LETTER: Must consider aspects of major water project

Even hard-core opponents of the Stave Lake proposal agreed that further sources of liquid gold would likely be part of our future...

This summer’s dead lawns may cause people to wonder whether a new water source is required.

Even hard-core opponents of the Stave Lake proposal agreed that further sources of liquid gold would likely be part of our future. It was the P3 aspect that concerned many.

At the height of that issue, Kevin Mills’ clear reporting spelled out the difference between the private rate of borrowing (as required by the proposal) compared to the public rate — 7.23 per cent vs. 4.23 per cent (later in the controversy both rates dropped, but the 3 per cent difference remained).

This was the real spanner in the works.  Private interests would, of course, design and build such a large project.  And perhaps there is some merit to having a private company manage and maintain the finished project.

But a three per cent difference in borrowing costs makes no sense whatsoever.

If we do go forward on a major water project, how about a bond issue that is open to the general public?   I realize that a management component would be required in such a situation, but Fraser Health and UFV have private companies managing their pay parking, and the same goes for TransLink’s tolling of the Golden Ears Bridge, as well as for the Port Mann, a provincial responsibility.

We have evidence in the form of the RCMP building in Surrey that P3s can be very expensive when it comes to private borrowing.  (That project did go forward with a 3 per cent top-up for private borrowing, a federal decision that I hope gets raised during this fall’s election.)

Financing future sources of water will be expensive enough, even without offering select private investors a premium.

— Regina Dalton, 33886 George Ferguson Way, Abbotsford   (604) 852-3219