Residents in Sooke are concerned about the imminent tax hikes to pay for the new sewer system.
Editorial Sooke News Mirror February 20, 2002It ís hard to find your way through a large city for the first time without a good map. Those who have driven those streets before can cut in and out of traffic and take side streets to reach their destinations, but first timers need to map and plan their route.
It seems that the Sooke council did not look carefully at the proper map when it decided to apply for a federal/provincial infrastructure grant for the proposed $24 million sewer project.
Sooke missed out on the first round of grants and was told they would be bypassed in the second round as well. Now George Abbott, Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Womenís Services, the provincial ministry that deals with the grants, has told Sooke Mayor Ed Macgregor that the $16 million council was looking for probably isnít coming. Now Sooke might scale back the project to just serve the core as it continues to look for funds.
While Abbott said his ministry will work with the District to develop an alternative plan, he also mentioned the magic words - liquid waste management plan. The plan was spoken of by others associated with Abbottís ministry when Sooke learned it had missed the first few rounds of the grants.
Council took a great deal of initiative to try to apply for the grant. Sewers are needed here.
They would allow for such tourism-needed business as laundromats. Sewers also could be an important tool for future District governments in controlling urban sprawl by increasing density in the village core on land currently taken up by septic fields. Also there are serious health concerns with systems failing.
Yes, sewers are good for Sooke. But there is a map of how to get them and Sooke has decided to create its own route.
Macgregor has said Sooke will be beginning to undertake a liquid waste management plan this year, but we are already two years down the road. The plan takes about five years to complete and now about two are gone.
Sooke's route might work and the final destination might be reached, but following the plan laid out for the District was likely the way to go.