamond Ambulatory Health Center in Vancouver cost taxpayers 29.5 per cent more than the original estimate.  Similar is being said for Abbotsford’s new hospital. Because of the privacy rights that P3 investors have there is no transparency of these so-called public facilities and the public doesn’t have access to what would normally be public record.”

Hoekstra also said that she is concerned that Abbotsford will end up partnering with a company that sells off water to the highest bidder. “Is giving up control of drinking water something Abbotsford is prepared to do? Is Abbotsford prepared to set this precedent?”

“This project has become a runaway train, I cannot stand by and watch.” says Hoekstra, “If you care about Abbotsford you must get interested and informed.”


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