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

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Morino remains unconvinced of sewer plan

by Robin Wark for the Sooke News Mirror, November 26, 2003

Tom Morino’s first time through the budgeting process of the District of Sooke has been an eye-opening and enjoyable one for the rookie councillor.

At a Feb. 17 committee of the whole meeting regarding the budget, Morino told council and district staff he was "blown away" by the professionalism and the quality of the reports involved with the process. And while the lawyer is enjoying his first few months in office, there is one item that he still doesn’t agree with - sewers.

As reported in the News Mirror last week, sewers are mentioned in four of the 22 items in the district’s 2003 strategic plan and one could argue are an unwritten component of two more.

Morino and George OBriain earned their council seats last fall following campaigns in which they questioned the District of Sooke’s proposed $17.5 million sewer project.

In an interview last Tuesday morning, OBriain said he was against an ocean outfall and feels more debate and work on the Liquid Waste Management Plan is needed.

Morino couldn’t be reached by last issue’s deadlines.

"It is a mom and apple pie issue," Morino said of sewers during an interview Sunday night. "How can anyone be against sewers? I certainly am not."

What Morino is against is the current proposal. During his campaign he said he remains to be convinced the council initiative is the way to go and Sunday night he confirmed that feeling is still true.

Morino is concerned about a sewer system’s possible effects on taxpayers. Following a Union Of B.C. Municipalities councillor training session, Morino said he is extremely concerned about possible downloading of responsibilities from the province to municipalities, which he believes would increase the burden on taxpayers.

During the strategic planning sessions, brainstorming of and rating of the district’s priorities was done. Morino said he placed a zero rating next to any item he felt was directly related to a sewer system.

The councillor feels downtown revitalization, sidewalks and pathways are more pressing priorities.

Some on council argue revitalization of the village core would include a sewer system, but Morino questions if it is really needed to attract more businesses.

Mayor Ed Macgregor has said he feels sewers are still the first priority for the district as far as major infrastructure.



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