Keep Hydro Public

Keep Hydro Public

August 27, 2017 12:23 ET

Citizens of Wasaga Beach recognized at awards ceremony for outstanding effort to protect community against privatization of local hydro provider

WASAGA BEACH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 27, 2017) - The people of Wasaga Beach came together Sunday to honour the great work of community volunteers who worked with their neighbours to stop the mayor and council from selling off Wasaga Distribution Inc. (WDI).

"You are an inspiration to the rest of the province," said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, who was in Wasaga representing the Keep Hydro Public Coalition. "Your victory shows what we can accomplish when we come together and hold our political decision makers accountable."

With the help of the Keep Hydro Public Coalition, local residents successfully pressured the Wasaga Beach council to retain and grow the local distribution company which is rated as one of Ontario's most efficient hydro providers with the lowest electricity cost in the province.

Thousands of residents became engaged, demonstrating their opposition to privatizing the local utility. With the persistent efforts of local volunteers, over 4200 Keep Hydro Public lawn signs were distributed in the community and over 8000 petition signatures were collected from residents opposed to privatizing WDI. After months of community involvement, Wasaga Beach council voted unanimously to keep WDI public at an emergency meeting back in July.

Gathered for a celebratory barbeque at the Rec-Plex Band Shell, awards were presented to 20 outstanding volunteers with special recognition given to Mark Winegarden for his leadership as well as to Diane and Ken Ross, who canvassed together while Ken was in a wheelchair. Ken passed away before knowing they had won their campaign.

"We are very proud of the work we did," said Winegarden. "We love our community and believe strongly in looking out for what's best for the people who live here. It wouldn't have happened if we hadn't all come together."

"Wasaga Beach volunteers are a shining example for the rest of the province on how we can win back the ownership of Hydro One through grassroots campaigning," said Doly Begum, coordinator of the Keep Hydro Public Campaign. "Hydro should be affordable for everyone, not in the hands of profit driven shareholders."

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