Mission P3 position firm: Atebe

Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford spokesperson Janet Chalmers was one of several residents who protested outside Abbotsford city hall Monday evening.

Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford spokesperson Janet Chalmers was one of several residents who protested outside Abbotsford city hall Monday evening.

Abbotsford council’s decision Monday night to proceed with an application to PPP Canada to fund a proposed public private partnership (P3) for a new water supply and treatment plant at Stave Lake will not change Mission council’s position.

It’s their own prerogative to make the decision on behalf of their community, but it will not change Mission’s April 4 vote, said Mayor James Atebe.

“We did hear clearly from our community that they don’t trust the private sector operating it.”

Atebe says it’s too soon to tell how Abbotsford’s decision will affect this community, but he notes Mission will continue to explore other options to address the district’s water needs, including other senior government grants which don’t involve private partnerships.

He will also be requesting a special Water and Sewer Commission meeting as soon as possible to examine and assess Abbotsford’s decision and determine its affect on Mission residents.

Mission and Abbotsford co-own the current water system, and the two communities have had a partnership for many decades, said Atebe, noting the relationship has to be maintained.

Abbotsford council voted 7-2 in favour of moving the revised application forward with Couns. Patricia Ross and Lynne Harris voting against.

The decision does not mean the city will enter into a P3 agreement, but it allows it to fully explore the option, find out if the plan will be accepted by PPP Canada and how much funding (up to $66.5 million) could be provided.

Abbotsford staff had to revise the original proposal after Mission voted against the P3 option.

Instead of a joint, $300-million project, Abbotsford has decided to act on its own on a smaller, approximately $284 million), proposal. The new plan still includes a pump station and treatment plant at Stave Lake, but no longer includes an expansion to the MacLure reservoir or treatment of water from Cannel Lake.

While most councillors admitted they still needed more information, and had reservations regarding P3s, they saw no reason to delay applying for funding.

Coun. John Smith said he “takes comfort in the fact” that this is not the final say and the city could easily decide to change its mind, or have it changed for them.

“In the final analysis, the people will have the final say,” said Smith, referring to the November referendum which would be needed for a P3 to be approved.

The most outspoken critic of the plan was Ross, who said she felt the city had a “gentleman’s agreement” with Mission.

“In order for us to move forward, we both had to agree,” said Ross, adding that Mission’s decision to abandon the P3 idea should have killed Abbotsford’s plan.

She said she was uncomfortable moving forward, considering Stave Lake is located in Mission.

Ross called Mission neighbours and friends and said the move to go it alone felt “like a hostile take over.”

The large crowd of anti-P3 supporters gave her a standing ovation and one person shouted out “Ross for mayor.”

Despite her objections, the motion passed.

After the meeting Abbotsford Mayor George Peary said he didn’t agree with Ross.

“I don’t think Mission will be offended by what has been done,” said Peary.

He said he has approached James Atebe, but the Mission mayor wanted to wait until Abbotsford voted before discussing the next step for the two cities.

“Now we can have a dialogue,” said Peary who added if Abbotsford continues on the P3 path alone, Mission would be able to acquire water, without putting up any capital.

But Peary also stressed the final decision lies with the voters.

“I expect this will be a major election issue,” he said.

– with files from Kevin Mills

Just Posted

Tourism Abbotsford has launched the ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign to encourage visitors to check out all Abbotsford has to offer. (Tourism Abbotsford photo)
Tourism Abbotsford launches ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign

Visitors encouraged to check out all Abbotsford has to offer this summer

Temperature records were broken for June 21, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Record-breaking heat shimmered across Fraser Valley for second day

Tuesday should be a bit cooler says forecast from Environment Canada

Emil Anderson Maintenance is mowing the shoulder along Lougheed Highway in Agassiz, asking motorists to use extra caution around slow-moving vehicles on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Graphic/Emil Anderson Maintenance)
TRAFFIC: Slow-moving mowers working on Highway 7 shoulders in Agassiz on Tuesday, Wednesday

Mowing takes place Tues., Weds. between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Artists featured in the BLM Social Justice Art Project at UFV are (clockwise from top left): Michelle Msami, Dona Park, Rain Neeposh and Faria Firoz.
Black Lives Matter art exhibit opens at UFV in Abbotsford

Show features the work of four artists and runs until Sept. 15

/  Bob Friesen Photos
PHOTOS: Father’s Day Parade cruises through Mission

Taking It To The Streets event featured about 100 vintage vehicles

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Most Read