Issues of concern

A very warm welcome to the Banana Republic of Sooke. You may well ask, why?On December 7, 2010, council was presented with two bids submitted for the construction of the boat launch adjoining the Prestige Hotel and related work. Only the two tendered amounts for the work under the Request for Proposal were read outloud and subsequently after a brief discussion the tender of Heavy Metal Marine was accepted by council.Approximately two months later in early February, through Freedom of Information requests and media publication, the submission by HMM became known to the voter/ratepayer of Sooke and council. Obfuscation, opaqueness, the secrecy bred in by in-camera thinking and acting became clear. Under ‘submissions’ 4.5 the three paragraphs on page 8 are particularly telling.The first paragraph clearly describes work that has already been undertaken or in progress for the project to date.The second paragraph states clearly the work carried out to date (Dec. 7, 2010) the cost being $188,445.44. If HMM were not selected as the preferred proponent, they would be resolute in seeking payment for this work.The third paragraph the sum of $203,602 is quoted as outstanding for the Macgregor Park  boardwalk project, where HMM would be willing to defer compensation (‘as mutually agreed-’ by whom?) in the event of HMM being selected as the preferred proponent.The Feb. 16, 2011 issue of the Sooke News Mirror had a lengthy front page article stating the contract award was valid and not tainted in any way. The Times Colonist article of Feb. 13, 2011 also has an interesting comment by Mrs. Evans: “If we were allowed to sole source through the Community Charter, we would have probably given it to him because he was on site and has done good work for us before.” A strange statement considering HMM purportedly has never performed work for the district before. I find it quite amazing that HMM would donate, out of an approx. cost of $1.3 million for that section of the boardwalk,                                                                                                                                       a plus/minus 15 per cent estimated profit to Mariners’ Village. So where does the passage “as mututally agreed” come in, by whom and when, which is particularly disturbing.But the really worrisome aspect is the charge of $188,445 for work performed prior to the issuance of the RFP and up to Dec. 7, 2010. Who authorized this work? The question remains open how prejudicial the work prior to the December date was in the award of the contract. Federal, provincial conditions of the grant are that the contract process be competitive, fair and transparent.Further continuous reference is given to the “in-kind” contribution from Prestige Hotels. It is time that the voters/ratepayers get an explanation how this contribution is broken down. This does not affect the $200,000 under the agreement between the district and Prestige, As a parting thought, I would like to mention the restrictive covenant of Dec. 2, 2009. with regard to the three-metre foreshore, as acquired apparently by the District of Sooke without the knowledge of the voters/ratepayers. In this covenant the district will restrict public access to the covenant area and hereby authorizes Prestige, on its behalf, to install barricades or gates so that the public cannot access or use the covenant area. Mr. Parliament states the area could be cordoned off when private events were taking place at the hotel. Get a load of that. There are other items of concern, as the Jan. 24, 2011 formal announccement of proposed gag regulations for both council and members of the public by Mrs. Evans. Truly an astounding statement.There are but a few of the notewrothy items that have happened in the District of Sooke of late.Fred von IlbergSooke

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