SOOKE – Current Local News


SOOKE STUFF TO NOTE [more events and details on EVENTS page] :





BC Premier John Horgan

Friday, November 17 ~ LANGFORD/SOOKE.  BC Premier John Horgan — MLA for the Langford-Juan de Fuca area through which Highway 14 (Hwy14/Sooke Road) runs, has told Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) staff to go back to the drawing board.

Horgan has recently reviewed a long-awaited report intended to improve driving and safety conditions on the winding, through-the-hills provincial highway that connects Sooke and westerly beyond to the rest of Greater Victoria. The Premier has asked for more details and options, to work harder on finding a solution, it was learned from government officials on November 17.

The first draft apparently has some “good projects” within it, but “not sufficient scale that the MLA wants”. While this delays the timeline for seeing improvements on Hwy 14, it will likely come as good news to Sooke residents, commuters, and the regional tourism industry because it means the Premier (who is directly familiar with details of the road) is watching out for his constituents and the region, toward a better result. It also makes sense to use taxpayers’ dollars wisely, and if the improvements will leave some things undone, then it’s prudent to further develop some meaningful improvements.

Highway 14 heading west to Sooke [West Shore Voice News photo, Summer 2017]

Apart from a short 4-lane stretch from the West Shore Parkway intersection west toward Sooke, Hwy 14 (Sooke Road) is single-lane. Until a person has driven it many times, for various reasons including road line (some tight angles), sight lines (especially with headlights from oncoming night traffic), lack of lighting and no opportunity for passing, the road presents a challenging drive. Even for seasoned drivers of the Sooke Road, at night and/or in inclement weather, it’s still a drive that could be considered difficult and risky.

Premier Horgan has asked senior officials to engage in a very focussed consultative process with an informal regional group of business people (that sometimes refers to itself as the Sooke Economic Development Commission) who focus on Hwy 14 issues and also Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.

District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait addressed UBCM delegates in Vancouver (Sept 2017) ~ Photo credit: UBCM

Mayor Tait was been awaiting the transportation report along with everyone else. Today she said: “Premier Horgan as our MLA is well aware of needed improvements to Hwy 14, and while MOTI staff have worked to have the draft completed, I’m grateful that our MLA  and Premier is taking the time to ensure the study fully captures the necessary improvements for the safety of our residents and visitors.”

City of Langford Mayor Stew Young [West Shore Voice News photo]

Langford Mayor Stew Young sees opening up the Sooke region as a benefit to regional economic development. Regarding the now further delay of the MOTI plan for improving Hwy 14, Mayor Young said today: “I am hopeful the provincial government will keep the solution to Hwy 14 and the E&N corridor into Victoria as high priorities”. “I will be reaching out to Transportation Minister Trevena to see what opportunities we have to find a solution for Westshore and Sooke residents,” he said.

In recent years some improvements have included wider shoulders including bike lanes in some stretches, as well as the roundabout in Sooke town centre. Otherwise, there remain several sections that obviously require left-turn lanes for improved safety (such as at 17 Mile House, and at Manzer Rd) and improved lighting all along the highway — Sooke to Langford — that would produce immense improvements in safe use of the road for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

And here’s what MOTI had to say about their rejected report today: “BC is working hard to build roads and highways that support growing communities and help encourage economic development across the province. For Hwy 14, we want to make the corridor between Langford and Sooke as safe and as accessible as possible – not just for people in cars, but for people who take transit and people who bike and walk.”

The ministry also says that it focused the corridor study on safety upgrades “because people who frequently travel the route told us they were concerned about reliability and wanted to see it closed less frequently.”  Apparently the study also looked at ways to promote greater transit use, and how to encourage more cycling over the short and medium timeframe. “The initial findings identify several safety and transit improvements that could be implemented over the next year or two in addition to the work that is already underway,” said a statement by MOTI.

New lines were painted on Hwy 14 in summer 2015 [West Shore Voice News photo]

And now they have heard from Premier Horgan that the review “doesn’t go far enough to improve mobility along this corridor and to meet the demands of the increasing population, as more and more people make their homes and establish their businesses in the Sooke area.” It’s clear that authors of the report either don’t drive Hwy 14 themselves or did not consult with Sooke-area businesses, community leaders or daily commuters who could have identified very specific needs.

“The ministry is going to take the report a step further, looking at ways to make travel along this route more reliable and to increase mobility, such as adding future passing lanes and potential short road re-alignments to straighten out some of the curves,” said MOTI officials on November 17.

“We’re going to expand the study to go all the way to Port Renfrew and we’re going to hear from stakeholders in the region to get their ideas for long term improvements on this corridor.”  MOTI concluded: “This government cares about building strong, connected communities and is committed to solving the broader transportation challenges and needs in the South Island region.”

On Monday, November 20 a presentation about Hwy 14 and broader transportation issues will be hosted by Transition Sooke at Edward Milne Community School, 6218 Sooke Rd, at 7 pm. The event is open to the community and is expected to be well-attended.

This article first published in the November 17, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.


Monday, November 13 ~ SOOKE. Just a reminder to commuters and anyone travelling between Sooke and the Langford/Victoria area for business, shopping or appointments … to expect and plan for traffic delays on Thursday November 16 on Sooke Road (Highway 14).

Some live maintenance work is planned for hydro poles in 5700-block that day (action zone approximately between Harbourview Road and Woodlands).

Single lane traffic and delays can be expected from 9 am to 3 pm. This will cause backups both eastbound into Langford and westbound toward Sooke.

Roadside marquee signage has been up for a few days already, giving advance notice of the traffic congestion that is expected on Thursday.

“We’re doing the work live,” says BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk. “We appreciate the public’s patience and the delays it may cause.” He also hopes drivers will obey the speed limits and respect the flaggers who will be on site to manage the traffic flow.

Even in this rainy season, BC Hydro is doing the work on one or more poles with 25 kV lines without turning off the power, so that a major power outage is not required for a large part of the Sooke area. For safety reasons, this work on live wires must be done during the daytime, says Olynyk.

Sooke Road is a provincial highway (Highway 14), and is effectively the only road in and out of Sooke (population 13,000).

BC Premier John Horgan placed a wreath at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Langford, November 11, 2017 [Photo by Mary P Brooke – West Shore Voice News]

Saturday, November 11 ~ LANGFORD.  BC Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) laid a wreath and made some brief remarks at the podium during the Remembrance Day ceremony in Langford today. In total, 62 wreaths were laid.

Langford is Horgan’s home town. For many previous years however, as MLA before becoming Premier, Horgan attended Remembrance Day at the Sooke Legion in the other area of his riding.

VIPs arrived in a parade. At Veteran Memorial Park, about 1,000 people were gathered under threat of rain, standing or seated in some bleachers in the cold for the one-hour event.

Service personnel in uniform stood in formation for the entire hour. Music by the Westshore Community Concert Band, Gordon United Church Choir and Westshore Girl Guides.

Roads were closed in central Langford, including by large trucks positioned horizontally across roads. Helicopters and airplanes flew overhead at various points. On-the-ground security was present but not overtly obvious.

Four mayors from the west shore area laid wreaths immediately after Premier Horgan: Langford Mayor Stew Young, Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton, Metchosin Mayor John Ranns and Highlands Mayor Ken Williams.


Children at the Sooke Cenotaph after the Remembrance Day ceremony (2013). Photo: West Shore Voice News

Friday, November 10 ~ BC. Premier John Horgan released the following statement in honour of Remembrance Day tomorrow.

“On Remembrance Day, people around British Columbia honour veterans, armed forces members, merchant marines and families who have sacrificed in service of our country.

“For many of us, it’s impossible to imagine the courage it takes to put on a uniform and go into harm’s way. Yet for generations, Canadians have bravely risked their lives to protect ours.

“Today, in moments of silence all around the province, we pay tribute to loved ones lost, and to those who have returned with injuries, both visible and invisible.

