Wednesday, December 2, 2020 – The world continues to transform as we hold strong in our fight against COVID-19. As cases climb, we must remain steadfast in our approach against the virus and continue to follow the direction of public health. Dr. Bonnie Henry has ordered a pause on social gatherings to help keep communities in BC safe.
As a community, Sooke must stay connected: connected in our approach to following the direction from public health and connected through opportunities. Sooke has an opportunity to demonstrate the strength and depth of our resiliency by looking out for each-other, supporting our local businesses, contributing to the Sooke Christmas Bureau for those who are able to do so, and letting people know that resources – such as the Sooke Food Bank – are available for those needing such supports. We are in this together.
Our combined efforts are illuminated by the holiday lights that are brightening the spirit of many throughout the community. The elves made their way back to Whiffen Spit and the decorations that don a community tree have magically appeared. The Sooke Firefighters are also volunteering their time to make their way to numerous neighbourhoods in the community spreading holiday cheer during the Sooke Santa Run on December 12th.
As we all adapt to a new way of daily life, the District is operating in a new way – too.
Council is meeting exclusively virtually through to year-end. Some say “you are on mute” might capture 2020 well. Yes – we are human, and this may certainly be the case from time-to-time and yes, there has been a learning curve associated with this approach. I am thankful for the efforts of council to adapt through these times. I am also thankful to staff for their innovation in finding creative ways to stay engaged with the community through our important OCP review. Some parents may have a spectacular drawing of how their children Picture Sooke coming home with their report cards.
I invite you to stay connected with the District through our website (sooke.ca). This district is a hive of activity and during these times where our in-person engagement is not possible, I invite you to visit the website and ask questions of staff. The District of Sooke team is here to assist.
An important conversation underway right now is that of the 2021 budget. If you are interested in gaining an understanding of services received for your tax dollars, I strongly encourage you to join the conversation. Subscribe to receive notifications on budget discussions through the District website (Online Services > Subscribe). I also invite you to use the property tax calculator available through the District website (Online Services > Property Tax Calculator) to understand how your taxes are used. On December 8th, staff will be facilitating a virtual open house for residents to have their budget questions answered. For those who are not able to watch live, please note the recording will be available on the District website (sooke.ca/budget) and YouTube channel after the event.
District staff are working with the Ministry of Transportation to extend sidewalks along West Coast Road. Through our Transportation and Parks & Trails Master Plans you will see many more initiatives taking shape. On November 23, 2020 council awarded the design of the Church Road Roundabout and Church Road at Highway 14 Intersection projects to McElhanney Ltd. As more information on this project becomes available, I will keep you informed.
As we enter the holiday season, looking and perhaps feeling much different than is familiar I hope you can take a moment to pause, breathe and feel the warmth of the community surrounding you. Please also note that the District of Sooke Municipal Hall will be closed from December 25, 2020 through to January 1, 2021.
On behalf of the District council and staff, thank you Sooke for responding during a challenging year. Thank you for looking out and taking care of one another. From the District team to our valued community, wishing you and yours happy holidays.
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 will continue to provide monthly statements highlighting current District of Sooke activities.