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Council learns that sewer grant application misses again, but still on table

By Robin Wark for Sooke News Mirror January 29, 2002

The District of Sooke is back to the lobbying stage after receiving word that its sewer plan won’t be included in the next round of “green” infrastructure project grants.

Tom Day, Sooke’s chief administrative officer, said that he was told in a conversation with a senior official with the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services that Sooke wouldn’t be among the 85 approved projects that would be announced shortly. Day said he was told that additional projects will be announced later in the year and Sooke’s application for a $16 million grant to build a $25 million sewer system was still under consideration. The project would service Sooke’s core and the Broom Hill area.

"We want to follow up on this and find out what the problem is and see if we can get this back on track before decisions are made," Ed Macgregor, Sooke’s mayor, said Monday night when the news was discussed at a council meeting.

Calls to the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services regarding the issue were not returned. The grants include funding from both the federal and provincial government. There were more than 600 applications totalling more than $2.1 billion in requests. Sooke was also not part of the first round of grants that were announced Dec. 17.

In a memo to council, Day and Macgregor indicated that a conversation with an engineer involved in processing the grant applications indicated that Sooke’s project was a viable one. But the engineer said its chances would have been increased greatly if the district had a liquid waste management plan.

Macgregor said the district is expecting to start a liquid waste management plan, but said it takes between three and five years to adopt and that Sooke has only been around for two. He said this year the district will be making a grant application to the province for planning for the plan.

"It was impossible for us to take advantage of this infrastructure grant if we undertook the liquid waste management plan," Day said. "We didn’t have enough time basically, nor did we have staff or consultants."

On Monday night council adopted a strategic plan that included meetings with ministry officials and seeking the support of MLA Brian Kerr.



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