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

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Sewer Proposals Being Examined
for the Sooke News Mirror, August 7 2002 By Robin Wark

District of Sooke employees and a pair of consultants are diving into analyzing proposal packages to try to suggest which of a trio of companies and their partners will be given a chance to build and operate the municipality’s proposed sewer system.

Tuesday at 3 p.m. was the deadline for proposals to be submitted. No details of the packages, which detail systems designed to serve at least 90 per cent of the village core, were available at press time. EPCOR Water Services Inc., BCG Services and American Water Services Canada were all short listed, after Earth Tech Canada opted out of the proceedings, and were expected to submit bids.

The original deadline for proposals was July 29, but municipal engineer Gary Smirfitt said Sooke administrator Tom Day, upon request from the companies, allowed an extra week for the packages to be prepared. Day was on holidays last week and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mayor Ed Macgregor said now Smirfitt, Day and a pair of consultants will study the proposals and then bring a recommendation to council.

Smirfitt said the job will be intensive and time is needed to complete it.

"With the magnitude of the decision we are trying to make, it is going to take two or three weeks for us to go through this in detail," Smifritt said.

The engineer noted each company likely spent about $100,000 to prepare the proposals detailing the design and how they would build and operate the collection system and treatment facility in partnership with Sooke for 20 years.

Members of staff and council have visited facilities designed by all three companies and the technology used by each varies.

"We are not going to have three apples," Smirfitt said. "We are going to have a fruit salad."

The district has previously applied for a Canada-B.C. Infrastructure program grant for the project. The district has not been included in the first three rounds of grant announcements, but Macgregor said, as previously reported, the municipality is reworking its grant application and is communicating with the provincial Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services about it.

The original grant application was for $16 million for a $24 million project. The district will decide how much to apply for once the proposal numbers are crunched.

Day has said the plan is to have the grant application resubmitted by Labour Day weekend. A meeting between the mayor and other representatives of the district with provincial Minister George Abbott is set for September. The mayor hopes at that time the municipality can show the minister it has completed the work ministry officials advised earlier in the year and that approval will come shortly afterward.

"I think we have a great opportunity here to make something happen," Macgregor said.

WRATH Commentary:

The Mayor and Council should complete a "Liquid Waste Management Plan" and consult with the public before proceeding any further with proposals and decisions for a sewage collection and treatment plant and sewage outfall.



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