|Posted by Winnipeg Chapter on December 9, 2010 at 12:58 AM|
The city is currently in the process of drafting up its contract with Veolia. The most effective way to influence city council right now is to write letters. Your letter can be as short or as long as you like. Simply stating your opposition to this 30-year secret deal is effective if that is all you have time to do. Every letter counts!
Below you will find the email addresses of the mayor and city council as well as writing points and two sample letters. To copy and paste on a PC, highlight the text you desire, push CTRL + C at the same time and then to paste, push CTRL + V at the same time. To copy and paste on a MAC, highlight the text you desire, push APPLE + C at the same time and then to paste, push APPLE + V at the same time. On either computer you can also highlight the text, right click the mouse, choose 'copy' and then paste it into your document by right clicking again and choosing 'paste'.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us. If would like a Water Watch speaker to come to your letter writing session, please let us know. email@example.com
Main Floor, Council Building
510 Main Street, Council Building
Emailed letters are just as valid as hand-written letters and leave an electronic footprint. Hand-written letters are impressive because they cannot be missed. If you would like to send your letter to everyone, but do not have time to write them all out, then simply send it by email.
Mayor Sam Katz firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Swandel email@example.com (St. Norbert)
Devi Sharma firstname.lastname@example.org (Old Kildonan) - new councillor
Ross Eadie email@example.com (Mynarski ) -new councillor
Paula Havixbeck firstname.lastname@example.org (Charleswood-Tuxedo) - new councillor
Gord Steeves email@example.com (St. Vital)
Mike Pagtakhan firstname.lastname@example.org (Point Douglas)
Russ Wyatt email@example.com (Transcona)
Grant Nordman firstname.lastname@example.org (Charleswood)
Jeff Browaty email@example.com (North Kildonan)
Scott Fielding firstname.lastname@example.org (St. James-Brooklands)
Jenny Gerbasi email@example.com (Fort Rouge - East Fort Garry)
John Orlikow firstname.lastname@example.org River Heights-Fort Garry
Harvey Smith email@example.com (Daniel McIntyre)
Thomas Steen firstname.lastname@example.org (Elmwood-East Kildonan) - new councillor
Dan Vandal email@example.com (St. Boniface)
To email them all, copy and paste:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Your letters can be addressed in the following way:
To : All Members of Council
Re: 30 Year Veolia Contract with the City of Winnipeg
If you would like to phone the councillors, their numbers can be found at
- There is very little public information on the Veolia contract - not even the councillors have seen the document. This is not democracy.
- We do not know the details of the contract and therefore what the relationship with Veolia will be or how much this will cost Winnipeggers.
- The deal with Veolia could be for 30 years and this could obligate the City in ways that could cost a great deal and limit the City's ability to secure the best professional services in waste water treatment.
- We will probably never know all of the details of a contract once it is signed because private companies can hide behind confidentiality requirements and legislation (even though the public's right to know should trump business confidentiality).
- We do not want a private company profiting from something as essential to our health as our waste water treatment and possibly our drinking water services. Clean drinking water is growing scarce in the world and once large companies get into government services, they can expand their control over these important resources.
- Veolia does not have a good public relations, environmental or cost efficiency track record.
- The deal with Veolia looks like a Public-Private Partnership, which means prices for services will likely go up and quality of service go down - a common occurence when a private (for profit) company becomes a partner in our wastewater system.
Sample letter A: to the Mayor and City Councillors
Dear Mayor Katz and City of Winnipeg Councillors:
I am extremely concerned with how the City is proposing to upgrade our wastewater treatment system. In particular, I think the proposed contract with Veolia Water is going to fail and leave citizens with greater problems and costs in the future.
While information is hard to obtain on the current status of the contract with Veolia, I am writing you now to reconsider the arrangement with Veolia, for the following reasons:
- The control of our treatment system must remain in public hands. Our wastewater treatment system needs to be the best possible, with technologies and professional expertise that ensures the health of our community and water bodies. The technology to remove excess nutrients and pollutants before the effluent is returned to the river will be improving over time and we want to have the flexibility to upgrade without being tied into a 30 year contract with a company that may not be able to deliver on all our needs.
- Public-private partnerships do not deliver quality public services and the often cost more than publicly delivered services. The arrangement with Veolia looks like a PPP and there is no justification for it. While a long term contract for the design, build and operation of a treatment facility may look good for the short term, it is not in the best interest of tax payers and all citizens.
- Contracts that involve huge public expenditures and long term relations should be transparent. The secrecy surrounding the Veolia contract is alarming. Other cities that have entered into agreements with Veolia have had them open to the public before the deal is finalized. It is essential that all contractors be held publicly accountable and this can only be done if there is a genuine effort to keep the public informed about the work they do.
- Veolia has a terrible track record in dealing with public issues and concerns. There are a number of cases in which cities have terminated their agreements with Veolia due to concerns about the company's technical, financial or environmental performance. For example, the City of Indianapolis has just agreed to pay Veolia $29 million in order to get out of their contract.
Please do everything possible to meet our current and future wastewater treatment needs, without engaging in highly questionable or risky ventures with companies like Veolia. There are better options and you should make every effort to use companies and means that protect our interests, not put them at risk.
Thank you for your attention.
Sample letter B: to the Mayor and City Councillors
Dear Mayor and Councillors:
I am writing to ask you to reconsider negotiating a contract with Veolia for the following reasons:
- Our wastewater treatment processes need to be the best possible with current technology in order to ensure the health of our community and our river and lake. The technology to remove excess nutrients and pollutants before the effluent is returned to the river will be improving over time and we want to have the flexibility to upgrade without being tied into a 30 year contract.
- There are revenue generating opportunities now with technologies that extract the phosphorus from the wastewater and turn it into saleable fertilizer. This is being done in Edmonton now. Why not have the city (and therefore tax payers) reap those profits rather than have them exported to a company headquartered in France?
- The secrecy of the terms of this deal is alarming. Other cities that have entered agreements with Veolia have had them open to the public before the deal is finalized.
- There are a number of cases in which cities have decided to terminate their agreements with Veolia before the end of the contract due to concerns about the company's performance. The most recent of these is Indianapolis who has just agreed to pay Veolia $29 million in order to get out of the contract. What assurance do we have that his would not occur in Winnipeg?
Please say no to an agreement with Veolia for these reasons.
Thank you for taking the time to participate and insisting your voice be heard on this vital decision.