The problem with P3s

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November 22, 2013 by realrenewal

A letter to the Opposition

By Verda Petry

Hello Cam,
I hope you will vigorously oppose the Gov’t’s plan to build schools with P3 financing.  Why should taxpayers pay 12-15% (the average range of return on investment in P3 projects) for private financing when bank financing can be obtained for 2-3%? We will be so tied up with debt by the time ND’s come back to power that the provincial treasury will be as bankrupt as Devine left it.  I’m sure they are looking at similar funding for long-term care homes and possibly hospitals.

Not only will the P3’s add to the debt burden of the citizens but they lose control over planning and management of the projects.  While I was working on the Regina Waste Water referendum we heard a number of speakers and got a lot of information on P3’s; they are a disaster.  Jim Holmes was our leader and he would have a lot of information if you wished to talk to him.

ND’s should organize meetings with school boards and local citizens in communities where new schools are planned.  People don’t know what P3’s are and they need to be educated and rallied to protest.

People need to understand that they will lose total control of planning and management of their local school if they support a P3 contract.  There are a lot of examples of P3 failures in Gr Britain, Australia, and Alberta.

Another reason why the Sask Party doesn’t support renovating existing schools is that private investors would not go in on a renovation project because they want ownership; hence, Wall is talking only about  building “new” schools.  Re: ownership: In many cases the investment is sold, often out of country, and maintenance and planning go by the board; however, the local school board must continue to pay ongoing “rent” to the private owner.  P3’s are used as an investment vehicle by large corporations.

This is an excellent issue on which ND’s can take a progressive stand and thereby define the Party again, as a Party supporting ordinary citizens as opposed to selling our assets to private corporations and running up public debt.

Good luck,
Verda Petry

Read also: P3s Problematical by Joyce Neufeld, Regina Leader-Post

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