Rally planned for today at Mission municipal hall

A rally is being planned for 5 p.m. today (Monday) at municipal hall to urge Mission council to keep water public, said organizers.

“We 100 per cent support council’s decision,” said rally co-organizer Janet Chalmers, a spokesperson for Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford (WWMA).

Mission politicians voted last Monday evening to reject a P3 (private public partnership) proposal on a joint water project with Abbotsford.

Both municipalities were to have voted on the project last week, but Abbotsford council deferred the decision. Abbotsford Mayor George Peary stated his city will push forward with the plan without Mission, and outside of the Abbotsford-Mission Water and Sewer Commission.

The commission was contemplating a P3 to build a $300-million water supply and treatment plant at Stave Lake.

“We expect Mayor Atebe to stand up for Mission against the intolerable insults and threats by the mayor of Abbotsford. It’s our water and Mayor Peary has no right to bully us with our own resources,” said Chalmers in a press release.

The group is also pushing for a “made-in-Mission” public water plan.

Concerns rose over the weekend after rumours began circulating that Mission council was going to be discussing the P3 issue at its in-camera meeting April 11.

The WWMA press release says “alarmed councillors” have said the P3 was to be discussed tonight.

According to Atebe, the Community Charter dictates that topics for discussion at in-camera meetings are not allowed to be shared with the public.

Chalmers said the rally is to also encourage council to make all information regarding this proposal public, something Mission’s mayor says the district is required to do under the Community Charter.

“The charter would never allow [council] to discuss” items that should be in public meetings at in-camera gatherings, said Mayor James Atebe.