“We cannot forget the tragedies of war, and we must all work together to build a more peaceful world. Lest we forget.”


BC Premier John Horgan

Wednesday, November 8 ~ LANGFORD. BC Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca which includes Sooke) will be attending the upcoming Remembrance Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Langford.

EMCS Principal Pat Swinburnson

The Remembrance Day event in Sooke will be held at the Sooke Legion cenotaph. Those attending should gather in good time ahead of the 11 am two minutes of silence.

Standing in for Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca which includes Sooke) will be Patrick Swinburnson, principal of Edward Milne Community School.

Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) will be attending the Remembrance Day event in Esquimalt.


Tuesday, November 7 ~ SOOKE. Once again ‘what to do about Highway 14 (Sooke Road)’ is in the news.

As new speed reader boards are readied for installation on one stretch of Highway 14 (in the Luxton area in Langford, east of where the 4-lane starts toward Sooke), a public discussion about Highway 14 as the one-road-in/out of Sooke is also coming up.

The “Sooke’s Transportation Future: Hwy #14 Upgrades, Four Lanes and/or Improved Public Transit?” presentation and discussion will be held on Monday, November 20. It’s part of the Transition Sooke’s Speaker Series. The two-hour event billed as  will start at 7 pm, at Edward Milne Community School, 6218 Sooke Road, Sooke.

The evening will feature a presentation by Eric Doherty, a Registered Transportation Planner with the Victoria consultancy firm Ecopath Planning and a founding member of the Better Transit Alliance – Greater Victoria.  Admission is free or by small donation

The evening will add “further context to a hot topic addressed this year in the provincial election campaign and by the #DividedBy14 initiative,” says Transition Sooke spokesperson Jeff Bateman. “Doherty will address the big picture of regional transportation while focusing on Sooke’s part within it,” he says.

Transition Sooke says the talk “will serve as a prelude to the release of a long-awaited BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure report on continuing upgrades to our winding road home (which is blocked for an annual average of three hours per week due to accidents)”. Last week Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said: “We continue to wait for the preliminary report, and look forward to working with the Province on continued improvements to Highway 14.”

Apparently BC Transit will be scheduling a public forum in Sooke next year to hear community views and opinions about the region-wide bus service. In Sooke the main bus is #61 also with transfers to the #50 in Langford.

A local group of Sooke business people who earlier this year initiated the #DividedBy14 campaign to heighten awareness about the highway are functioning as an ad hoc Sooke Economic Development Commission. Recently they have come up with a list of target improvements for Highway 14 that if implemented could — one by one — improve the efficiency and safety of the provincial highway.


Tuesday, November 7 ~ SOOKE. Expect traffic delays on Thursday November 16 on Sooke Road (Highway 14), for some live maintenance work being done on hydro poles in 5700-block.

BC Hydro crews will be working alongside Sooke Road on Thursday November 16. [Photo from Aug 2017 by West Shore Voice News]

Single lane traffic and delays can be expected from 9:30 am to 3 pm.  This will cause backups both eastbound into Langford and westbound toward Sooke.

“We’re doing the work live,” says BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk. “We appreciate the public’s patience and the delays it may cause.” He also hopes drivers will obey the speed limits and respect the flaggers who will be on site to manage the traffic flow.

BC Hydro is doing the work live on one or more poles with 25 kV lines so that a major power outage is not required for a large part of the Sooke area. For safety reasons, this work on live wires must be done during the daytime, says Olynyk.

Sooke Road is a provincial highway (Highway 14), and is effectively the only road in and out of Sooke (population 13,000).


Tuesday, November 7 ~ SOOKE. Tonight ‘Emily Carr’ is coming to Sooke! Theatre professional and artist Molly Raher Newman will talk about her recent train trip from Vancouver to Ottawa and exhibit the ‘Emily Carr’ paintings that she created along the way.
“My trip was about art, Emily Carr and the Group of Seven,” said Molly today as she prepared to load up her paintings and get out to Sooke Harbour House (1528 Whiffin Spit Road) for this evening’s presentation.
The presentation starts at 7:30 pm. Admission is free, sponsored by the Sooke Community Arts Council.
See more about Molly’s trip across the country and her visit in Ottawa at

Posted speed limit is 60 kph on Hwy 14 heading eastbound at the West Shore Parkway [West Shore Voice News photo – Nov 2017]

Monday, November 6 ~ WEST SHORE.  Provincial Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is getting some speed reader boards in the ‘Luxton strectch’ east of the upward winding section toward West Shore Parkway.

Speed reader boards are those electronic signs that use radar to detect the speed of an approaching vehicle and display the speed on an LED variable message display. The speed display is typically combined with a static (non-electronic) display that includes the text “Your Speed” or similar.

The posted speed on Highway 14 in that section heading westbound toward West Shore Parkway is 60 kph (or 50 kph when children are on the highway) and when heading eastbound just at West Shore Parkway and heading to the Langford town area.

Hwy 14 beyond West Shore Parkway on the way to Sooke has a 80 kph posted speed limit on the 4-lane section, reducing to 60 kph again when the road is single-lane heading to Sooke.

The intent of the Speed Reader Board is to encourage compliance with the posted speed limit by making motorists aware of their actual speed. They are intended to be used as supplements to the maximum posted speed signs to encourage compliance when transitioning to a lower posted speed, such as school zones, road construction zones, and communities located along highways.

Posted speed limit 60 kph on Sooke Road (HWy 14) heading eastbound on the curve ahead of Glenshire Rd. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Five years ago an injury collision on Hwy 14 near Glenshire Road resulted in the death of 13-year-old Langford resident AJ (Adam Jessie) Wakeling. The highway in that winding stretch between Glenshire Road and the driveway entrance to Slegg Lumber was poorly lit, it was later determined by West Shore RCMP.  The driver of a small pickup truck heading eastbound at the crest of a hill and around a sweeping curve was never charged, as the teen was wearing dark clothing and the driver was determined to have been travelling at the average speed for a dry road.

“The fatal crash five years ago on Highway 14 was a tragedy, and our hearts go out to the victim’s family and friends,” said the BC Ministry of Transportation last week. “Following the incident, Ministry staff reviewed this section of the highway as part of assisting local police with their investigation into the crash.”

MOTI continued: “Since the crash, the Ministry installed a new crosswalk and an eastbound bus stop near Slegg Lumber, and earlier this year completed a new westbound bus stop. In addition, we have ordered speed reader boards that will be installed in the Luxton area of the corridor in the coming weeks.” But still no additional lighting.

Curve in the highway, eastbound on Hwy 14 at Leledo Rd. [West Shore Voice News photo]

A corridor-wide safety study of Highway 14 between Langford and Sooke is underway and is expected to wrap up by the end of the year, says MOTI.

The Sooke Economic Development Commission (EDC) which has taken on Highway 14 issues as its key mandate toward expanded economic growth for the Sooke region, eagerly awaits the report. The group may soon have specific observations and improvement requests for various sections of the road to Sooke.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait told West Shore Voice News last week: “We continue to wait for the preliminary report, and look forward to working with the Province on continued improvements to Highway 14.”


Memorial at the site of a fatal crash on Hwy 14 (Sooke Rd), five years after the incident. [Photo by West Shore Voice News]

Saturday, November 4 ~ SOOKE. Five years ago 13-year-old Langford resident AJ (Adam Jessie) Wakeling died from his injuries after crossing Highway 14 (Sooke Road) in a dark, winding stretch between Glenshire Road and the driveway entrance to Slegg Lumber.

The October 25, 2012 fatal crash was determined to have resulted from low visbility. The driver of a small pickup truck heading eastbound at the crest of a hill and around a sweeping curve was never charged, as the teen was wearing dark clothing and the driver was determined to have been travelling at the average speed for a dry road. Poor lighting was determined by West Shore RCMP to be the key factor.

