By Clare Ogilvie
The Britannia Mine water treatment plant was recently
recognized for excellence in infrastructure and development at the Canadian
Council for Public-Private partnerships 2006 national Awards.
The awards are "testament to the fact that P3s save the
taxpayers money, transfer risk, and add great value through design innovations
and private sector ingenuity," Premier Gordon Campbell said in a release.
"We want to make sure we get the best value for every
single tax dollar we invest in infrastructure projects across British Columbia
and P3s will continue to help us accomplish that."
The treatment plant was one of three P3s recognized at the
awards in Toronto. Also cited was the Kicking Horse Canyon project ($130
million) and the Golden Ears Bridge project ($800 million). The Britannia Mine
Water Treatment Plant ($27.2 million) gained the gold award in the P3 council's
infrastructure category, the Golden Ears Bridge received the gold award for
project finance, and the Kicking Horse Canyon Phase Two project won the award
of merit for project financing.
The awards were given out as part of a conference for P3s
nationally. Participants at the conference also heard consultants Ernst and
Young issue a report calling for better managed project flow and a standardized
procurement process if Canada is to be truly competitive in this type of work.
"(B.C., Ontario, and Quebec )… have established
organizations to facilitate P3 procurements, but a general lack of consistency
across jurisdictions remains a challenge,” said Tim Philpotts, leader of Ernst
& Young's Canadian P3 practice in a release.
"Better coordination between governments and their private
sector partners, standardized agreements and a predictable flow of projects
will help build the expertise needed to create and manage large-scale projects
and generate enough business for developers."
However, Ernst & Young believes Canada is making great
strides toward a stable and efficient P3 market with the health care and
transportation sectors showing the most promise.
In the past two years, the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement
project, the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Care Project, and the
Sierra Yoyo Desan Resource Road in northeastern B.C., have been cited in the
Said West Vancouver Garibaldi MLA Joan McIntyre: “The Britannia
partnership addresses a significant environmental issue that has been neglected
for decades. And as a public-private partnership, the project is both
innovative and cost-effective.”
Edmonton-based EPCOR was chosen for the partnership in January
2005. The partnership approach will save the province over $10 million
compared to completing the plant on its own, according to a statement from
Under the Britannia partnership, EPCOR financed, designed, and
constructed the plant, which was completed in June of this year. The firm
will operate the plant for the next 20 years with the province contributing an
annual operation fee based on the amount of water processed in accordance with
Contamination, known as acid rock drainage, once flowed from
untreated into Howe Sound. Now, contaminated water is diverted to the
new water treatment plant. The plant is designed to treat four billion
litres of mine water annually, removing approximately 600,000 kilograms
of heavy metal contaminants.
"The result is a vast improvement to the marine
environment in Howe
Sound," said McIntyre.
The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships is a
non-partisan, non-profit organization founded in 1993 to conduct
research, publish findings and to promote discussion of the benefits and
risks of public-private partnerships in Canada and abroad. It is
entirely funded by members who are divided almost equally between the
public and private sectors.