At the regular District of Sooke council meeting on January 27 the following items were dealt with on the agenda:
A Development Variance Permit was granted for 2680 Otter Point Road to allow the property owner to subdivide and create another lot which would use well water rather than piped water from the CRD.
The decision had been postponed from the January 6 meeting to allow for further information, such as a well report, from the applicant.
Neighbours had come forward stating their wells were being affected and they had to purchase potable water because of lack of water due to too many people tapping into the aquifer.
At issue as well is the statement made by a neighbour that CRD has been promising connection to piped water for years and nothing has happened meaning people had to purchase potable water. R. Low mentioned the low snowpack, less rainfall and diminishing water in the Sooke reservoir as indicators of a potential drought situation in 2014.
“There is a way around it,” said Low, “get CRD to put a line out there.”
He said people are considering deferring their taxes until water is piped out there. He felt a variance would negatively affect the neighbors.
Other issues of runoff into a surface well were brought up.
Councillor Herb Haldane stated that property owners are “entitled to use water on their own property as they see fit” and said council will run into inherent property rights.
“Once you own property for five years you can subdivide for a family member. I haven’t seen anything that says they (neighbours) are on the same aquifer.”
Coun. Bev Berger said any new surface well would have to meet today’s standards.
“There is a fundamental problem with lack of CRD water,” she said.
Council voted to issue the variance permit, with Councillors Rick Kasper and Maja Tait opposed.
Kasper stated that the bylaw needed to be revisited and he would not support the motion.
The district has renewed agreements with contractors for maintenance and landscaping of trails, public spaces and washrooms in Sooke. Previously the contracts were held by one company but in 2011 the services were separated and contracted out to several small contractors. The contracts will be for a one-year term and Request for Proposals (RFP) will be accepted at the end of 2014 to ensure other small businesses in Sooke can compete for a three-year contract. The total value of all the contracts in 2011 was $149,420.
Appointment of Election Officials:
Council appointed Thomas F. Moore as Chief Election Officer and Bonnie Sprinkling as Deputy Chief Election Officer for the 2014 general municipal election.
Community Grant Program:
Council discussed the Community Grant Program and comments were made on dropping the monetary limit for Category B grants from the $10,000 limit as some requests were reaching that threshold. During 2013 the district awarded $212,991 in grants. Four grants in Category C (Fee for Service) were awarded with a dollar value of $92,513; 22 grants in Category B $61,086; and 12 grants in Category A $59,392.