Monthly Mayoral Message: March

Friday, March 25, 2022 – As we turn the page on the pandemic, our hearts are heavy with activity overseas. The Ukrainian Flag is flying at the District’s municipal hall as we stand in solidarity with all who are impacted by the current event. Those wishing looking for how best to help may reach out to make a donation through the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal or consider lending a hand with the Grouse Nest Ukranian Safe Haven project.

Local residents, Brian and Sharon Holowaychuk, are working with the community to provide over 100 Ukrainian refugees with a safe and peaceful place to call home. To learn more about their project and how you can be involved, please visit https://www.ukrainiansafehaven.org/.

Another current topic in the community is traffic. Many residents have been dealing with long commutes. I understand your frustrations and the impact the extended travel time is having on you and your families.  The district is working with numerous stakeholders to help solve this problem including the province (e.g. light timing, advocating for funding for Small River (Pedestrian) Crossing – over Demamiel Creek) and School District 62.

I am pleased to share that the forcemain construction for Charters Road remains on schedule, in fact reopening slightly sooner than anticipated – the road will be back open to a single lane later today. Signage remains in place directing northbound vehicles to yield to ongoing southbound traffic. This traffic flow pattern will remain until repairs can be completed in full. Design for this work is approaching 90% and the district is continuing to work with the province to secure potential funding.

Development and growth in Sooke certainly go hand-in-hand with transportation infrastructure. Most of our transportation systems are built to rural standards and bringing corridors up to urban standards takes time and resources. One of the resource tools is Development Cost Charges (DCCs) or funds that are collected from developers to contribute to the costs of infrastructure required to service new growth in the community.

DCCs are regulated through the Local Government Act and are an important tool for local governments to sustainably facilitate and finance development in their community. Updates have been made to the District’s DCC Bylaw, which is currently with the province for approval. Once approval from the province is received, the bylaw will return to Council for final reading and adoption – this is anticipated later this year.

Last Friday, the District met an exciting milestone with the opening of the Stickleback Dog Park. This long-anticipated community amenity is a welcome asset, providing a wonderful opportunity for residents to connect – along with their four-legged friends! A grand opening celebration will take place this summer, after the installation of a gazebo and additional dog agility equipment. Please stay tuned for details.

Another exciting milestone on the horizon is the opening of the sports box in Sunriver. The soft opening of the facility is anticipated in May and a grand opening event is being planned in June. Weather delays are impacting the timing of the floor pour for the facility which is now scheduled for Wednesday, April 6 (again – weather permitting).

Speaking of key dates please mark your calendars for several upcoming events:

Stay tuned for a new date for the Sooke Library Grand Opening event, which has been delayed due to the current labour action.

Additionally, the District is preparing another open house specific to the Official Community Plan. Council is keen to continue to consult with residents as we enter the final stages in preparing this document which guides land use in Sooke for the next ten years.

Council’s discussion with the community on the draft OCP is the next phase in the plan development after the OCP Advisory Committee completed their work over the last 18 months. I would like to extend my appreciation to the committee for their efforts in bringing the draft plan to its current state and acknowledge the work of this team: Helen Ritts (chair), Norman Amirault, Councillor Al Beddows, Terry Cristall, Steve Grundy, Ellen Lewers, Linda MacMillan and Siomonn Pulla.

The date of the OCP Open House has not yet been finalized; however, the district will communicate this information once available. Please connect with us on the draft plan. As a critical guiding document for the district, it is extremely important we hear your concerns, and understand where there may be trade-offs to help us realize our community vision.

I will continue to keep you informed on district activities and invite you to subscribe to the district’s monthly newsletter as a great way to stay connected or call us at 250.642.1634.

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.

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