Residents in Sooke are concerned about the imminent tax hikes to pay for the new sewer system.
Council takes road trip for knowledge [about sewer treatment plants], Sooke News Mirror March 6, 2002 by Robin Wark
Five members of the Sooke council and a pair of district staff members took to the highways of B.C. last week on a quest for knowledge.
It wasnít exactly a vacation with four different sewer plants highlighting the Thursday through Saturday whirlwind mainland trip. However, council seems pleased with what it learned.
Tom Day, Sookeís chief administrative officer, said the purpose of the trip was for council to learn about other green sewage treatment systems as it continues its quest to secure a similar one for Sooke. Council has sought a provincial/federal green infrastructure grant for $16 million for a proposed $24 million sewer project to service Sookeís core and the Broom Hill area.
However, the district has been told by George Abbott that it is likely asking for more than the province can give, but that he is interested in the project, according to Ed Macgregor, Sookeís mayor. Abbott is the Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Womenís Services, which administers the infrastructure grants.
Macgregor said visits to facilities in Kent, Summerland, Lake Country and Sun Peaks gave councillors and staff an idea of what options they have in looking at saving money to scale back the bid. Gary Smirfitt, the municipal engineer, said the trip showed him that the actual treatment facility will cost about 25 per cent of the project and it is all the other areas, such as how much of Sooke to have sewers in, that will cause the overall cost to rise or fall.
Macgregor said council met with people at each place that could help them in their quest to bring sewers to Sooke.
Day noted that it was important for council to learn about what it is making a decision on. He said the system could be the single biggest expenditure in Sookeís history.
Macgregor agreed that the trip was useful for council.
"Just to be able to see the technology and to see how it functions ... even simple things like odour,î Macgregor said of why the trip was important. ìYou wouldnít know you were in a sewage treatment plant."
Day estimated the trip, which had the crew driving from place to place, cost between $2,000 to $2,500.
Also going on the trip were councillors Lorna Barry, Janet Evans, John Farmer and Ron Dumont. Councillors who were unable to make it were Marcus Farmer and Jeff Stewart.