Premier John Horgan, seen here announcing highway 14 improvements, has apparently tacitly supported the concept of extending water lines into North Sooke as part of the highway 14 projects. (Tim Collins / Sooke News Mirror)

Council pursues water line extension for north Sooke

Properties affected by Highway 14 project may see water service

The District of Sooke has taken the first steps toward advocating for an extension of water services to the property owners of north Sooke.

Staff drafted a Notice of Motion that recognized the impact of the Highway 14 expansion on the water supply of residents in North Sooke. That document advocated for the extension of CRD Water infrastructure to the area.

Council agreed to forward the document to both the Capital Region District Water Commission and the Juan de Fuca Water Distribution Service, calling for their support for the extension of water infrastructure to north Sooke in conjunction with the Highway 14 activity, announced by the province in late April.

The issue first arose in reaction to communication between the North Sooke Community Association, representing residents between Connie Road and Glinz Lake Road, and council.

RELATED: Highway 14 plans upset residents

Michael Hodgkinson, one of the homeowners who will be affected by the project said that his wells will be taken by the Transportation Ministry, and that although government representatives have assured him that he “will be made whole” through the drilling of new wells away from the highway project, he remained skeptical

“This is not the way this should have been done. They looked at our wells and it seemed like it wasn’t an important consideration,” said Hodgkinson in a March interview.

Mayor Maja Tait commented the council’s initiative was important to formalize the request and put it on the table for discussion.

“The need for water is not a new item. The issue has always been the cost of providing the service and now, with the highway project underway, it’s possible that funding might be made available,” said Tait.

“Given that the province has committed to drilling new wells for people in that area who are being affected by the highway development, and given that drilling wells is expensive in itself, they may find that this is a good time to fund this expansion (for water services).”

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks has discussed with Horgan about the concept of extending the water lines from where they now end at the Stickleback restaurant to Connie Road.

“It’s about a four-kilometre extension that would probably cost in the neighbourhood of $4 million,” said Hicks.

“When the premier made his announcement on the highway project in April, I asked him whether he would consider funding that water extension and, after listening to me, he said yes, they would consider it.”

In order for the water lines to be extended, Hicks said, two things have to happen.

“First, the Juan de Fuca Water Distribution Commission has to approve the concept, which I’m sure they would do. Secondly, someone has to pay for it,” Hicks said.

Hicks said that Ted Robbins, the general manager of the CRD’s Integrated Water Services, has already met with the Ministry of Transportation to develop a preliminary estimate for the water line extension and to discuss funding sources for the project.

“This is the beginning of this process,” said Tait.

“I’m sure there will be much more to come, but hopefully we can get this done.”

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