“The fatal crash five years ago on Highway 14 was a tragedy, and our hearts go out to the victim’s family and friends,” said the BC Ministry of Transportation this week. “Following the incident, Ministry staff reviewed this section of the highway as part of assisting local police with their investigation into the crash.”

MOTI continued: “Since the crash, the Ministry installed a new crosswalk and an eastbound bus stop near Slegg Lumber, and earlier this year completed a new westbound bus stop. In addition, we have ordered speed reader boards that will be installed in the Luxton area of the corridor in the coming weeks.” But still no additional lighting.

A corridor-wide safety study of Highway 14 between Langford and Sooke is underway and is expected to wrap up by the end of the year, says MOTI.

The Sooke Economic Development Commission (EDC) which has taken on Highway 14 issues as its key mandate toward expanded economic growth for the Sooke region, eagerly awaits the report. The group may soon have specific observations and improvement requests for various sections of the road to Sooke.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait told West Shore Voice News this week: “We continue to wait for the preliminary report, and look forward to working with the Province on continued improvements to Highway 14.”


Thursday, November 2 ~ BC.  Salmon have returned to the rivers. The Salmon Sensation Drop-in Event is on Saturday, November 4 from 11am–2pm at the Charters Interpretive Centre on Sooke River Road in Sooke.  For all ages! Fishy-fun activities, a craft and guided walks with CRD naturalists along Charters River. It’s an opportunity for a closeup look at these magnificent fish as they return to spawn and complete their lifecycle.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017 ~ BC. Local governments throughout BC have until November 1, 2017 to provide feedback on the provincial discussion paper, Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in British Columbia.

The Province will draw upon feedback obtained through the engagement process as it considers key policy decisions that will form the foundation of its legalized cannabis framework, it was stated today by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).

UBCM encourages all local governments to provide submissions to ensure that feedback provided to Province represents the diversity of our membership. Local government responses to the discussion paper will be considered as a separate cohort among the feedback provided.

Many people across Canada already use cannabis products for medicinal reasons. Recreational users often incur criminal records for simple possession, something that will likely fade away after the federal government brings in their new laws and regulations in July 2018.

Considered by pretty much all stakeholders to be a positive aspect of the upcoming legislation is to keep marijuana products out of the hands of youth (for health and safety reasons), and to control or eliminate the current black-market and criminal element of marijuana sales. The federal government will gain tax revenues under the new legislation. Provincial and municipal governments also stand to gain financially under the new laws and regulations.

For many, a major concern remains about road safety related to cannabis use. While for alcohol consumption the roadside blood-alcohol level testing has become mainstream, the ways and means for testing one’s state of clarity while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana remains to be fully determined.

Presently on the west shore of Vancouver Island:

>> In Sooke, a few marijuana-product outlets have already been operating in the town centre area for almost two years. About that… Sooke Council has had discussions but is essentially waiting for federal legislation to come into effect. Today Sooke Mayor Maja Tait (who sits on the UBCM executive) told West Shore Voice: “We received a staff report on Monday and will send a response summarizing the highlighted concerns within. These regulations and the Provincial request pertain to the Federal Government’s legalization of non-medical cannabis, that was the focus of our Agenda.”

>> In Colwood, the City of Colwood Council has had discussions about cannabis legalization and regulation, as well as participating in discussions at the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities and Union of BC Municipalities conferences. “The City will adhere to the current Colwood Land Use Bylaw and Business Bylaw until such time as the Federal and Provincial governments provide direction regarding legalization,” said Colwood’s communications manager Sandra Russell today. The Colwood Land Use and Business Bylaws currently prohibits marijuana dispensaries other than a licensed pharmacy or premises licensed under the “Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations”.

>> In Langford, a few marijuana product outlets that have opened have been quickly shut down through bylaw-related mechanisms. No statement on this topic was provided from the City of Langford today.

> Link to the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in BC discussion paper:

Deer in an urban area of Greater Victoria.

Wednesday, October 25 ~ BC. Funding from the BC Government is available to manage urban deer, it was announced today by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Up to $100,000 will be provided to local governments and First Nations communities (that are involved in urban deer activities or research into population control methods) to help fund urban deer management projects under the 2017-18 Provincial Urban Deer Cost-share Program. Applications due on or before November 17, 2017, info: 2017-18 Urban Deer Cost-share Program Application Guide

Eligible proposals will be evaluated by members of the Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee which includes reps from the Province,  local governments, the Union of BC Municipalities and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Successful proponents will be advised in December.

Projects that address human-deer conflict in areas where traditional deer management techniques are not appropriate will be given priority. Matching funds are required from any local government or First Nation that applies.

There are about 135,000 mule deer, 128,000 black-tail deer and more than 100,000 white-tail deer in BC. Deer are managed in BC by the BC Government which authorizes municipalities to undertake urban deer management actions. Provincial support includes technical advice, regulatory authority, necessary permits, specialized equipment and other management tools.


Retail candy handouts in Sooke stores on Halloween [Sooke Voice News photo 2014]

Sunday, October 22 ~ HALLOWEEN is coming up on the West Side of Vancouver Island!  It’s a big party for families on the west side of Vancouver Island each year!

Bonfires will be bright against the night sky on Tuesday October 31 at Colwood fire hall (6:30 to 8:30 pm) and at Camp Barnard in the Sooke area (starting 6:30 pm, with fireworks at 7:30 pm by Otter Point Fire).

In Langford check out Halloween festivities happening October 31 at all three fire stations: 2625 Peatt Rd, 3205 Happy Valley Rd, 2872 Sooke Lake Rd from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

Earlier in the day in the Sooke retail areas swarms of kids and teens will visit stores for candy handouts.

The Sooke Fire Dept reminds anyone who plans to set off fireworks to purchase a fireworks permit for $10 at Fire Hall #1 at 2225 Otter Point Rd. “We encourage everyone to have a safe and happy Halloween!”, says Mount.

For many years, families in Sooke have enjoyed the ‘Safe Halloween’ event and haunted house presented by the Sooke Fire Department and volunteers. But this year, Sooke FD priorities have shifted to a municipal-issues open house coming up this Wednesday, as well as the Santa Run and Santa Claus parade, says Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount.

Fire departments remind trick-or-treaters to choose flame-resistant, high-visibility costumes. When decorating, be FireSmart and that means avoid open flames. Trick-or-treating with family or a buddy in well-lit areas with flashlights or glow sticks is a smart Halloween choice. Parents should approve treats before kids get into them.


Friday, October 20 ~ SOOKE.  Come spend a night ‘with Emily Carr’ at Sooke Harbour House.

Molly Raher Newman, local Vancouver Island artist and actor who has played the roll of Emily Carr for the past 19 years, has been recreating Emily’s 1927 train ride from Vancouver through Northern Ontario to Ottawa in October. This commemorative train trip, part of the Canada 150 celebrations is to showcase 90 years of Emily Carr as an important and historic icon.

Upon her return, the enactment artist will exhibit her water colour paintings done during the trip and talking about her adventures.

Sooke Harbour House and the Sooke Community Arts Council are sponsoring this free evening Tuesday November 7 at 7:30 pm in the Potlatch Room at Sooke Harbour House on Whiffin Spit Road.


Logs in Sooke await their fate as donated fundraising-firewood.

Monday, October 16 ~ SOOKE.   Log giveaway in Sooke. About 60 to 80 cords of alderwood have recently been logged from Lot A on Wadams Way in Sooke. The logs lie exhausted in a big pile by the fence along Sooke Road at Kaltasin Road in the District of Sooke’s workyard.

It’s quite a sight for those who live in other areas of Greater Victoria where felling even one tree in protected areas generates quite an uproar.

It’s just one more indication that while Sooke tries to include itself in the urban swath for services like getting a hospital or clinic, the region is still firmly connected to its rural roots.

The land clearing at Lot A is to make way for construction of the new, long-promised Sooke library (opening now pushed well into 2019, it was stated in a Vancouver Island Regional Library release in recent weeks).

