Residents in Sooke are concerned about the imminent tax hikes to pay for the new sewer system.
Please, no more [broken] policies and promises...
Sooke council has become adept at one thing —making promises they can’t keep. This week, our municipal government decided to renege on a freshly-minted policy which stated that it would only consider Agriculture Land Reserve exclusions on property within the core area until the Official Community Plan review process is completed.
Despite this policy, council has decided to allow Shambrook Hills Development Corp. — which has its sights set on converting the 386-acre Phillips farm property into a residential development — plead its case for ALR exclusion.
The development project itself may have merit and it’s too early to cast judgement. But one can certainly cast judgement on our council. Frankly, they are having a hard time living up to the expectations they have placed upon themselves.
This is just the latest example in which they have backed away from a promise.
Last year, Sooke’s mayor told us that this year’s tax increase would be under 3.5 per cent. As we all know from our tax bills, residential municipal taxes have increased by 4.5 per cent. The mayor has promised a 5 per cent tax increase next year. Who knows?
The mayor had promised there would be a sewage system referendum for property owners within the proposed sewer service area. That referendum became a watered-down council initiative, with the mayor explaining he didn’t know there were other options when he made his promise.
Council had also repeatedly promised the community would have input into the sewerage system alternatives.
The mayor wrote to the Mirror in June 2000: "The consultant is required to formally invite public input early on in the process. The community’s concerns and ideas will be heard. The community’s input will again be sought once the consultant has identified an alternative ..... I look forward to the community actively participating in the dialogue that may lead to a sewerage collection, treatment and disposal system for our village centre."
Yet the alternatives were selected and submitted to the federal/provincial infrastructure grant agency for necessary funding prior to community input. The promised "dialogue" turned out to be a public lecture on why the alternatives that were chosen were selected. Another promise broken.
This council doesn’t really need critics. They do a good enough job making themselves look bad.
The best policy they could come up with is a policy to make no more policies or promises. At least that way they wouldn’t have to constantly change them.