Official Community Plan (OCP) Review

Welcome to Picture Sooke – the largest and most important planning process currently being undertaken by the District of Sooke.  Picture Sooke is an Official Community Plan update.  An Official Community Plan – or OCP – is the most important tool in the municipality’s policy toolkit influencing the way a community grows and develops.  An OCP contains policies that dictate the way land is used, including for homes, shops, offices, industry, public institutions, and more.  An OCP also contains policies that dictate how land is developed, including the types and overall appearance of buildings and the spaces between them.

Why is this important? 

Land use and development influence our lived experiences every day, from the moment we start our day to the moment we end it.  They influence the types of homes we live in, and the types of destinations and amenities in our neighbourhoods.  They influence how we move around, including whether it’s easy and enjoyable to get around by foot, on bike or by transit, which in turn influences our personal health, and the health of our environment.  Land use and development influence our pocket books, including how much it costs us to pay for District services such as sewers and roads.  They influence public spaces and the look and feel of our neighbourhoods, which can play an important role in our sense of community, our ability to retain and attract businesses and residents, and our overall quality of life.  In short – land use and development are key ingredients that shape the identity and success of our community… and this OCP review offers an important and exciting opportunity to decide what this means in Sooke.

Have your say, and Picture Sooke with us!

Email any questions, comments or concerns regarding the OCP to

Check back frequently. More to come.


Date Time Location Agenda Minutes Notes
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:00 a.m. Electronic Meeting PDF Meeting open to public. To attend meeting, please email

Related links

Advisory Committee

On July 27, Mayor Tait announced the advisory committee. In announcing the committee, the District recognizes the remarkable contribution members are making to the community and in advance of additional opportunities thanks all who have and will be participating in this collaborative process. The committee (in alphabetical order) is:

  • Norman Amirault: Career firefighter with the Department of National Defence; former elected councillor with the town of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, where he also chaired the Public Works Dept. and served on the planning commission; former owner/operator of Belvista Retreat B&B in Sooke.
  • Terry Cristall: Former CEO of Number Ten Architectural Group with offices in Winnipeg & Victoria; extensive CV includes dozens of commercial, residential and institutional projects topped by the Winnipeg Convention Centre expansion; current board member with Harmony Project Sooke and trailblazing collaborator with the District and the JDF Community Trails Society for three new signed public pathways now in the works.
  • Steve Grundy: Newly retired as VP Academic and Provost at Royal Roads University while remaining a professor in its School of Environment & Sustainability; served with Sooke’s Economic Development Commission; ex-board member with the Sooke Chamber of Commerce; ex-chair of the Juan de Fuca Land Use Committee; Saseenos resident and mountain biking enthusiast.
  • Ellen Lewers: Local force of nature and super-engaged citizen who served on Sooke’s two previous OCP Steering Committees, chairing the 2008-10 edition; member of Sooke’s Board of Variance since its foundation in the early ’00s; former president of the Sooke Fall Fair; founding board member with Sooke Region Food CHI; owner/operator/grower-in-chief at Mrs. Lewers’ Farmhouse, among much else.
  • Linda MacMillan: Another much-respected #Sooke mover/shaker dating back to when she supervised the Sooke Cooperative Preschool in the 1980s; former board member with EMCS Society, Sooke Family Resource Society, Sooke Fine Arts Society, Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, the Classical Boating Society and the Chamber of Commerce; and first known to me and many as the Remax realtor (1992-2018) who shared an untold number of listings around town with her husband Bruce (who himself was on the 2001 OCP committee).
  • Siomonn Pulla: Academic and specialist in Indigenous rights, governance and language revitalization;  Program Head of the Doctor of Social Sciences program at Royal Roads; former senior research associate with the Conference Board of Canada; family man with three young children living in the town centre.
  • Helen RittsMarketing and communications professional who telecommutes from Sooke while focusing on sustainable buildings and infrastructure for such clients as Metro Vancouver, the CRD, the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University; former Marketing Director with Bing Thom Architects in Vancouver; smart growth champion for the town centre.

Councillor Al Beddows will be council’s non-voting appointee. Mayor Maja Tait will participate as is her ex-offico right with all District committees and commissions. Sooke’s Senior Planner Katherine Lesyshen and the DIALOG consultancy team led by Jennifer Fix will work closely with all of the above. Also part of the team are specialists with Sustainability Solutions GroupColliers InternationalWATT Consulting Group and, for the critical mapping sections of the OCP, Licker Geospatial Consulting.