Citizens form comnmittee to protest long-term sewer deal

District of Sooke looking at 21-year deal with EPCOR

The Committee for Fair Sewer Services for Sooke has been formed by a number of concerned citizens who want a fair and open process to determine how the District of Sooke’s five-year-old sewer system shall be operated and maintained.

 

The District of Sooke is proposing to enter into a 21-year contract with the City of Edmonton owned Epcor Water (West) Inc. The committee has discovered a number of issues about this proposed agreement and is holding a meeting on Monday to provide information and address concerns.

 

“One of our biggest issues is that the district did not seek any bids from any other companies nor seriously consider other options to provide this service,” said Wendal Milne, chair of the committee. “Without looking at the options, we cannot be assured we are getting the best deal possible for Sooke.”

 

“As more details of this proposed agreement come to light, there are more questions. The District of Sooke public relations material sent in the mail has no information on the costs of the 21-year agreement. New projected costs for the system in this deal for this year will be almost double what taxpayers were originally told in a statement of projected costs developed in 2006,” said Rick Kasper, former councillor for the District of Sooke, and former MLA for Malahat-Juan de Fuca. “There are just too many questions, and not enough benefits for the people of Sooke.”

 

“This deal has been hatching in the back rooms since 2009,” said Herb Haldane, councillor for the District of Sooke. “There were as many as 15-20 in camera meetings on this closed-shop deal.  Taxpayers were kept in the dark.”

 

Find out more

A growing number of District of Sooke residents are concerned. Anyone who wants more information on these and other concerns can come to a meeting to learn more about how this long-term agreement will impact Sooke residents. Date: Mon., May 30, Time: 7 p.m., Sooke Community Hall conference room.

 

What is an Alternate Approval Process?

The District of Sooke has initiated an Alternate Approval Process to determine electors’ response to this proposed agreement. The deadline to submit a response is 9 a.m., Monday June 27:

•    Sooke residents who are happy with the 21-year deal with Epcor don’t need to do anything.

•    Residents who do not approve of the deal are asked to fill in an Elector Response Form. If enough forms are submitted to the District by the Monday June 27 deadline, the District of Sooke Council cannot approve the agreement on their own. This will give them the choice to come up with a better option for Sooke, or they will need to hold a referendum if they want to continue with the 21-year agreement. At least 10 percent of eligible electors must submit forms to halt this process.