Saint John will be getting a new water treatment system. The City’s website has some information about the Public Private Partnership (PPP) that will be used to develop the system.
As expected, some comments on the CBC article about this are sceptical of the PPP system being used.
Ideally, the City would be able to look at several options for developing a clean drinking water system, but as it stands, the PPP funding model appears to be the way to get Federal and Provincial money to move forward with this.
I have concerns about PPP, but am willing to take this as a good news story. We do need an upgraded water system.
My concerns are that a PPP system requires tight control over contracts. If we let a private company do whatever it wants, the profit motive could lead to less than perfect results. However, if we can come up with a solution to make sure the private partner is responsible for cost overruns and a system where water is still priced at fair/accessible prices, this model could work.
I know some folks are concerned about allowing private interests to have control over something as essential and important as water. Again, ideally we would have other options where we could weigh pros and cons of each. But, if the PPP model is the only option, it will be good to get clean water. We just have to make sure we’re getting what we pay for and are cautious in dealing with a partner.