Sooke Council took several awkward minutes off-line (microphones deliberately turned off) at their October 10 meeting to review “new information” as Mayor Maja Tait put it, after senior staff declined the mayor’s request to verbally brief council on the logging report. That’s a council-staff dynamic you don’t see in many municipal councils — mayor and council unprepared and senior administrative staff refusing to support a smooth presentation, and/or an attempt to reveal disclosure of some discussion.

The audience chatted and fidgeted during what was clearly a break in the meeting as Mayor and council read the report and had some discussions. Online viewers got a good chunk of silence to watch. With the webcast back on, Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount was then asked to provide some technical information.

Political options for what to do with the logs included offering them to non-profits for resale as fundraising opportunities, or selling the logs as firewood and keeping the proceeds of direct sale for the district’s own budget. As an active micro-management exercise, the Mayor lured real-time advertising-booking commitments out of council.

Councillor Kerrie Reay said the district is “always looking for money” and therefore supported direct sale of the logs and keeping the proceeds for the municipal budget, as did Councillor Brenda Parkinson who said the funds could be directed to the Community Grants budget.

Councillors Rick Kasper and Kevin Pearson spoke in favour of donating the logs to non-profits, if such groups would have the skill and means to produce firewood from the large logs (and are covered by suitable liability insurance). That last option is what council approved. Certain groups in town will be more easily connected with logging skills than others, so it is a political tip of the hat to the loggers and firewood buffs in the community.


Jennifer Rice, BC Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness

Friday, October 13 ~ BC. “ShakeOutBC is a great opportunity to break from our routines, practice our earthquake response and take a moment to reflect on our level of preparedness,” says Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.

“We each have a duty to prepare our family and our community for emergencies.” We encourages people to participate in the Drop, Cover and Hold On drill on Oct 19.

BC sits in one of the world’s most seismically active regions, with more than 3,000 earthquakes recorded every year. Most are too small to be felt, but the risk of one being big enough to cause damage is real.

The best immediate response in an earthquake is to Drop, Cover and Hold On. Thousands of people practice this life-saving technique every year as part of the Great BC ShakeOut which is Canada’s largest earthquake drill.

Families, schools, businesses or organizations can register for ShakeOutBC at


SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge at the first board meeting of 2017-2018, his last full year on the job. [Photo by Mary P Brooke, West Shore Voice News]

Tuesday, October 10 ~ WEST SHORE. SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge retiring after 36 years in education

Sooke School District 62 (SD62) Superintendent Jim Cambridge is retiring from his 36-year career. While that eventuality been known in education circles for a while, the formal announcement from the school board came October 4. Cambridge will begin his next adventures in August 2018.

With SD62 since 1981, Cambridge has been a classroom teacher and school administrator, as well as holding various administrative positions at the board office (in the top position as Superintendent and CEO since May 2009). As Superintendent, Cambridge has in recent years led schools, teachers, students and parents during an unprecedented growth period.

In August this year, his senior executive support expanded from two Assistant Superintendents to three, to keep up with student population growth which has now reached 10,400 as more families move to the west shore.

Back in January, Cambridge co-hosted the Canada 150 BC schools launch by BC Lt Governor Judith Guichon at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke.

Behind the scenes over the past few years, Cambridge was instrumental in various areas of discussion with the BC Government to help morph the understanding of school budgets and funding requirements.

Jim Cambridge is well liked and highly regarded both within SD62 and in the broader community. He’s in his element at the board table and always enjoys getting back into schools for visits. Cambridge has always seemed to enjoy the job despite its many challenges.

In his role at chief administrator, Cambridge has weathered various storms including teacher strikes, the construction of two new high schools in two years, and several years of budget cuts. Even the decision required to call a ‘snow day’ is also significant, as many sectors are impacted.

Keven Elder Consulting Services will recruit and select the next SD62 Superintendent and CEO. That process will begin with stakeholders this fall; the new posting for the position is expected in December.

=== Article first published on page 3 in the print/PDF edition of the October 6, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News

Saturday, October 7 ~ WEST SHORE. Duality in Greater Victoria real estate this fall season.  Real Estate Analysis by Mary P Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News

There’s been a stone-cold drop in activity and a significant cooling in prices in many average-price areas of the Greater Victoria real estate market in recent weeks.

But in three areas actual sales price averages jumped dramatically between August and September: Langford was up by $55,150, East Saanich was up by $42,565 and North Saanich prices skyrocketed by $152,407. Prices in high-end Oak Bay notably dropped by almost $94,000 (only post-peak stock may have been available).

In September there were 18.1% fewer properties sold than a year ago. East Saanich is normally the bell-weather of pricing trends, and Langford seems to be following suit.

The Victoria Real Estate Board says the market is “trending slowly towards more balanced conditions and overall price increases are levelling”. But their own stats tell a different story. The trend is not slow. prices are ‘acting out’, and the most stable areas (East Saanich and Langford) show distinct upward pressure.

Two Bank of Canada interest rate hikes this summer cut the legs out from under the lower end of the market, hurting entry-level buyers and sellers of modest homes.

Housing inventory rose in September 2017 (up 3.1% from August) as properties have become more difficult to sell. In the fast-growing City of Langford the actual sale price of single family homes surpassed $700,000 last month while Colwood and Sooke prices plummeted.

This article was first published in the October 6, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.


Friday, October 6 ~ SOOKE.  Somehow it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving long weekend in Sooke without the special turkey dinner with all the trimmings at Mom’s Cafe. This year being served on Sunday Oct 8 & Monday Oct 9.

$20.95 for the full turkey portion (8 oz) or $18.95 for ‘turkey lite’ (4 oz). Trimmings include mashed yams and potatoes, succotash vegetables, gravy, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce and dinner roll. Add a slice of their delicious pumpkin pie for $3.95.

Mom’s special Thanksgiving turkey dinner will be served 4pm to close.

Mom’s Cafe is at 2036 Shields Rd in Sooke. Tel: 250-642-3314.

Check out the old juke box in the lobby!

Wednesday, October 4 ~ SOOKE.  Recreation Job in Sooke. The CRD’s SEAPARC Leisure Complex in Sooke has many active arena programs.

Recently they’ve been seeking a new Arena Team Leader to assist with on-ice leadership, teach classes as required, and assist with organizing special events. Also part of the job is to communicate with instructors, participants, parents and supervisors.

If you’re energetic, outgoing and responsible and can implement programs that are instructional, fun, exciting and maintained in a safe environment, then this job might be for you!

It’s part time, til approximately the end of the indoor ice season.

Here’s a direct link to the job posting on the CRD website:

Letter as sent to the District of Sooke from SAFARS

Saturday, September 30 ~ SOOKE.  Housing Affordability affects pets. As housing affordability and job stability continues to be a challenge for many families in BC, in turn there can be impacts on family pets. It’s a sad realization that some families will abandon their pets or surrender them to the BC SPCA if they can no longer afford to care for them. Sometimes the situation is that whatever rental accommodation is available restricts tenants from having pets.

Therein comes the need for rescue shelters, where dogs, cats and other domestic animals can be taken for continued care and re-homing, without the possible risk of euthanization. However, CRD and municipal bylaws in many cases frustrate and extinguish the efforts of enthusiastic animal rescue volunteers, mostly through the requirement of a significant amount of land for an animal shelter.

This battle is well known to followers of the news in Sooke, where for years the Victoria Pet Food Bank & Feral Cat Rehabilitation Society (aka SAFARS) has been trying to put their good will to work in rescuing cats in particular but also dogs. They supply donated pet food and supplies to low-income people for their pets, which in many cases means those people do not have to give up their animal companions.

A demonstration will be held on the BC Legislative grounds on Sunday October 15: the March for the Right to Have Animal Shelters will start at 1pm. The group is asking people to bring a sign affixed to your dog, saying “we need more animal shelters” and to join the march with them.  There is a petition that can be signed ahead of and at the March. See petition (click image to see larger version):


SAFARS says that puppy-mills/backyard breeders are flourishing in Sooke and that the BC-SPCA claims not to have legislation to stop the breeders.


