Well, at least one good thing came out of the sewer deal fiasco – Sooke residents now know who not to vote for. All of the current council, except for councillors Haldane and Berger, consistently supported the various sewer agreements, in spite of overwhelming community opposition.
This wasn’t just about the length of the term of the agreements. Community members pointed out repeatedly that there were issues with the original and subsequent sewer agreements. Concerns were raised about the ever increasing costs and the total lack of consideration of possible less expensive alternatives – and yet this council finally agreed to a five-year deal that cost more per year than any other existing or proposed agreement. Others raised the issue of public versus private operation yet council steadfastly refused to even talk about it. No matter what the concern or suggestion for improvement, most council members clearly didn’t want to hear about it.
I’ve always thought that those that we elect are there to represent the interests of all residents. To ensure that the elected officials are continuously in touch with the wishes of the electorate (not just at election time), and to enable them to access the full range of experiences and support that the electors can bring to each issue, public processes are built in at various stages. In fact, they are legally required in some instances, (the alternate approval process).
In my mind, any elected official who regularly ignores the opinions of the electorate, who goes out of their way to do the exact opposite is rude and dismissive to citizens who are trying to help out, has no business being in office and should never be re-elected.
Fortunately, there are people running for election who helped provide the opportunity for residents to express their opinions on the sewer agreement. They consistently offered suggestions and ideas for improving the sewer operations, and they listened and included others in the discussion. That’s the kind of people I want to represent me after the next election.