• What's Been Happening?
    • Water Working Group
    • District Committees
    • Endangered Ecosystems Alliance
  • Land Use
    • TS responds to Sooke OCP
  • Carbon Calculations- making choices
    • Impacts of Growth
    • Municipal Climate Actions - How does Sooke Compare?
  • Affordability = Low Climate Standards?
  • Climate Heroes 
Photo: Susan Belford

Your November Newsletter

In the SENĆOŦEN language, November is W̱ESELÁMEW̱, meaning Falling Leaves. In nature, the streams fill, the salmon run, bears get fat and retire for the winter. The wind blows and the rain pelts and then the sun kisses everything. It slowly grows colder. People may spend time remembering, reflecting and planning cautiously for the year ahead. Here at Transition Sooke? Read on.

What's Been Happening? 
Transition members are engaged in many areas and many groups. For example...

Water Working Group

Transition Sooke’s Water Working Group members have stirred the pot with submissions to the Sooke PocketNews and the OPSRRA website. Next came an interview for the Black Press with a story that first appeared in the Goldstream News Gazette and then the Sooke News Mirror. Director Hicks was also interviewed.

The WWG will likely hold a ‘public’ meeting soon for further education and to test for willingness for action. They are also agitating for a well monitoring program which would provide baseline information on the water table.

Voices on District Committees

Transition Sooke members continue to sit on District of Sooke council committees as well as monitor regular Council meetings. Watchdog reports reporting on these can be found on the web page. Originally finishing their work at the end of this month, all District council committees have been extended to June 30, 2022. This makes sense as the new OCP, 7% Solution and Climate Action Plan all are to be implemented over coming months. Check the District Website for more information visit Consider joining a District of Sooke Committee

Endangered Ecosystems Alliance (EEA)

Not a Transition Sooke group, the EEA recently us a notice asking us to publish the fact that it is asking companies across the Province to support the protection of natural ecosystems in BC. Business owners should consider signing the resolution for the protection of our endangered ecosystems in BC. There is also a separate version for individuals.

TS responds to Sooke's Official Community Plan

TS drafted a response to the Draft OCP in October. To quote the opening statement:

"The IPCC has challenged the world to act boldly in meeting GHG reduction targets. That’s why the District of Sooke, the CRD, the province, and the nation must grasp the singular imperative to reduce GHGs and grow the natural carbon sink.
Rewriting Sooke’s OCP at this pivotal point in history, begs for bold, decisive directions in every aspect of our lives. I appreciate what a challenge it is for Dialog to write a new OCP when all the stakes have changed. The old approaches to land use and growth are no longer sustainable."

The full text of the Transition Sooke letter can be found at the link below.

The consultants, Dialog, will now take all the responses made during the most recent engagement period, and, in a few months, produce a final version, which, following public engagement, will then be discussed at Council and finally adopted.

Making Choices 
So, in order to achieve the IPCC recommended 50% reduction in tCO2e (tonnes co2 equivalent) by 2030, Sooke needs to drop its total tCO2e emissions by about 7% every year. But here's the problem...the construction of the new library used ~800 cubic metres of concrete. That translates to ~320 tCO2e released. The new sports box? 220 cubic metres or ~88 tCO2e release. A reduction target of 1,452 tCO2e emission is set by Sooke as part of its 7% Solution calculation for 2021. The additional 408 tCO2e from just these two projects represents 28% of Sooke’s 1,452 tCO2 emission reduction target. This shows how difficult a problem we're facing; every addition to the built environment requires at least equal cuts elsewhere just to stay even. Thanks to Gord Wallace for these figures.
Impacts of Growth
At a recent Committee of the Whole meeting, Climate Action Committee member Anna Russell gave a presentation reminding Council that the 7% solution only applies to reducing current emissions and does not impact emissions stemming from future growth. She stressed that if the current rate of growth continues, Sooke's greenhouse gas emissions will exceed the 2030 target. The graph above shows the difference in annual ghg emissions based on housing development and increased traffic.

District staff maintain that the measures in the new OCP concerning low carbon building standards will prevent these negative impacts.

The CAC has requested a climate action budget of $233,000 to hire professional staff to implement the 7 % solution, implement Sooke's Climate Action Plan Framework by conducting an accurate assessment of local emissions, creating a carbon budget, assessing climate risks and generating adaptation responses. This work will ensure climate targets are achieved. Council will discuss this and other financial needs at the District Council Budget meeting Nov. 1st at 6 pm.

Municipal Climate Actions-- How does Sooke compare?

Momentum is building for climate action at the municipal level. Locally, several municipalities in the CRD are unveiling plans.

