Tuesday, March 28, 2023 – What an exciting month, Sooke!
Starting with remarkable achievements from local athletes. Both youth soccer and hockey teams earned league, championship and tournament wins in recent days. Please join me in congratulating:
- Sooke Soccer Club: U15 Boys and U17 Girls Team; and
- Sooke Thunderbirds Hockey: U18 C, U13 C and U11 A Teams.
I’m also thrilled to recognize Wyatt Danyleyko who has signed a Western Hockey League Scholarship and Development Agreement with the Victoria Royals. Way to go, Wyatt!
I am in awe of the talented youth in our community and am grateful for this space to recognize their hard work, dedication, commitment and achievements in sports.
On the topic of sports, DeMamiel Creek Golf Course is now open; fore! Many thanks to the ground crews for getting it into tip-top shape for the season!
The sports box at Ravens Ridge Park is also in full spring swing with free drop-in from dawn to dusk; enjoy! Please see seaparc.ca for more information on golf and the sport box, including schedule updates.
With the need for more activities for youth and continued interest in this regard from our community (Parks and Trails Master Plan, 2020), amenities at Ravens Ridge are a current priority in the District’s 2023 Budget. Pending final consideration of the budget, such amenities may include an accessible viewing area with seating and picnic tables, accessible parking, bleachers, small multi-purpose grass playing field, 3 on 3 basketball court, and considerable landscaping.
Please note that the budget is still being refined and will be presented at the April 11, 2023 Regular Council meeting.
In addition to parks, other budget priorities include community safety, roads, and environmental services. A few highlights of how the district is responding in this regard include:
- Increased fire and police service delivery – working towards 24/7 coverage in both areas and reducing call response times
- Charters Road rebuild with multi-modal connections (see Transportation Master Plan, p. 16, 42, 62, 68)
- Church Road Roundabout (see Transportation Master Plan, p. 42)
- Little River Pedestrian Crossing (across DeMamiel Creek)
- Streetlight and transit stop improvements
- Invasive species removal in collaboration with the T’Sou-ke Nation
These investments are covered through a variety of funding sources including the Growing Communities Fund, grants, and fees and charges, in addition to property taxes. The residential tax portion in the district’s budget is approximately $1,500 per year per property (based on the average assessed house) – among the lowest in the region. The residential tax portion in the district’s budget is approximately $1,500 per year per property (based on the average assessed house) – among the lowest in the region. Certainly, service levels vary so it is not a direct comparison, but I often see misinformation on this topic so it is important to clarify.
The tentative residential tax change from 2022 to 2023 is an increase of approximately $100 or $8.33/month and will help us realize those projects mentioned previously in addition to continuing with core, legislated, District services.
Determining tax impacts is never easy; it requires difficult decisions. Everyone is facing cost pressures and your elected Council is looking to reduce the financial impact on residents while still responding to the needs of a growing community.
Given inflation, we’re hearing numerous municipalities are sitting at an increase that is costing households two-to-three times, even more, than what we are looking at in Sooke. I hope we’re finding the right balance for our community that sees us investing each dollar coming into the District wisely, and maximizing new funding programs and grants to enhance the quality of life for our citizens.
To stay informed about the District’s budget, please visit letstalk.sooke.ca/budget.
Last, and far from least, a new healthcare services are coming to Sooke!
My thanks to all who have been a part of this work since the forming of the Community Health Initiative, now Sooke Region Community Health Network, Island Health, the Ministry of Health and our MLA, John Horgan, who has helped Council advocate for this critical community need. With a funding commitment from the Province, an Integrated Health Care and Urgent and Primary Care Centre will be available to service Sooke and the Sooke Region. The anticipated facility opening is in 2025.
As always, plenty is happening with your local government and I invite you to stay informed.
Mayor Maja Tait