Sooke council stands by JdF director

Issue is access to safe, clean drinking water in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area

Sooke Councillor Kerrie Reay

District of Sooke council stood by Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks in his stance against the Capital Regional District’s Regional Sustainability Strategy (RSS).

The CRD is currently intending to replace the Regional Growth Strategy with the RSS and in the document it states that municipalities can extend water to every corner of their boundaries, if they choose to, said Hicks.

What is at issue is that the JdFEA is not allowed the same privilege, and it does not get a vote. The JdFEA can extend water into their Rural Containment Areas but not beyond.

Hicks said the RSS will used to control density in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. Some are also calling for the elimination of the settlement areas of  East Sooke and Otter Point. In other words, they are using water to control density.

“We want to plead with our big sister to stand up for her neighbours,” said Hicks. “We used to be one and we share so many things.”

Councillor Kerrie Reay brought forward a Notice of Motion at the May 25 District of Sooke council meeting, which in part said, “WHEREAS on February 15, 2015 the District of Sooke endorsed a resolution that recognizes that a healthy environment is inextricably linked to the well being of a community and endorsed a Declaration of the Right  of a Healthy Environment including, among other things, the right to clean water in the District of Sooke…”

The mayor will be writing a letter advising the CRD that it does not support the proposed Regional Sustainability Strategy that deprives individuals and families living in the JdFEA the opportunity to access safe, clean drinking water.

“If you do this, it is not a small thing and if the CRD continues to push, we will go to arbitration,” said Hicks. Hicks said the District  of Sooke will get pressure from the CRD and he hoped they would stand strong with the JdFEA.

Every municipality in the CRD votes on the RSS  and the RSS will not pass if there is one dissenting vote.

Hicks stated earlier that if the RSS was passed he would challenge it in court. He said the JDFEA was being discriminated against as he could not even vote on an issue which affected households in  the Juan de Fuca.

Environmentalist Vicky Husband, along with others, spoke at the CRD Committee of the Whole meeting in April and stated that piped water should not be extended and that growth should be kept compact. This included the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.

The RSS will come before the CRD Board on Wednesday, May 27.