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Stakeholders voice concern over EPCOR’s proposed takeover of Edmonton drainage utility

The head of the Edmonton District Labour Council is sharing concerns over the proposed takeover of Edmonton's drainage utility by EPCOR.
The head of the Edmonton District Labour Council is sharing concerns over the proposed takeover of Edmonton's drainage utility by EPCOR. Global News

The head of the Edmonton District Labour Council is sharing concerns over the proposed takeover of Edmonton’s drainage utility by EPCOR.

“Accountability and oversight, those two key items will be lost if the transfer does go through,” Bruce Fafard, President of EDLC, said.

A letter of intent from EPCOR will be presented at city hall later this week. It will allow councillor to further consider the proposal.

READ MORE: Epcor drainage utility proposal delayed by city council

In January, city council requested the letter of intent include more transparency of EPCOR’s operations and the proposed $1.1 billion takeover.

“The City is determined to hand over Edmonton’s publicly-owned drainage utility to a private enterprise for the promise of future revenues that may or may not come,” Fafard said. “The evidence shows that, all things considered, there is no net benefit to the citizens of Edmonton. In fact, if the city can achieve even 59 per cent of the efficiencies claimed by EPCOR, there is no good reason to sign this deal.”

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EPCOR officials have said public interest will be a top priority in the deal, but observers aren’t convinced.

“EPCOR does not have a specific legal responsibility to respond to FOIP requests and also that its quarterly share holder meetings are held in private. Councillors are allowed to attend, but the public and media are not so that raises significant concerns from a public interest point of view,” Joel French, executive director of Public Interest Alberta, said.

EPCOR officials say sewer rates won’t rise by more then three percent annually.