Abby to vote on water

By Kent Spencer, The Province October 6, 2011

A $290-million plan to boost water supplies will be much on the minds of Abbotsford voters next month.

Civic leaders, who say the fast-growing city is running dry, are hoping a referendum will be approved to build a plant at Stave Lake.

The plan includes hiring a private operator to run the facility. Traditionally, Canadian water utilities have been in the government’s domain.

“We’re going to try and convince the community that this is the best option,” said Mayor George Peary on Wednesday. “We want to avoid rationing in the future and build redundancy into the system.”

The plant would start by delivering an additional 100 million litres daily under a 25-year contract beginning in 2016. Singlef a mily water bills would rise $201 a year to $550 annually.

Critic Lynn Perrin shudders at the thought of semi-independent staff getting their hands on the resource.

“It would be a for-profit enterprise. The only way to increase profits is to cut staff or raise prices,” said Perrin, spokeswoman for the citizens’ group Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford.

kspencer@theprovince.com

© Copyright (c) The Province

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