Residents in Sooke are concerned about the imminent tax hikes to pay for the new sewer system.

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How are Sooke’s sewage system and the Capital Health Region/Milt Gibson Memorial Society’s senior complex alike?

Sooke News Mirror Editorial, June 13 2001

Both are only wishful thinking.

The Sooke core’s sewage system doesn’t stand a chance of becoming a reality unless the B.C.-Canada Infrastructure Grant management team sees fit to shell out $16-million for the $24-million project.

Spokespeople at both the Ministry of Employment and Investment (now the Ministry of Competition, Science and Enterprise) who oversee the provincial component of the grant program, and Western Economic Diversification Canada, either don’t have a clue or simply aren’t saying when we can expect the worthy applications to be announced. The word is ‘some time this summer.’

Nor will they reveal how many applicants are vying for the $800 million which will be doled out over three years. But Sooke is seeking a sizable portion. Let’s say there’s $267-million doled out annually. Sooke wants almost six per cent for the sewer system alone. An insider said the program is oversubscribed for projects on the Lower Mainland alone, many of which have waiting in the wings for some time.

This isn’t to say Sooke’s application doesn’t have a chance. But it is just a chance.

It makes one wonder why the municipality is even plodding on ahead with the second phase of the sewage study — the phase which is expected to determine the cost to those being serviced — before it knows if the grant application is successful.

Then there’s the long-term care, seniors housing and wellness centre complex on the golf course lands.

The Capital Health Region is simply land banking — in case there’s cash from the province to build a long-term care facility. Indications are that more care facilities will be built, and Sooke is at the top of the list for locations, but nothing is certain.

Even more uncertain is whether the Milt Gibson Memorial Society can pre-sell 24 of the 36 units needed to forge ahead with the construction of the planned seniors’ housing facility. A seniors’ condo residence built behind Sooke elementary three years ago has yet to sell out. Is there enough demand?

Lastly, attracting doctors to a wellness centre will be next to impossible. It’s hard enough now to attract a single doctor to Sooke and it’s not because the present day offices aren’t suitable. There’s shortage of doctors for the province period — and it would be hard to bring them to Sooke even if they were building a Taj Mahal — unless of course it was also a full facility hospital.



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