There are a number of important reasons not to enter into a wastewater management agreement with EPCOR, however, an overriding argument against this agreement is one of economic principle. The film “Economics of Happiness” recently shown by Awareness Video makes a compelling argument for ‘localization’ of the economy through minimizing the flow of money out of the community. When money is spent and re-spent within the local economy, the community becomes more economically sustainable and resilient to outside economic disruptions. It is especially important to use local public funds to contribute to the development of the local economy as much as possible.
With the EPCOR agreement, the profits earned flow out of our Sooke community ultimately enriching the City of Edmonton, EPCOR’s owner, one of the richest, most prosperous cities in Canada. This ‘leakage’ of funds would occur with any agreement reached with any non-local private sector company.
A standard argument made against this principle of localization is that EPCOR is hired for its expertise, experience and several other ‘soft’ benefits that they promote. One particular advantage is the ease of management for the municipal staff as when a problem occurs, they can simply pick up the phone and call EPCOR. However, all of these benefits can be achieved with ultimately better results for the Sooke economy by an alternative, local model of management. These alternatives, to be evaluated, include a municipal public works department, a community co-operative, a local nonprofit organization and a local private sector company, all of which would keep the public funds in the Sooke economy.
In addition to accepting the principle of ‘localizing our economy’ will be a willingness by the municipality and concerned citizens in Sooke to work together to develop the best local wastewater management organization for Sooke. The EPCOR agreement is a contentious issue. It will be important that we maintain a dispassionate, objective and civil discourse so that the community can come together to choose what is best for Sooke.
The Sooke region is an ideal area to become an ecologically and economically self-sustaining community, which will be essential in the turbulent times ahead. Localizing our wastewater management is one small but important step towards this vital objective.
Critical to the success of our wastewater system is the need to prevent any sewage leakages; let’s work together to develop a management system that prevents any economic leakages, which may not have the odour, but certainly damage the sustainability of our local economy.