District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait addressed UBCM delegates in Vancouver (Sept 2017) ~ Photo credit: UBCM

Friday, September 29 ~ SOOKE. District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait is moving up the ranks among BC municipalities. At the 114th UBCM convention in Vancouver this week she was acclaimed 2nd Vice President on the UBCM executive. She’s the only Vancouver Island rep on the executive this year.

Tait and most of Sooke Council were at the convention this year. On the first morning, Tait attended the Funding for Local Governments presentation at UBCM, to hear a panel discussion on new and emerging program priorities in BC funding to municipalities in such areas as climate change and asset management.

Meeting with BC Health Minister Adrian Dix, Tait discussed Primary Health Care infrastructure in the Sooke Region. As
the Chairperson of the Sooke Region Primary Health Care Working Group, Tait has been working with stake-holders from across the region to advocate for a local Primary Care Home facility. That would create space for additional family physicians, allow for urgent care treatment with extended operating hours, and improved access to medical services without having to drive the not- always accessible Hwy 14.

The Sooke Region Primary Care Home initiative has garnered the support of the Capital Regional District (CRD) Hospitals and Housing Committee, and the CRD Board of Directors. Island Health reps have joined the Sooke Region Primary Health Care Working Group meetings. Tait feels that BC Health Ministry support would bring the Primary Care Home one step closer.

Mayor Tait took along her young son to the convention for the week in Vancouver, remarking after a few days at the positive support that having an on-site child care service is for women to stay plugged into their career activities.


The Sooke Library is presently in leased space on Anna Marie Road. [West Shore Voice News photo 2016]

Friday, September 22 ~ SOOKE.  Opening of the new Sooke Library has been pushed well into 2019.

Delays by the District of Sooke in acquiring and preparing the land on Wadams Way for development have pushed the timeline.

“Shovels in the ground” are expected by March 2018 with opening of a new 10,000 sqft ‘state of the art’ facility expected by spring 2019, it was stated in a VIRL news release on September 21.

Another public consultation session will be held once VIRL’s architect has prepared proposed designs. VIRL says Sooke’s new library remains a top priority.

Other obstacles have included “matters of health and safety” at the Sayward, Tahsis and Port McNeill branches. And Sooke’s library manager Adrienne Wass resigned earlier this year; another manager visits at the branch one day a week.



Sooke Food CHI has acquired an apple press like this one (sample photo).

Sunday, September 17 ~ SOOKE. Today lots of people will gather to celebrate the fall harvest season with a celebration about apples! 

The 4th Annual Sooke Apple Festival, hosted by the Sunriver Community Gardens and Orchard, will be held 10 am to 2 pm, at the Sunriver Community Gardens, 2380 Phillips Road. The family-friendly community gathering helps raise funds for the Sooke Region Food Community Health Initiative (Sooke Food CHI). Admission by donation. Parking available along Phillips Road.

All things apples includes apple sales, identification, bobbing, hand-pressed apple juice,  tasting and orchard tours. All of that backed by music (The Chick Wagon Band).

As an ongoing project, Sooke Food CHI has acquired an apple press with funds raised from last year’s event. Today press your own juice to take home. Bring at least 15 pounds of apples and your containers. Apples should be mature, washed, and must be free from decay. Containers should be wide mouthed with tight lids. Bring a cooler to store your juice.

The press will be further available for use at the Community Gardens during the fall. Check the website for dates:

The Apple Shack: The Apple Shack is the Apple Learning Centre. It was built in the summer of 2013. During Apple Fest, it will have displays and lots of information about apples and the Sunriver Community Orchard. Ann Aylard from BC’s Fruit Tree Testing organization will be on hand to help the public identify apple varietals from their property.
Fundraiser: The Apple Festival is a Sooke Food CHI fundraiser for the community orchard and other Food CHI activities.

Food vendors include Coastal Crunch, Three Sisters, Livin’ the Dream, Jenny’s Kitchen, Dakini Tidal Wilds, Buddha Box and the Coffee Cantina.  Games for families and kids are organized by Emily Moreland and friends, 11 am and 2 pm.


Monday, September 15 ~ SOOKE.   At their September 11 council meeting, Sooke council approved a motion put forward by Councillor Rick Kasper to express concurrence with Freedom Mobile for putting up a telecommunications tower at 2614 Otter Point Rd. “We can’t ignore these applications,” said Kasper. Councillor Kerrie Reay looked at the community’s technological needs as a whole and supported the motion. Chair Mayor Maja Tait cast the deciding vote in favour (her argument was about facilitating services in a digital age).

Councillors Ebony Logins, Brenda Parkinson and Kevin Pearson voted against the cell tower motion as their way of supporting extensive community protest about presumed health concerns and aesthetics in a rural area. Logins spoke to the power of communicating across governments and Pearson said some fundamental questions hadn’t been answered for him. “How far do we trust (Health Canada standards, for example) and when do we not trust and question (with reference to a salmon farm which did cause a problem after Sooke Council gave it a light touch in review)? Parkinson felt a municipal council doesn’t have to give concurrence for something they have no say in anyhow.

Sooke council renewed their contract with the Capital Regional District (CRD) for animal control services, at a cost of $6,786.50/mo, for an extended period to June 2019. Sooke is charged more per capita than other municipalities likely due to travel time. Most Sooke residents may not realize the cost to taxpayers for this service.

Councillor Pearson brought forward his concerns about prohibiting ocean-based salmon farming after about 175,000 Atlantic Salmon got loose into Pacific waters near Sooke. Council approved his motion to protect west coast salmon from invasive species. He also pushed for salmon farm concerns to be put forward to MP and MLA. He may bring Sooke Council’s concerns forward at the upcoming UBCM conference in Vancouver later this month as an emergency resolution.

Friday, September 15. Apples galore! This Sunday September 17 is the annual Apple Fest harvest celebration at Sunriver Gardens in Sooke.

The new element this year is an apple press! Event organizers Sooke Food CHI have acquired an apple pres. “We are very excited to share this with the community,” says organizer Anita Wasiuta.

After the launch on Sunday, September 17, the apple press will be available every Saturday from 10 to 2pm through to October 28 at the Sunriver Community Gardens. People can bring their own apples and containers. Tips are at for juicing your own apples.

Apple Fest has proven each year to be a popular family event. It’s an opportunity to celebrate fruit and growing one’s own food.

Activities include apple sales, apple identification, apple bobbing, hand-pressed apple juice, apple tasting, food vendors, and orchard tours as well as music and games.

Sunriver Community Gardens is a 2380 Phillips Road. Apple Fest will run from 10 am to 2 pm.

District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait [West Shore Voice News photo, 2017]

UPDATE Wednesday, September 13 – At their September 13 meeting, the CRD Board unanimously defeated the motion to approve the proposed trip to Europe.


Saturday, September 9 ~ SOOKE. District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait — as chair of the Integrated Resource Management (IRM) Advisory Committee of the CRD is one of three politicians who would travel to Europe to take a firsthand look at wastewater and integrated waste management systems.

There’s a public backlash about the cost compared to other ways to glean whatever information would be helpful and transferable to the Capital Regional District of Greater Victoria. The vote at her committee passed 6 to 5. Juan de Fuca Area Director Mike Hicks is on the IRM committee and he voted against the trip.

The motion goes next to the CRD Environment Committee on Wednesday September 13, and then further to the CRD Board. So it’s not a done deal yet.

Sooke has had a wastewater management system for over 10 years now. The peninsula also already treats its sewage. The core areas (Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Saanich) will come on stream with sewage treatment by the end of 2020.

CRD Chair Barb Desjardins points out that waste management is about more than sewage. Integration of managing waste requires looking at organics, biosolids, recycling, landfill issues, and more.

