06/19/2013 08:31 EDT | Updated 08/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Regina group says it has enough names to force referendum on private project

REGINA - Public advocacy group Regina Water Watch says it now has the numbers to force a referendum over the proposed privatization of the city's waste water treatment plant.

It gathered more than 22,000 signatures calling for the city to hold a referendum.

Saskatchewan's Cities Act dictates a petition must have enough signatures to represent 10 per cent of a city's population to be deemed valid and binding.

That means the group would need 19,300.

River Water Watch spokesman Jim Holmes says water is a basic requirement and it should remain in public control.

Regina Michael Fougere has said the public/private partnership model is the best option for taxpayers.

"It's really a monopoly situation, there is one sewage plant and we pay for it through our water rates and that's effectively a tax, it's not optional to pay it, so there's no private market there, so it doesn't seem to make sense," Holmes said.