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Inside
OCP: Attend the Public Hearing
All-Candidates' Meeting

Home with DOS and T'Sou-ke Nation
Repair Café
Craft & Art Supplies Swap
Transition Sooke Takes a Stand
Solar Garden Project
New Community Park
Upcoming Events
Volunteers Needed
Your Opinion Matters
Photo: Alan Dolan
Your September Newsletter
 
If you think things got hot this summer, wait until you watch the municipal elections unfold in Sooke this fall! A total of 23 candidates for Council and four for Mayor. Whew.

Second Reminder!
Transition Sooke Regular Monthly meetings are now on the second Wednesday of the Month

Next meeting Wednesday October 12

OCP: Please Attend the Public Hearing on Sept 27!
 
The Official Community Plan (OCP) was given second reading by Sooke Council on September 8 and now members of the public have an opportunity to say what they think at a formal public hearing on September 27 in the Council Chambers. Interest is likely to be high, so the hearing may last several nights.
 
There has been a powerful backlash from the development community and recently from right-wing leaning community members linked to the Peoples' Party of Canada who want to remove many of the environmental and climate features in the OCP.
 
Transition Sooke strongly encourages members of the public to come out in force and tell Mayor and Council what you think. While the OCP is far from perfect, we believe it should be supported and passed.

Transition Sooke researcher Susan Belford provides this analysis:

Acknowledging that “the global climate emergency is our top priority and the urgency to become a net-zero carbon emission community by 2050 must influence how we plan our community," the new draft Official Community Plan is Sooke’s best chance to secure the liveability and sustainability of our community, including more parks, sidewalks, trails, bike paths, increased transit and buildings constructed to a standard that makes them more resilient to a changing climate.

The document is carefully written to fit with Sooke’s developing Climate Action Plan as well as the existing Community Economic Development Strategy, and the Parks and Trails and Transportation Master Plans. Adoption of the BC Step code with accelerated timelines will ensure that new builds will achieve step 5 by 2025.

It’s by no means a perfect document. For example, densities in the community residential zone are higher than many would like, and the whole document accepts higher population growth than many judge to be appropriate. Also, edits made over the summer have removed the directive to select building products that are non-toxic and low in embodied carbon emissions, although the requirement that building materials be locally sourced remains. These types of challenges in the document can be managed by an amendment to restore them after the document is passed.

The current agenda package includes a “Companion Document” — a draft of the OCP with the changes tracked. It would probably be a good idea for people to familiarize themselves with this document.

Even with its flaws, failure to pass the draft OCP will set all the above-mentioned planning back several years and prevent our community from attaining the resilience it needs to endure the demands of a changing climate. The lack of a new plan will leave Sooke open to continued careless, habitat destroying, heat-island creating development.

All-Candidates' Meeting with a Twist: Speed, Meet and Greet
 
Mark your calendar for Sunday October 2, 2 – 6 pm upstairs at the Sooke Community Hall for Transition Sooke's municipal all-candidates' meeting. The unique format gives voters an opportunity to ask face-to-face questions of different candidates.

Here's how it works. Drop in any time. Each candidate sits at a small table and several participants can join them and ask questions. After 10 minutes, a gong sounds and members of the public move to a new table. Organizer Bernie Klassen calls it a kind of "speed rating."
 
For more information, contact us




Public Invited to Attend “Home”
 
On Sunday, September 18 from 10 am to 2 pm at Edward Milne Community School, the public is invited to attend Home – an event honouring the shared health, well-being and connection to the ecosystem as one community of T’Sou-ke and Sooke on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish Peoples.

“Home is not limited to the house. It encompasses one’s entire traditional territory,” said T’Sou-ke Nation Chief, Gordon Planes. “Recognizing the natural environment, including where our food and water comes from, where ceremony takes place, the spaces where children play and where ancestors lay to rest, home is so much more than one’s house.”

The September 18 event will provide time and space to acknowledge the traditional territory on which our communities reside and work to facilitate a stronger connection to the history of the lands.

“Through peace, friendship and opportunities like this event to come together, we can share knowledge, ideas and learning to help us grow together as stewards of the lands for generations to come,” Planes shared.

“This event is an opportunity to listen, learn and honour a perspective of home that is more than a single structure,” Mayor Maja Tait said. “While the event is one day, it is a day to celebrate our friendship and communities on the traditional territories of the T’Souke and Sc’ianew Peoples – and it is a day that will help guide us in our commitment to the process of truth and reconciliation.”

For more information, see: https://sooke.ca/events/event/home/
Repair Café: Diversion from the Dump
 
Zero-Waste Sooke will hold another Repair Café on October 16 from 10 am to 2 pm in the large meeting room at the library.

This is always a very popular event. Bring your broken appliances, toys, and anything else and maybe somebody can give them a new lease on life.
 
