While P3 projects aren’t new to Manitoba, the announcement showed the provincial government will be taking a closer look at them. While each P3 project is unique, several themes are common throughout. Typically the public sector provides the general framework of what they want built, and they leave it to the private sector to come up with the most innovative and efficient way to accomplish it. The private sector gets paid based on their performance, so they are incentivized to complete the project on-time, on-budget, and without any deficiencies.
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.