Monthly Mayoral Message: Diversifying housing & developing sidewalks: ongoing progress

Friday, March 5, 2021 – Two new housing projects are on the way to Sooke that will provide 75 affordable rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes, along with 33 supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in the community.

I am grateful to BC Housing, M’akola Housing, the Sooke Shelter Society and the many other agencies, who are working in collaboration and coordination to support our community to have access to affordable and supportive housing. I would like to once again recognize and thank these agencies for the tremendous resources they have put into these projects.

Residents might not be aware that in 2019, the province made Housing Needs Reporting a requirement through The Local Government Act. Communities in BC are required to report on current and projected housing needs and collect specific data about current and project population, household income, significant economic sectors, and the currently available and anticipated housing units. The projections must look at least five years forward and be updated every five years.

The action and development we are seeing are responsive to the identified limited housing diversity across the housing continuum as captured in the Housing Needs Report. Please anticipate further updates as we continue to respond to the identified housing needs.

In addition to the housing contributions, BC Housing has made a significant contribution to the District’s road improvement program. The intersection at Charters will be upgraded to a signal light, that will enable vehicles to turn left from Charters onto Sooke Road. Charters itself will be fully upgraded as well and include a sidewalk.

At the same time, with developer contributions and endorsement of a grant application, the District is planning for considerable road improvements from Phillips to Throup to Grant Road.

This will alleviate the congestion on Sooke Road and provide a safer connection for pedestrians and cyclists.

The District is advocating for a positive outcome to our grant application, and once further details are available, including a construction timeline, I will keep you informed.

Also on the transportation corridor front, the sidewalk from the town core to Ed Macgregor park is nearing completion. This sidewalk is a step forward as the District works to develop safe, connected walking and cycling infrastructure in the community. Implementation of the Transportation Master Plan is a significant component of long-term planning and I am pleased to share the meaningful progress being made in this area. Please also stay tuned for updates on the Church Road Corridor Project and Otter Point Road Corridor Active Transportation Projects. I am hoping to have significant updates on these items in the coming weeks.

As we look ahead and plan for the future, I invite you to participate in the Official Community Plan (OCP) Growth Scenario Survey which is available today, until April 2nd. Please visit picturesooke.ca to participate in the digital surveys, participate in the print survey delivered via the Sooke News Mirror on March 11th, and keep an eye out for sounding boards popping up throughout the community to participate there as well.

Sooke’s OCP guides land use and development in our community. All municipal policies, plans and regulations are to align with the OCP so it is important to have residents and businesses join the conversation. I invite you to tell your friends and share the website (picturesooke.ca) with your networks. The data collected through this consultation will be combined with other data, such as the housing needs report, to revise the current Official Community Plan. Opportunities to review the draft OCP bylaw will be available this summer.

Council and District staff are working hard to manage long-term growth in Sooke while enhancing community identity, vitality, and safety. Of course, housing and transportation are substantial components of doing so. Another critical piece is how we, as a community, stay connected. While the pandemic has presented challenges, we are learning and evolving to build our capacity and deploy new means for residents to connect with District operations.

The District has several citizen committees that represent different areas of interest. It is the role of District Committees to provide advice to Council and recommend initiatives to assist the District in working towards its strategic planning goals. Current committees include Climate Action, Community Economic Development, Land Use & Development, Official Community Plan Advisory and Sooke Program of the Arts. This allows keen citizen involvement and with all committees open to the public, the District has recently made the option available for those interested to subscribe to receive meeting notifications including agendas and minutes. To learn more about how you can receive notifications and join the public meetings, please visit sooke.ca/committees.

For residents who have limited computer access, please reach out to District staff by phoning 250.642.1634. They are happy to assist you with your queries.

As we continue to find new ways to ensure we stay connected while remaining physically distant, I want to thank Sooke for your kindness and care that you continue to show to each other.

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 and Sc’ianew (Cheanuh) First Nations. The word T’Sou-ke is the name of the Stickleback fish found in the estuary of the Sooke River in the SENCOTEN language of the T’Sou-ke Nation. The anglicized name of T’Sou-ke is Sooke.

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

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