Friday, September 8 ~ SOOKE. The Sooke Fall Fair is coming up this weekend, September 9 and 10, at Sooke Community Hall.  Details at

Bike locker space can be rented at the Sooke Park & Ride.

Saturday, September 2 ~ SOOKE.  Eager to avoid commuter stress, ride the #61 bus into town in comfort, and get some before- and after-work exercise?

Space is currently available for four bikes in Transition Sooke’s bike lockers in the BC Transit park-and-ride on Sooke Rd at Sooke River Rd. Rental is $10/month/bike or, for those who’d prefer an annual lease, $100 per year. Renters get a key for 24/7 access.

The well-lit Sooke Park & Ride services bus routes 61, 63 and 64, with 99 vehicle parking stalls and the two bike lockers, plus bike racks.

The lockers were installed in 2011 through the efforts of the Juan de Fuca Cycling Coalition’s Stephen Hindrichs and colorfully decorated by EMCS art students, says Jeff Bateman of Transition Sooke.

Bike locker inquiries by email:

SD62 has three Assistant Superintendents this year (from left): Dave Strange, Stephanie Hedley-Smith, and Paul Block. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Thursday, August 31 ~ LANGFORD. A growing student population in the bustling expanding west shore region of south Vancouver Island has resulted in the expansion of senior-level management at Sooke School District 62 (SD62) for 2017-2018. 

Whereas in the past there have been two Assistant Superintendents reporting to SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge, as of August 1 a third Assistant Superintendent joined the team.

Introduced at the first public board meeting of 2017-2018 on August 29 was new Assistant Superintendent (A/S) Stephanie Hedley-Smith. She joins Paul Block and Dave Strange who were both new to the position of Assistant Superintendent for 2016-2017.

Three A/S positions makes it a lot easier to assign one ‘family of schools’ fully and directly under the purview of one administrator. The Belmont family of schools in Langford will be overseen by Hedley-Smith. The Royal Bay family of schools in Colwood will be overseen by Block. The EMCS family of schools in Sooke will be overseen by Strange.

Key aspects of their portfolios include Education Standing Committee, Information Technology and Aboriginal Education (Hedley-Smith); Distributed Learning, Curriculum and Secondary Counselling (Block); and Alternative Education, Comprehensive School Health and Elementary Counselling (Strange).

Also new at the board table in his first full year as Chair was Ravi Parmar. The overall meeting had an upbeat feeling not unexpected at the start of a school year. But there was an undercurrent of worries about the increasing cost of bus transportation (see Aug 30 article below). And pressure points are looming due to various ‘moving pieces’ having to do with registration tally unknowns and the space to accommodate all students in the schools.

Schools in SD62 are in Langford, Colwood and Sooke. As many as 19 portable classrooms are being set up this week ahead of the September 5 start of the 2017-2018 academic school year. A Proposed Definition Report (PDR) to justify the cost to expand Royal Bay Secondary by 600 seats (beyond the current 1,200) has been submitted to the BC government for consideration; if approved, design of the addition to Royal Bay (which opened in September 2015) could begin as early as this fall.


Sunday, August 27 ~ SOOKE. Beach Art at Whiffin Spit is a creative cleanup combo.

For many years now, the end of summer has been marked by a beach cleanup at Whiffin Spit in Sooke that turns flotsam and jetsam into art.

This year Beach Art is on Saturday, September 2, from 11 am to 3pm. It’s an opportunity to create art of a 3D nature, entirely from what is found on the beach.

Organized by the Sooke Community Arts Council, the annual funky Beach Art event usually falls on the Labour Day weekend. In some previous years when the event was held on the same weekend as the Sooke Fall Fair it was a bit of a time stretch for people to attend both.

Flotsam is debris in the water that was not deliberately thrown overboard, often as a result from a shipwreck or accident. Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship’s load. But nowadays it’s mostly just garbage. Most of the trash and debris that covers beaches and floats in the ocean comes from storm drains and sewers, as well as from shoreline and recreational activities such as picnicking and beachgoing. Abandoned or discarded fishing gear is also a major problem because this trash can entangle, injure, maim, and drown marine wildlife and damage property.

The day after Beach Art, volunteers go back to the Spit on Sunday to cleanup the Spit of any debris, thus keeping our park pristine. Volunteers welcome! To help out on the day after, just show up at Whiffin Spit on Sunday Sept 3 from 11 am to 3 pm.

Moonfist with Sooke Mayor Maja Tait. He was given a cape for his superhero work in cleaning up Sooke.

Friday, August 18 ~ SOOKE. If you happened to be at The Stick in the Mud Coffee House on Thursday, August 17 you might have been there for the moment in the courtyard that Moonfist was recognized as a SuperHero in Sooke.

It was recognition with cape and broom, for the long-time Sooke resident whose personal mission is to work the streets of Sooke clean almost daily.

Moonfist’s diligent sweeping and garbage pickup along the roadsides of Sooke is his self-styled commitment toward town beautification on several levels.

The District of Sooke recognized his efforts with a $200 honorarium earlier this summer, and Mayor Maja Tait was at The Stick on Thursday to award the cape. The Broomfist idea was by Moonfist’s wife Margaret, celebrated by
those who were there.

For Moonfist, The Stick is a regular hangout with friends.


New self checkout area with three stations, near the exit at Shoppers Drug Mart in Sooke [West Shore Voice News photo – August 2017]

Monday, August 14 ~ SOOKE. The Shoppers Drug Mart store in Sooke has a new self-checkout area. It was set up in phases over the past couple of weeks, and now it’s in full operation!

Store manager Marcus Farmer says the self-checkout stations have been rolled out at Shoppers stores across Canada this year, and it was Sooke’s turn.

“The new self-checkout will be convenient for people who have just a few items to purchase, or maybe if there are long lineups at the regular checkout when other customers have big orders on special points days,” says Farmer.

You can check out from one to six items. Payment is accepted by credit or debit (no cash). You can use your points to pay too!
There is a place to put your shopping basket and bags for carry out.

So far the response has been all positive, says Farmer.



Friday, August 11 ~ SOOKE. The second annual Sooke Music Festival is coming up tomorrow, Saturday August 12.  From 11 am to 10 pm, the event at John Phillips Memorial Park will offer live music and family entertainment.

The event is a fundraiser for the Sooke Community Turf Field and the Sooke Food Bank.

Building on the success of last year’s launch, the organizers have done a great job marketing the event this year, including lawn signs along various roadways in Sooke.


Sooke artist Linda Gordon with Premier John Horgan at the 31st Sooke Fine Arts Show, July 2017 [submitted photo]

Sunday, August 6 ~ SOOKE. Local Sooke artist Linda Gordon will be doing a demonstration at the Sooke Fine Arts Show on BC Day Monday, August 7.

Linda Gordon will demonstrate about choosing an “Ambient Abstract” to compliment the colours of your home. 3-5 pm, the last day of the show.

Linda Gordon chatted with BC Premier John Horgan at the Sooke Fine Arts Show during the Artists Celebration Evening on July 29.

Premier Horgan’s speech at the start of that evening included his compliments about the longevity of the show over 31 years and the quality and importance of art in the Sooke and coastal regions as well throughout BC. See Horgan’s speech on page 1 of the Aug 4th issue of West Shore Voice News.


Thursday, August 3 ~ SOOKE. The heat wave saw record-breaking temperatures yesterday in most parts of BC.  It reached 30°C in parts of Sooke yesterday.

Today the weather in Sooke was 20°C ahead of 10 am (dropping a bit to 17°C at 10am due to smoky-sky cloud cover). By mid-day, 25°C (feeling like 28°C) is expected.

In nearby Langford today there is a smoky sky air warning, with a temperature of 24°C at 10 am (feels like 26°C), heading up to 27°C by mid-afternoon. A low of 16°C is forecasted for the overnight.

For your health in such hot conditions: stay cool (indoors or in shade where possible), stay hydrated (drink water before you feel thirsty), and avoid direct sun exposure (wear hat and long sleeves).

