Residents in Sooke are concerned about the imminent tax hikes to pay for the new sewer system.
The Sooke Mayor and Council would have you believe that we need a sewer system. What is their Agenda? Whose agenda is it?
Council decided that we need a $16 million dollar sewer system in the core. This area will be targeted for high density commercial and residential development to get a bigger tax base. This means increased taxes. Where is all this new investment money going to come from? Are we in a major growth trend? Demographic statistics do not support growth of this magnitude and neither does the Regional Growth Strategy.
The $16 million estimate does not inlcude other hidden costs that we have to pay for such as the costs to purchase the land and the annual operating costs, which will increase every year and not decrease each year.
How will people on fixed incomes manage to budget and pay higher taxes? Well, they won't.
Former Mayor, Ed McGregor promised us a referendum at a public meeting last fall on October 30, 2000. McGregor and Council is using an obsolete section of the Local Government Act to push this through without a referendum. We don't get a say in the matter.
McGregor promised at the public meeting to release the Stantec Sewer Study Final Report to the public for review. Then he said, no, they had to add the input from the public open house. Well, the final report was dated November 27, 2000 but they did not make it available to the public until March at the council meeting when they unanimously made the three motions to approve the $16 million dollar sewer system. Something smells like rotten sewage.
Oops. One more thing. This doesn't fit the Official Community Plan (OCP) or the Local Area Plan (LAP). So, now they are pushing a revision through to change the OCP.
Ed wanted to merge with East Sooke and Otter Point. So did the other councillors. So, residents of East Sooke and Otter Point will pay too. Who's next?
So, what will happen with the new Mayor, Janet Evans, and the new Councillors in place as of July, 2003? Well, we all know how politicians communicate ... they say what the wealthiest want to hear ... and here in Sooke ... it's the developers. Hey, aren't they the same folks who built the shoddy systems in the first place?
We must have a fair referendum, and if Sooke wants a sewage collection and treatment facility, then we must use a closed loop green technology system. Sewage outfalls are silent killers of the oceans and all interconnected biological systems including shellfish, fish, salmon, eagles, bears and so on. We obviously can't rely on our BC Provincial Government or the apathetic Joyce Murray to introduce legislation to protect our environment. Given the alarming increase in the international findings against the Canadian Federal Government for failing to enforce the federal environmental legislation, we can't expect adequate protection and enforcement from the feds either.
We, the people, have to steward our land ... today ... and tomorrow.
Make your voice heard. Come out to council meetings on Monday evenings.