Last week in partnership with the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce hosted an event on the future of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) in Manitoba. At the conference, Premier Brian Pallister announced the province would launch a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process for the development of four new schools. What was noteworthy about the announcement was that the RFP would determine whether this $100 million plus project would be suitable for P3 procurement.
P3 projects are done to maximize the value for money that taxpayers receive, something The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce has long been in favor of. Before a P3 project goes ahead, an analysis is done to see if the private sector can provide a more cost-efficient option. In the case of the Chief Peguis Trail Extension, those cost savings worked out to $31 million. As well, P3s encourage innovation, which is an area where Manitoba needs improvement, as the Conference Board of Canada has ranked us third last amongst all provinces.
While it is still too early to tell if these new schools will be built under the P3 model, it is encouraging to see the provincial government look at more innovative and cost effective methods for infrastructure procurement.