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Wednesday, 04 December 2013 11:35

P3s a disaster waiting to happen

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The Wall Government claims their plans to build 18 new public/ separate schools in nine joint buildings will save taxpayers $30 million using the P3 model (Premier Wall, Leader Post and Star Phoenix, Oct. 23, 2013). Don’t believe Premier Wall for a minute.
P3 records on Canadian schools are dismal to say the least.
Calgary’s Hamptons School (Tirion Developments) had a leaking roof just six months after opening, causing the Calgary Board of Education to spend $100,000 in repairs. In March 2009, Alberta’s 2007 18  K-9 schools came under fire by Alberta’s acting Auditor General, saying “the government has refused to provide financial details on the deal even though it was signed almost six months ago.” The acting Auditor General then concluded the P3 savings were over stated by $20,000,000.
New Brunswick’s Provincial Auditor (1998) report exposed that Moncton’s lease back school cost nearly $900,000 more than a publically-financed and owned project.
Nova Scotia’s Auditor General stated that “the contracts for Nova Scotia’s P3 schools were nothing more than a license to print money for the private partners.” After building 38 of 50 P3 original schools Nova Scotia reverted to traditional public sector methods for future school construction at an estimated savings of $2,000,000 per school.
Even though local school boards are leasing many of these schools, they are charged outrageous amounts for after school activities, are often limited to only one day a week usage, and are charged for all maintenance and repairs even though the owners use the schools for entrepreneurial promotions, etc. In many cases usage for daycares, medical services, and elder services is replaced by private money making programs.
P3’s successful? Google the following for a reality check:
“Private Profit, Public loss: The Community impact of Alberta P3 Schools”
“The Devil in the Details: The P3 Experience in Nova Scotia Schools”
“New Brunswick’s P3 graveyard”
“Why P3 schools are D3 schools”
“Risky business II Hidden costs, Security breaches, poor design,”
Provincial Auditors from many provinces have discredited P3s as an answer to public infrastructure.
Joyce Neufeld, Waldeck, Sask.

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