Fixers always needed. Contact Bernie

photos: Google Images
Photo: Alan Dolan

Transition Sooke Takes a Stand on John Phillips Memorial Park
 
At its regular monthly meeting on September 14, Transition Sooke passed the following motion, put forward by William Gord Wallace:

Move that Transition Sooke support keeping John Philips Memorial Park as an open green space and public park area, free of buildings and parking lots."

Some of the reasons for the decision include:

1. The area around the park has already seen substantial growth. The park is very important for people of all ages to walk, bike, picnic, sit, run, in an ecologically protected area.
 
2. The proposed Official Community Plan directs future growth into the town centre core and this is the only large park in the town core.
 
3. The objection to such a building in the park is in no way a comment on the goal of the Lions Club, only the belief that it is the wrong location.
 
4. Sooke's Parks and Trails Master Plan 2020 stated that a Master Plan for JPMP should be undertaken with full public engagement. This has not been done. 
 
5. The previous public consultation was held during the height of the COVID pandemic with little effort by the DOS to inform residents of the issue. Over 1,000 votes were received in opposition to the project, falling less than 100 votes short of defeating the project.
 
6. In February 2021, the District conducted an online survey of facilities and amenities residents would like to see added to the park as part of a planning process. The results of the survey, which were obtained under a FOI request, overwhelmingly supported green and nature park development with trees, landscaping, benches, picnic tables and a children’s playground as the top priority for residents.  
 
7.  The value of green fields in cooling the urban environment has been firmly established.  Adding large buildings and parking areas will increase our urban temperatures at a time when temperature extremes are seen more often.
 
8. The whole lower park area floods during extreme rainfall. The ability of the park to absorb water is diminished with paving and rooftops and the same roof tops and paved areas exacerbate flooding. 
 
9.  The park is home to 83 species of animals and amphibians.  The effect of nearby buildings on the pond, hedgerows and wildlife has not been assessed. 

10. John Phillips Memorial Park was purchased by the residents of Sooke with their tax dollars. The 100-year lease of the parkland to the Lions and the subsequent construction of the building and parking lot requires that the District declare, through bylaw, that the portion of the park used by the Lions is surplus to residents’ needs.
 
11. The most recent planning initiative for the park was conducted in 2005/6.  This conceptual plan was endorsed by subsequent councils.  The 2005/6 plan does not contemplate a roofed structure or large parking area in the park.  
 
12. It’s a public park and by allowing a private organization to build a privately operated facility sets a precedent that can become troublesome for the District.

 
Stock Photo
Reminder: Support the Solar Garden Project
 
The EMCS Community School is raising funds to purchase a Solar System for use in the school’s garden.  The EMCS Community School Society is collecting donations for the Solar Garden Project. We hope to raise $5,000 to purchase the components and Shift Energy has volunteered to coordinate the installation. Transition Sooke members experienced in Solar have agreed to help develop various student training programs using the system.

To Donate:
     1.  At the EMCS website, click MORE, then FUND THE EMCS SOCIETY, choose GARDEN PROJECT and  write "SOLAR GARDEN" in the private message.
      2. By credit card: Phone EMCS at 250-642-6371

      3. Drop off cheque or money at EMCS Society Office
 
Tax receipts are issued for donations over $25
The students thank you

New Community Park Land Acquired for Juan de Fuca Electoral Area
 
Capital Regional District (CRD) Board has approved the purchase of 23.5 hectares of land in Otter Point as a new Juan de Fuca Electoral Area community park.

The property has been identified as a prime candidate for purchase as a community park for over 10 years as it has significant stands of timber, including several trees that would be considered “old growth," and many secluded wetlands. It represents one of the last available undeveloped large acreage lots in Otter Point.

When this property was listed for sale, community members made requests to the CRD Regional Parks Committee to acquire the property. While the land did not meet the necessary criteria for regional park acquisition, it was determined to be well-suited as a community park.

The Admiral’s Forest property was purchased for $650,000 which was funded through over $130,000 in donations from The Land Conservancy (TLC) and individuals living in the Otter Point neighbourhood as well as the Juan de Fuca Community Parks Service.
UPCOMING TRANSITION SOOKE EVENTS

Sept 18 Zero-Waste Sooke Craft & Art Supplies Swap Sooke Library 12 – 4 pm
Oct 2  Municipal Candidates Speed Meet and Greet; Community Hall 2 – 6 pm
Oct 16 Repair Café Community Hall
 
MONTHLY TRANSITION SOOKE MEETINGS
All meetings  6:45-8:45 "hybrid "(Zoom at home or Sooke library)
  • Wednesday Oct 12     
  • Wednesday Nov 9
  • Wednesday Dec 14
If you need the Zoom invite, contact Alan Dolan
 

Transition Sooke is always open for people to participate.  We specifically welcome people to fill the following roles:
  • Note-takers for monthly meetings
  • Watchdoggers to keep us informed about meetings at Sooke Council
  • Helpers at our Transition Sooke information tables
  • Volunteers at events
Your Opinion Matters!
 
Your letters and articles on climate change, development, and community resilience in the Sooke News Mirror 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!
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