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District still focused on bringing sewer to Sooke
Sooke News Mirror, 05/15/2002 By Robin Wark

The District of Sooke is still actively pursuing a community sewer system with cost to residents being a key factor.

The district recently received four expressions of interest to design, build, operate and maintain the sewage treatment plant for 20 years. Each expression of interest is headed by one company, but includes a number of partners. District staff, with two consulting engineers assisting, expect to narrow the field to three within two weeks and to ask those companies to make a proposal bid by the end of July.

At this stage, according to Sooke administrator Tom Day, the district is looking for the technology that will best fit its needs. Once the bids come in a number of criteria will be used, but Day said the biggest test will be the price per parcel. He said, in a study done by the district, $650 a year per parcel for system maintenance and operating cost was found to be acceptable. But the administrator said council only feels that is a goal, with the hope of it being lower than that.

"The person who can deliver the cheapest cost to the taxpayer is going to win the bid," he said.

Council had originally looked at serving the Sooke core and the Broom Hill subdivision. It was asking for a federal/provincial grant for $16 million for a proposed $24 million system. But Sooke was not approved in the first round and was informed by representatives of the provincial Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services it would also not be a part of the second round. Mayor Ed Macgregor said the amount Sooke was looking for was more than was available.

The district is still looking for a grant and Day said meetings with ministry officials have been positive. However, he said if a grant doesn’t come, he does not foresee council going ahead with the project.

Criteria now being used is for the system to serve at least 90 per cent of the Sooke core with the companies bidding for the project having the discretion to serve other areas as they see fit.

Day said those who have expressed interest have been told if the capital costs are $15 million or less they can expect about two-thirds to be covered by grants. This is the amount council feels it would be acceptable to ask for.

If the capital costs are more than $15 million, Day said it is likely they will have to be covered completely through parcel taxes. However, he noted that going over the $15 million mark wouldn’t knock a company out of the race if they can serve a bigger area.

Those who have expressed interest, and their key partners, are BCG Services with Delcan Corporation, Knappet Construction and D & E Utilities; Earth Tech Canada with Maple Reinders, JJM Group and Komex International Ltd.: EPCOR Water Services Inc. with Stantec and Chew Excavating; and American Water Services Canada Corp. with Ledcor Industrial Design/Build Ltd. and Dayton & Knight Ltd.

WRATH Commentary:

Sooke Mayor and Council are determined to push ahead with a sewage collection system and a sewage outfall. Recall that the original proposal by Mayor and Council quoted us a price of $16 million dollars, which soared to over $25 million dollars without public input.

The Mayor and Council should be focusing on developing a Liquid Waste Management Plan first, which is a multi-stakeholder process with the Province of BC and interested local groups, such as WRATH, and a pre-requisite for any funding grants.



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