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

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Editorial: Meetings held but survey could help sewer be a success

Sooke News Mirror August 13, 2003

Over the past three years the District of Sooke has held countless meetings regarding the proposed $17.4 million community sewer system. At first glance, all of those meetings might make one question why council would want to spend up to $8,500 on public opinion research regarding the system. Haven't there been enough meetings?

However, a second glance shows there is plenty of evidence from those meetings that prove the phone survey is a worthy idea.

At each meeting a number of the same questions are posed. Many of these are quality questions. The fact they come up often doesn't mean there are not satisfactory answers, because, in most cases, there are. Perhaps the information just isn't getting out to people. As well as seeking opinions on the system, the survey, as suggested by preferred partner EPCOR Water Services, would also attempt to determine how the residents prefer information to be disseminated.

Many of the same faces can been observed in the audience of these meetings. This is good in that these people are interested and involved in the future of their community. They are there to learn and to ask questions.

But the reality of life is that some people simply can't attend weeknight meetings, even if they are interested. The survey increases the chances of these people's concerns being expressed.

Another high point of the survey is that it is targeted at the people who live in the proposed specified area in the village core and areas such as Broom Hill the system would serve. It is also these people who would be voting in a referendum. Some councillors have wondered if the voices of the people in the specified area are being heard and this is certainly a chance to listen to them.

And as far as its cost, in a project of this magnitude, importance to the community - environmentally, socially and economically - and hefty price tag up to $8,500 is a small price to pay to give the public another chance to help it succeed.

This community needs a sewer system for a variety of reasons. However, it must be done correctly and in a way that is palatable to the residents. This survey should help give an idea of how those who would be affected feel about it and perhaps can tweak the project, if needed.

This system needs to be successful in the referendum, because the $11.6 million "gift" from the senior levels of government won't be coming around again soon.



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