Letters: Address issue of sewer contract

Public works department for sewer may not be best for Sooke

Now that the civic elections are in full flight there seems to be no real contentious issues evolving.

Three years ago at this stage prior to elections the issue of a proposed 20-year contract for sewer maintenance and planning for future sewer expansion was the hot topic.

Mayor candidate Wendal Milne raised the issue challenging the intentions of the outgoing council who felt a long-term contract based on the track record of EPCOR earned their support for a long-term contract. Not so said Milne along with council members Herb Haldane and Bev Berger as well as council candidate Rick Kasper.

A public meeting was convened and it was there that the real reasons for their concerns was fully revealed. This was the political football that provided opportunity for negative campaigning by bashing the outgoing administration. There was lots of EPCOR bashing but seemingly only for being a company headquartered in Alberta. Interestingly Milne stated at least three times what a wonderful professional company they are, what a fine job they are doing. Even As the meeting unfolded it became evident that the council members present favoured the creation of a Public Works Department believing it would save money and that the requirement to operate the system could  just as easily be done in-house. These views are a complete change in direction from the current model of the last 10 years.

I reside in the sewer containment area and so far I’m happy with my tax bill and the service provided and challenge all of the political candidates to address this issue during the ongoing campaign especially candidates Berger, Haldane and Kasper.

The current sewer contract expires mid way through the fouryear term and addressing it should begin long before it expires to allow the time needed do a proper review and avoid the fiasco demonstrated with the current contract which did not get us the best deal possible.  The last contract with EPCOR excluded any provisions for planning of expansion and I believe there may be much interest for this provision in the future.  The issue of a possible publics works department concerns me as I don’t think anyone has any sense of the true financial cost, let alone the effect on the administration of more people and their responsibilities. Contracting out for professional services is a proven and appropriate way to do business.

These are my best recollections from three years ago and I only give a general overview.

A.E Davies

Sooke