Epcor’s ownership of White Rock’s water utility was no moneymaking venture

LETTERS: Murky tale of empire-building

Editor:

After seeing the City of White Rock spend our money for a full-page ad, I thought I would add my two cents’ worth.

Editor:

After seeing that the City of White Rock found it necessary to spend our money for a full-page ad in Peace Arch News on Oct. 21 to tell residents how to make White Rock’s swamp water supply safe for farm animals to consume, I thought I would add my two cents’ worth.

This is my take on how this whole thing got started.

Way back when, the owners of White Rock Utilities decided they didn’t want to be in the water business any more. The reason, in my opinion, is fairly simple. Being in the water business, they knew the nuts and bolts of the business. And when they added up what it was going to cost them to stay in the water business, I believe they decided it was going to be too costly.

They let it be known the utility was on the market, and who should decide to get into the water business but our city fathers, who, I believe, know as much about water and business as I know about nuclear physics.

Then up stepped Epcor.

Now, Epcor happens to be in the water business, not only in Canada but also they are very active in the U.S. Not only are they in the water business but also the electricity business and the electricity-transmission business. They are right now in the process of purchasing New Mexico American Water and Arizona American Water for an estimated $470 million U.S.

Epcor Utilities Inc. has only one shareholder, the City of Edmonton.

So the deal was made to sell the White Rock water system to Epcor, I guess based on their expertise, reliability and perhaps they even had the best interest of White Rock residents in mind.

I like to give the benefit of the doubt so I’m thinking that after Epcor did the deal, they, at some point, found out what they had really purchased, considering the amount of taxpayer dollars being thrown at the utility today – $41 million, by my count, and counting.

Everybody knows that when life deals you lemons, you make lemonade. Everybody also knows that when life deals you a turkey, you cannot make lemonade out of it, no matter how much money you throw at it.

Problem: after all the number crunching, I believe Epcor found it was going to cost them a fortune to bring it up to an acceptable standard, far more than it was worth and the payback time was unreasonable.

Answer: sell it to the City of White Rock.

There is a non-disclosure clause in the agreement (Water deal muzzles for 3 years, Nov. 18, 2015), and I don’t believe it was Epcor’s idea.

There is also the fact the deal has gone or is going to arbitration. Why? What is it about this deal that requires an arbitrator to resolve a deal involving two consenting parties (and I am not talking about us taxpayers)?

This smacks of the same flavour of empire-building as the White Rock Fire Department debacle a number of years ago, when Surrey offered to amalgamate Surrey and White Rock fire departments and save White Rock taxpayers $17 million. It never happened (White Rock firefighters declare victory, May 14, 2010), and according to one member, council was never told of the offer.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Barry Gaudin, White Rock

 

 

Just Posted

White Rock’s Mueller wins World Series of Poker bracelet

Third career WSOP win for former professional hockey player

ZYTARUK: Canal isn’t Surrey’s first ‘different’ idea

Anyone up for waterskiing in Doug’s Ditch?

MINTY: It’s time to save Surrey Little Theatre before it’s squeezed out of Clayton

At the theatre on 184th Street, DebuTheatre will showcase two one-act plays in July

Why school portables are a ‘way of life’ in Surrey

THIRD IN A SERIES: A look at concerns surrounding Surrey’s 300-plus portables

Surrey man charged in two Guildford bank robberies

David Yaroslawsky, 37, is charged with two counts of robbery and remains in custody

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Mini-horse power lifts spirits at Langley care home

Gunner turned a visit with grandpa a major event for everyone at the residence

Women sue former Vancouver cop over alleged sexual abuse during pimp case

Two women claim James Fisher caused psychological trauma during the Reza Moazami investigation

First ever Indigenous person to join the RCMP to be honoured in B.C.

Hawk Kelly said becoming a Mountie was his dream job as a kid

Vancouver Canucks playing pre-season game in Abbotsford

Canucks hosting Ottawa Senators on Monday, Sept. 23

Mini pinscher at Maple Ridge SPCA needs spinal surgery

Bane has a painful condition known as Wobbler Syndrome

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of B.C. inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Most Read

l -->