Voters choose P3 funding model

Mayor Michael Fougere speaks to media on September 25, 2013, after the ‘No’ side won the wastewater treatment plant referendum. Adrian Raaber / Global News

REGINA – After months of debate the referendum in Regina is over and the people have voted in favour of continuing with the P3 (Public-Private Partnership) model to fund and operate the city’s new wastewater treatment plant.

“This is a vote of confidence for this council because we made the right decision and people understand that and they agree with us,” said Mayor Michael Fougere.

The P3 model idea was initially approved by city council in February but with that decision, Regina Water Watch was born. The group expressed concern with how the new plant was going to be funded and subsequently launched a petition. They thought they had gathered enough signatures to force a referendum, but the city invalidated so many that the petition was declared insufficient. But, after appeals by the Water Watch and concerned citizens, the city decided to hold a referendum on how to fund the plant anyway.

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With the P3 funding model now approved, the federal government will help the city pay for the new wastewater treatment plant with $58.5 million in funding.

“This is the best deal for the city, we have a quarter of the cost for the project being covered by the federal government, we have a contract that will hold prices down,” added Fougere.

The unofficial vote has the No side with 57.1% of the vote and the YES side was able to gather 42.9% of the vote.

The unofficial voter turnout for the referendum had just over 49 thousand people casting ballots and that includes the 5892 votes casted at the advanced polls.

On Friday the Returning Officer will announce the official results at City Hall.

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