December Mayoral Message: Budget Open House & the Return of Holiday Events

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 – I hope you are staying safe and well during this unprecedented weather. The District has sandbags available for residents at a self-serve station at the Parks Works Yard at 2070 Kaltasin Road should you need them. I appreciate the many residents who have taken advantage of the bags, who have assisted the District with clearing basins and are looking out for one another. It is wonderful to see our community come together time and time again.

With the weather looking more favourable in the coming days, it is my pleasure to join the community for the Sooke Santa Parade, hosted by the Sooke Lions, on Sunday, December 5th.   Many thanks to the volunteers who are making this year’s event possible. The parade will start at 5:00 p.m. and travel down Sooke Road from Sooke Elementary to Murray Road. Those driving are reminded that a detour (with traffic control) will be in effect from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. as the community enjoys this holiday tradition.

Another favourite community tradition is the Sooke Firefighters Santa Run. The Run starts at dusk on December 11th with Sooke Firefighters making their way throughout the community. Follow the trucks and find out when (approximately) they will be making their way to your neighbourhood at sooke.ca/santa. Those looking to participate can visit the District website to determine which of the four routes is the closest location for you. Then, listen for the music and look for the lights and sirens, and step outside to wave, cheer and sing a carol as “Santa” drives by!

Joining the Sooke Firefighters includes the District’s new Fire Chief, Ted Ruiter. Chief Ruiter joins us most recently from Fernie, British Columbia with 34 years of experience in the fire service.

Also new to the District team include two positions made possible thanks to successful grant applications. Ashlene Akatarian joins the District as our FireSmart Program Coordinator thanks to a Union of BC Municipalities FireSmart Program Grant and Maja Carolsfield joins the District as our Climate Action Coordinator thanks to a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Career Launcher Program Grant. Please stay tuned for more on these new District service areas.

During the last two years, we have obtained over $12 million in grant funding. Projects being delivered with these funds include the multi-use sports box as 2430 Sunriver (estimated to open Spring 2022), an active transportation corridor on Otter Point Road (substantial roadwork completion remains on track for December 2021), partial funding of the Church Road Corridor project, partial funding of the Church Road Roundabout Project (2022 project), and $4.6 million in funding for the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant (2021-2023 project).

Speaking of funding and the District’s budget, I am grateful for residents’ participation to inform Budget 2022. The community expressed priorities in the areas of local roads, implementation of the Transportation and Parks & Trails Master Plans, and Climate Action. The draft budget identifies a plan to support these areas and includes a residential property tax increase of approximately $100 per household per year, or $8.33 per month (based on the average assessed property). An increase in property taxes is never a decision made lightly. We are planning for the future of Sooke, and recent weather events remind us just our critical it is to invest in our infrastructure.

The District is looking to maximize several cost-saving opportunities before us with an expanded road paving program, an investment in climate action, the development of an Employment Lands Strategy, and several projects identified in the Transportation and Parks and Trails Master Plans, including a roundabout at Church Road and Throup Road, corridor design projects, and a master plan for Whiffin Spit. To learn more about the District’s budget, please visit letstalk.sooke.ca/budget or join us for the open house on December 1st from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at municipal hall. Our team has several interactive activities to support your learning on the District’s budget and we welcome your input. For those not able to attend in person, an information video is available on the District website and through our YouTube channel. Residents can ask questions at the open house, online through letstalk.sooke.ca/budget, by email at budget@sooke.ca or by phone at 250.642.1634.

With wastewater planning, residents of Kaltasin and Whiffin Spit can expect to receive some correspondence from the District shortly. Staff are engaging with residents in these particular neighbourhoods as feasibility for connections to support further restoration of the Sooke harbour and basin are examined. Staff will be asking affected residents to provide input through neighbourhood-specific surveys by January 10, 2022.

There is a lot happening in the District. As we continue our work, I invite you to subscribe to electronic notifications through the District website, email us at council@sooke.ca or telephone 250.642.1634. We would be pleased to hear from you!

It is an honour to serve as your Mayor, and I look forward to more opportunities to connect with you in the community.

Stay well Sooke.

Kindest regards,

Mayor Maja Tait

The District of Sooke is within the Coast Salish territory, on the lands of the T’Sou-ke First Nation.

Mayor Tait provides monthly statements highlighting current District of Sooke activities.

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