Saanich decided to offer a plan for 300 ebike rebates this month--to immediate oversubscription. The rebates were income based, and ranged from $350 up to $1600.

Saanich has not only written paperwork that would suit any local municipality or district, they even have a worker helping people complete their forms. Truly, they have set the example for the CRD area. Saanich has and is following a climate action plan and has a staff person. Gord Wallace has discovered that the District of Saanich has allocated $22 per capita in their budget for climate. Given this funding, Sooke’s allocation for climate would generate $330,000.

Victoria has a range of resources for residents, including rebate top ups for heat pumps, electric vehicle chargers, electric service upgrades and CRD Group Purchasing. Most recently, the City has developed the Solar Rooftop Tool with support from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria to inform Victoria residents and businesses of their building’s potential to generate electricity using solar panels.

You can find out about it at:

Sooke has, with the help of the Climate Action Committee, come up with several plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • The 7% percent solution, as described in last month's newsletter, aims to remove about 3000 tons of carbon per year by retrofitting 200 homes a year away from fossil fuels and replacing about 200 internal combustion vehicles with EVs. The 7% solution will be buttressed by an engagement campaign, to encourage participation. It's important to remember that this initiative addresses a reduction of existing emissions, and doesn't do anything about emissions from new builds or additional vehicles on the road.  Use of existing rebates would be apply, but Sooke will not be adding a top-up.
  • To deal with new builds, the OCP lays out guidelines to use low or no carbon building materials and heat pumps. However these guidelines will not apply to some 1200 units currently going through the development process.
  • The CAC is building out a comprehensive Climate Action Framework
Climate Heroes: Have you begun to make climate changes? Can you be a resource for others?

Every now and then, we get mail asking for information about what individuals can do to combat climate change. For example, seeking help/consultation about  installing a greywater system.

Which brings up the question; what modifications have you made and would you be willing to talk to people about it? For instance, have you:
  • installed or had installed a greywater system of any type?
  • installed or had installed a rainwater harvesting system?
  • have you installed or had installed solar panels?
  • bought an electric car?
  • installed or had installed a home charging station for an electric car?
  • installed or had installed a heat pump?
  • installed or had installed a Trombe floor?
  • built with alternative materials?

If you're willing to be an initial contact person for someone asking questions about any of the above, drop a note back to the newsletter, and we'll keep a go-to list ready.

Photo: Susan Belford
Housing Affordability = Lower Climate Standards?

During a recent email exchange with BC Housing, Transition Sooke asked some questions about the new BC Housing affordable housing developments under construction in Sooke. 

Using Transition Sooke’s “Climate-First” approach (, we assessed the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the two buildings. The following are the key points :
  • When operational, the two buildings will produce 18.607 tonnes CO2 per year
  • No calculation is available of the GHGs from the construction process
  • No calculation is available on the loss of carbon sink for the two properties
  • The units in the two buildings will be heated with electric baseboard heaters (heat pumps would be far more efficient and much cheaper to run)
  • There is no air conditioning in the buildings (During the heat dome this past summer, residents in these building would have been subjected to a serious health threat)
  • The buildings will be constructed to Step Code 3
  • There are no passive or active solar or solar-ready features
  • There are no electric car charging stations
This is an example of how it is more expensive to be poor; baseboard heaters are cheaper to install, but more expensive to run. Choosing the 'cheaper to install' option increases residents' winter electrical bills and deprives them of air conditioning during a time when summers are getting hotter. This endangers their health. Developers building to build cost instead of operating cost is one of the problems facing the District of Sooke. 
Lions in the Park
The issue of development of John Phillips Park isn't going away. There's a new petition that can be found at:
Photo: Susan Belford

Requests for Information

Transition Sooke has received two requests for information this past month.
  • seeking help/consultation from anyone who had installed a greywater toilet system.
  • seeking advocacy for those unable to receive government service (such as EV charging rebates) due to incapacity to use online platforms. Gord Wallace has discovered that the District of Saanich has allocated $22 per capita in their budget for climate. Given this funding, Sooke’s allocation for climate would generate $330,000.

Your Opinion Matters!

Your letters and articles on climate change, development, and community resilience in the Sooke News Mirror and other publications keep important issues in the public eye. If you want to join one of Transition Sooke's Action Groups please contact us.  And if you have a photo you'd like to send the newsletter, a letter to the editor, or a piece of news, please forward that to us as well. Thank you!

Our Transition Sooke monthly meeting is on Wednesday November 3rd from 7-9 pm If you need the Zoom invite, contact Alan Dolan:

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