Mayoral Message: February 2024

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 – To begin this month’s mayoral message, I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to T’Sou-ke Nation Chief, Larry Underwood, and my appreciation to outgoing Chief Gordon Planes. The District and the T’Sou-ke Nation has a special relationship as friends, collaborators and

District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait

stewards of these lands on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish People that we are so proud to call home.

I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the support and kindness shown by many in the community for me and my family during the recent passing of my father. Your thoughts and care are very much appreciated.

With the timing of my father’s passing, I missed the previous Coffee with Council but eagerly anticipate hosting another opportunity for us to connect and engage in meaningful dialogue about the issues that matter most to you, the residents of Sooke.

Like many municipalities across the province, Sooke is navigating new provincial legislation. To help everyone understand the implications of these changes, the District has launched a new web page where you can find relevant information and updates.

One key aspect of this legislation, Bill 44 of the Local Government Act (LGA), pertains to public hearings for zoning bylaw amendments related to residential development. Where such amendments align with the Official Community Plan and deliver predominantly residential development, the province is prohibiting local governments from hosting public hearings.

At the February 12, 2024 Council meeting, Council discussed what this means for Sooke and how we best proceed to ensure residents voices are heard. Staff will be bringing a report to the February 26, 2024 Council meeting to share more information on this as we determine the next related steps for our community.

Another key aspect of Bill 44 is provincially regulated zoning for small-scale, multi-unit housing within the urban containment boundary and where there is connection the Regional District water service and the District’s sewer service. In short, this legislation means that 3 units are permitted on single-family or duplex lots less than 280 square metres and 4-units are permitted on single-family duplex lots greater than 280 square metres with water and sewer connections, unless otherwise exempt.

I can appreciate that this will raise a concern for many, in particular with the traffic challenges those commuting face. I recognize the frustrations you deal with daily, and I’m pleased to announce that representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will be attending our April 8th Council meeting to discuss ongoing and upcoming Highway 14 projects. Understanding the short-, medium-, and long-term solutions being considered will allow us to align our efforts more effectively as we work towards improving the quality of life for all residents.

Specific to local roads, the Church/Throup Roundabout is making steady progress, and the project remains on track for substantial completion this spring. Not only will this assist with vehicle traffic; the supporting pedestrian improvements are also considerable. When travelling in the area, you’ll notice a 4-metre multi-use trail emerging and vastly improved sightlines. This progress is the implementation of our Transportation Master Plan in Action!

If you have not yet looked at this plan, I encourage you to do so. The plan outlines the road standards we are working to build in Sooke. This is important as new developments come forward as it explains to the prospective developers, the frontage improvement we are asking for as part of their projects and investment in our community.

As the roundabout approaches its final stages, works on another transportation investment is beginning. Charters Road construction is underway!

In planning the timing of works with Charters Road, like the start of the Church/Throup Roundabout, a significant consideration is “the fisheries window.” This window is the time when work affecting streams reduces the risk to fish and fish habitats.

Best efforts are always made to minimize the impact on residents; however, other considerations come into effect with road projects that affect construction times. The fisheries window is one such consideration.

These capital works are a major component of the District’s five-year financial plan.

In updating our financial plan, Council is working towards the adoption of the 2024 Budget.

In November, Council received the What We Heard Budget Report. In December, we heard about an Asset Management program and what this might look like for Sooke. Next, Council will discuss a draft budget prepared by staff and provide direction on service levels. This public meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 28th at 2pm. A Budget Open House is anticipated to take place in March. Follow this conversation at

With your input laying the foundation of our budget development, we heard that transportation including the ability to safely walk or bike around Sooke, along with traffic planning, management and road maintenance is your number one priority. We also heard that other top priorities for residents are emergency response services (police and fire), parks and greenspaces (including care for the environment), health and wellness services, and overall community planning. I look forward to seeing how staff have captured your priorities currently in the draft budget and invite you to stay informed.

As with all public meetings, the meetings are live-streamed and doors are open for the public to attend. A recording of the meeting is also available on our website and YouTube channel. We host meetings at various times in hopes of reaching as many residents as possible. Of course, written correspondence is also welcome should you be unable to attend a public meeting.

If you are not yet already subscribed, sign up for our monthly e-newsletters as another great way to stay connected with District activities.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to our dedicated team, both on Council and among our staff, who have supported me through the challenges of the past month. Your unwavering commitment to serving our community are commendable.

I look forward to continuing progress on the many initiatives underway, fueled by a collective effort and spirit of collaboration, on our path to realizing Sooke’s potential.

Warm regards,

Mayor Maja Tait