If going outdoors, wear sunscreen, as the UV-level is posted as Very High. Also wear UV-protective eyewear.

Weather graphic from The Weather Network, August 3.


Wednesday, August 2 ~ SOOKE. Early morning, already a hazy smoky sky in the area due to wind bringing over particulate from the BC Interior wildfires. Already 16°C by 7 am, the forecasted high today is as high as 30°C and The Weather Network says the UV Index is very high.

People with heart and lung health challenges are advised to stay indoors (in cool, air filtered conditions if possible), according to an Island Health release yesterday. If outdoors, stay hydrated and avoid over-exertion, and seek shade where possible. Wear sunscreen, hat and UV-protective eyewear.

The new sign replaces the old. No longer the 7-days-a-week promise. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, August 1 ~ SOOKE. It’s a sign of the times! One of the five major banks is cutting back on its promise of 7-days-a-week service, at least at the Sooke branch. And evening hours are being cut back as well. The amount of business at the local branch at 6670 Sooke Road just doesn’t warrant the long hours and all that staff time.

So on July 31 the writing was no longer on the wall (er, the sign). The old sign across the front of the branch that said open daily was replaced with a sign bearing just the TD logo and name.

The convenience to customers with the longer hours, including Sundays, obviously is no longer the draw that it once was. The major domination of Internet banking is probably a large part of that decrease in demand for in-branch service. Additionally, in Sooke, once people are home from the long commute to employment elsewhere in the region, taking a trip out for banking in the evening is probably not top of mind.

The new branch hours were posted on the main door of the branch last week. Starting Monday, August 14 the branch hours will be Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturdays 9am to 4 pm, closed on Sundays.

Due to a motor vehicle incident on McCallum Road (in front of Home Depot), please avoid the area of
McCallum road from Staples to Millstream Road as both lanes are closed to traffic at this particular time

The TD Bank in Sooke was new construction in the middle of town centre, opening in 2012 based on an expectation of increased demand in what was thought to be a town growing rapidly enough to sustain the costs of opening a new branch here. Until that time, the next nearest TD Branch was (and is) in Langford.

TD — which is fully TD Canada Trust — has for many years distinguished itself from the other four major banks with it’s extra-long and 7-day-a-week branch hours as well as pitching to small businesses which usually operate with long and variable hours.

There are three other financial institutions in Sooke: CIBC, RBC, and Coast Capital Savings.


Monday, July 31. TRAFFIC ALERT. Tonight the new concrete deck for the Galloping Goose Trail bridge will be poured. All travellers — including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists — are advised that McKenzie Avenue will be closed while construction crews pour the new concrete deck as part of the McKenzie Interchange Project.

McKenzie Avenue will be closed tonight, Monday, July 31, between Burnside Road West and Highway 1 from 11 p.m. tonight until 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Traffic on McKenzie Avenue bound for Highway 1 will be able to turn onto Burnside Road. Traffic heading toward McKenzie Avenue from Admirals will be directed to turn onto Highway 1.

Travellers along Highway 1 will be able to exit at Helmcken, Interurban or Tillicum instead of McKenzie Avenue.

Please plan to use alternative routes and allow for extra time. For up-to-date traffic advisories, visit:

BC Premier John Horgan showed off his Artists Celebration Evening ticket on Saturday evening in Sooke [West Shore Voice News photo]

Sunday, July 30. Last night Premier John Horgan attended the Artists Celebration Evening at the Sooke Fine Arts Show. Ahead of the 7pm entry to the exhibit area, Horgan (also MLA for the Langford-Juan de Fuca area) chatted with people in the lineup outside.

He was warmly received during the official ceremony that recognizes artists and volunteers. Here’s what he said to the crowd, amidst ample and frequent applause:

“It’s delightful to be here for 31st annual Sooke Fine Arts Show!

For those of you here for the first time, you’re in for a real treat. For those of you here for perhaps the 31st time you’ve seen how this small but vital program has grown to be the premiere event on South Vancouver Island if not the premiere event in BC.

 I think I can say that now representing the government of British Columbia, because there’s no place that I would rather be tonight than at the Sooke Fine Art Show. It’s a testament to Geraldine and the board and all of the volunteers that make this happen.

I was talking to a few couples in the lineup from downtown, who made the great pilgrimage out Hwy 14 to come to the program tonight.

And I’ve been in this arena in early mornings for hockey games, I’ve been in this arena for graduation ceremonies, but somehow every year the volunteers and the people that get behind the Sooke Fine Arts Show  turn this dusty dingy arena into a studio to demonstrate the spectacular work of the arts community up and down Vancouver Island and coastal communities.

I’m so excited to be here, on behalf of just me, and also as the Premier of BC, to make a commitment to everyone here tonight that I will do my level best to see that the arts will get the character and attention that they deserve. Not just now but into the future. And that we invest and ensure that we think of Sooke not just as a place to go fishing, not just where the forest industry used to be dominant, but a place that’s diverse and dynamic and can house a premiere juried art show like this.

This year, make it the best ever … and let’s work to next year that Sooke can continue to be the centre of arts in July each year going forward.”


Saturday, July 29 ~ SOOKE. Catch the July 28 issue of West Shore Voice News for coverage of the Sooke Fine Arts Show. Editorial on “getting those big pay-offs in the art world” is on page 2.

The Purchaser’s Preview evening on July 27 was well-attended. About 400 people came to mingle and view the art. Sales of show pieces as well as items from the gift shop sold well.

The popular 11-day show runs this year from July 28 to August 7. See schedules, admission fee info, and event info at


Paintings at the 31st Sooke Fine Arts Show.

Friday, July 28 ~ SOOKE. Custom report by Mary Brooke, West Shore Voice News.

Last night the 31st Annual Sooke Fine Arts Show (SFAS) took off with a bang! People were lined up at least 20 minutes ahead of the 7 pm opening for the three-hour evening to browse and shop early for the best picks.

About 400 people attended through the evening, and ticket sales were high, says SFAS Executive Director Christa Rossner. This is the first year that the show is under Rossner’s direction. SFAS president is Geraldine McGuire.

Each year the show reflects the tastes of the three jurors. This year the overall feeling is light and airy, with touches and bursts of warmth and bright colours. There are plenty of paintings (many in soft pastel tonality) and creative photos as well as dynamic sculptures, high-impact ceramics and gorgeous jewelry.  Art hanging and presentation is always fabulous, working with a full range of sizes, shapes, colour themes and textures of the art pieces.

Randall Garrison, MP and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, at the 31st Annual Sooke Fine Arts Show.

The Sooke Fine Arts Show is considered one of the local social highlights of the year — particularly for the Purchaser’s Preview night (by ticket-purchase) and the Artists Celebration evening (by invitation), and also brings out droves of long-standing and loyal volunteers. Among the mingling guests last night were District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait and NDP MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke).

Other notable long-time art supporters in the crowd were Frederique and Sinclair Philip of Sooke Harbour House. Other high-profile Sooke guests included Dr Louise Morin of Sooke Optometry, Margaret Critchlow of Harbourside CoHousing, Roger Temple of Sooke Rotary and many members of the long-standing arts community.

The reception-info desk is again this year under the experienced management of Dave and Vicki Bennett. Local artist Linda Gordon joined the ticket-taker team at the front entry tables this year.

About 375 works are on display again this year … that’s how much the space in the SEAPARC Leisure Complex arena will hold — a venue that gets transformed into an amazing world class art venue for the 11-day show. This year the show runs July 28 through August 7 (BC Day).

For the youth portion of the art show, over 200 pieces were on display. Hovering proudly among the youth artworks was long-time youth art supporter Susan Percival, who said SFAS volunteer Linda Tenecke has done a fabulous job of presenting the student art this year. It’s a great launch opportunity for young artists.


Thursday, July 27 ~ SOOKE. The 31st Annual Sooke Fine Arts Show pre-opens with a bang tonight with their Purchaser’s Preview, 7 to 10 pm at the SEAPARC Leisure Complex in Sooke. Tickets $30.

