October 11, 2022
PC Interference will Cost Families More on their Water Bill
Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg MB—A PC Minister help trigger a $525 water rate hike for Brandon families when he intervened in a dangerous project to help out a local developer and big Stefanson donor.
“Manitobans expect their government to make decisions based on whats best for families, not their donors. A PC Minister stepped in to help out a party donor and as a result Brandon families will see their bills increase,” said NDP Infrastructure Critic Matt Wiebe. “This project is dangerous and will lead to higher costs for people. Once again the Pallister-Stefanson PCs are focused on helping out their friends and regular families are paying the price.”
Department documents reveal the Minister of Infrastructure intervened in a dangerous highway access project proposed by local Brandon developer VBJ Developments. In 2016 VBJ Developments requested provincial approval of an access road to Highway 10 as part of a proposed commercial development. The government rejected the project three times, in part because it would “increase the risk of accidents including a higher potential for more severe accidents” and would lead to “increased maintenance, capital, social costs”.
VBJ appealed the decision in July 2022. PC Minister of Infrastructure Doyle Piwniuk overruled his department’s decision and granted a permit.
The City of Brandon will need to expand water and wastewater infrastructure in order to service VBJ’s development. The proposed expansions, including new lift stations and treatment facilities, will cost at least $30 million dollars and is a contributing factor in Brandon’s request to double water rates from $675 to $1,200. Brandon City Council is currently voting on this water project and will make a request to the Public Utilities Board for the rate increase.
VBJ Developments is partly owned by Vionell Bertineous Jacobson the 3rd. He is a PC supporter and donor, donating $3,000 to Premier Heather Stefanson’s leadership campaign and $4,125 to the PC party in the last three years.