The show runs July 28 to August 7. Schedule and special events:

West Shore Voice News is again this year a sponsor of the Sooke Fine Arts Show. There are 80 sponsors supporting this amazing annual showcase of coastal-region artworks by local and regional artists.

Over 375 pieces are in the show including paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, fabric pieces, photography and more. Three judges select the showpieces each year. Includes gift shop and live entertainment.


For the first time this summer, the Fire Danger Rating was pushed up to ‘Extreme’ on July 25, 2017.

Tuesday, July 25 ~ SOOKE. The District of Sooke has raised their local Fire Danger rating to “Extreme” today, July 25.

The ground cover and trees in the forests are extremely dry. Other than one bit of rain a few days ago, there hasn’t been rain for the past few weeks. Temperatures have exceeded 24°C for over a week.

The fire risk was called “very serious” in a news release from the District of Sooke today. Under these conditions any new fires start easily, spread rapidly and challenge fire suppression efforts.

Most fires are caused by human activity. People are reminded to fully extinguish any cigarettes and to avoid use of equipment like power tools and ATVs in dry areas.

Fighting fires is costly and draws volunteers away from other activities with family and friends.

All open air burning including campfires, backyard waste and beach fires continue to be prohibited.


Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was at Government House on July 18 to congratulate Premier John Horgan. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

Sunday, July 23 ~ SOOKE. Catch the newest issue of West Shore Voice News featuring coverage of the swearing-in ceremony of Premier John Horgan and his BC NDP cabinet at Government House on July 18.  July 21, 2017 “New Premier in BC” Issue

Those attending the special event from Sooke included District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, and Sooke Region Museum director Lee Boyko. On-site news coverage and photos that day by editor Mary Brooke of West Shore Voice News.

Premier John Horgan (Langford-Juan de Fuca) is also the local MLA for the Sooke Region. For direct access in the constituency, the office is in Langford at 122-2806 Jacklin Road, open Monday to Friday (10 am to 4 pm).

Friday, July 21 ~ SOOKE. Cell phone reception issues?

If you’ve been having finicky issues in recent weeks with your Rogers cell phone service, help is on the way!

Rogers says that tomorrow (Saturday July 22) there will be network upgrade work done on the equipment on about half their towers in the south-Vancouver Island area ranging from west of Sooke to View Royal, in Saanich, and out to Brentwood Bay.

In the past six months they’ve had 17 complaint-calls about degrading service in the west shore and south island area. That’s considered a high volume. And so it’s about to get fixed.

Premier John Horgan outdoors meeting the people of BC, on July 18, 2017 [Photo Copyright WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS]

Wednesday, July 19 ~ VICTORIA. Vancouver Islanders now have their own home-grown Premier,and he is well known in Sooke!

John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) was sworn in as the 36th Premier of BC on Tuesday, July 18 at Government House in Victoria.

Horgan has worked hard to become widely known throughout the province, and seemed notably relaxed, humbly inspired and clearly excited in this new role during the swearing-in ceremony.

The new cabinet includes Ministers in new portfolios such as Mental Health and Addictions as well as an expanded Ministry called Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. David Eby is now the Attorney General. Carole James is the Minister of Finance and Deputy-Premier. Heading up the Education ministry is Rob Fleming.

The new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is Selena Robinson, who will need to look at housing supply for its immediate and long-term challenges.

Attending the swearing-in event at Government House on Tuesday was District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, as well as Sooke Region Museum director Lee Boyko. Also there for the big day was SD62 Chair Ravi Parmar and former SD62 Chair and long-time NDP supporter Bob Phillips. Randall Garrison, MP, who represents Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke was also in attendance. Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks was there.

Sooke Region Museum director Lee Boyko and District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait at the Official Swearing-In Ceremony, July 18 [West Shore Voice News photo]

A casual event at which the public could meet and mingle with their new premier was held at the BC Parliament Building after 5pm that afternoon. Security really let down their guard, with free and easy access for all. It was a bit crowded in the Hall of Honour as Horgan addressed the people and inviting them to stay for ice cream and to chat with the new Cabinet members.

Six members of the new cabinet are Vancouver Island MLAs. Both of Greater Victoria area ridings, Lana Popham is now Agriculture Minister and Rob Fleming is the new Education Minister. Long-time Victoria-based MLA Carole James is now Minister of Finance and Deputy-Premier.

See full feature article about the July 18 swearing-in ceremony on the BC news page of this website (July 19 entry).


Sunday, July 16 ~ SOOKE. Another seniors co-housing project in Sooke gets the initial nod. What could be the second seniors co-housing project in Sooke got the initial go-ahead from District of Sooke Council on Monday night, July 10.

Bylaw 678 achieved 1st and 2nd reading for the property at 6603 Sooke Rd (roadside near Mariner’s Village) to be rezoned from large lot R1 to RM4, potentially allowing for West Wind Harbour Cohousing to build 32 multi-family units.

Councillor Rick Kasper worked hard to make the point that at least one unit in the complex is to be available for sale at below-market rate (i.e. somewhat meeting standards as affordable housing).

A public hearing to be held at Council on Sept 11. That’s usually followed the same evening with 3rd reading.

[This was first published in the July 14, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News, page 4]

John Horgan greeting people on Canada Day 150 in Sooke. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

Sunday, July 16 ~ VICTORIA. John Horgan and a BC NDP cabinet will be sworn in by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon on Tuesday, July 18.

There will be a live feed of the ceremony starting at 2pm on John Horgan’s Facebook page .

As well, there will be a public open house from 5 to 7 pm at the BC Legislature to meet and mingle with the new cabinet and Premier. including tours to areas of the legislature that are usually accessible, such as the library and speakers hallway around the chamber.

As Premier, John Horgan will briefly speak just after 5pm in the legislature’s Hall of Honour.

Sooke’s Economic Development Committee attended the Economic Forum in Langford. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

Sunday, July 16 ~ WEST SHORE for SOOKE.  An Economic Forum on Saturday July 15 was co-hosted by the City of Langford and the West Shore Developers Association.

Among those attending were economic development leaders from Langford (including Langford EDC Chair Hugh MacDonald) as well as from Sooke (including Randy Clarkson, David Evans and Doug Wittich) where Mayor Young sees further growth potential for the broader west shore region.

Attending from Langford city council were long-time Councillors Denise Blackwell, Lanny Seaton, Winnie Sifert, and Lillian Szpak. From the SD62 school board was their new chair Ravi Parmar, and Trustee Dianna Seaton.

The forum explored innovative approaches to housing and community design, as one way of dealing with affordability in growing communities.

See the FULL ARTICLE on the main page of West Shore Voice News (July 16).

Wednesday, July 12 ~ SOOKE to LANGFORD. Due to a brush fire, Highway 14 (Sooke Road) has been closed to through-traffic both eastbound and westbound since about 3:30 pm this afternoon, July 12. The wildfire was being dealt with in the forest around 4700-block Hwy 14 (near West Coast Tire), just east of Kangaroo Road. One house went up in flames. But no persons, pets or livestock have been harmed.

Five fire departments have sent crews to deal with the brush fire, accompanied by six BC government forestry workers — all with the support of two helicopters. Incident command by Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop. By 6 pm this evening the fire was contained but still active.

The traffic detour along Happy Valley Road, Rocky Point Road and Gillespie Road was still in effect as of 6 pm.

The cause of the brush fire is not confirmed. However, some drivers in the area reported that a motor home was dragging something along the highway, giving off sparks. Langford firefighters reportedly discovered several little spot fires along a 2km stretch of the highway. Highway 14 is heavily traveled by daily commuters, mobile business service providers, transport trucks, and tourist vehicles.

The fire departments of Sooke, Langford and Metchosin just this week agreed to provide mutual aid to each of the others’ municipal areas, in case of a personnel shortfall. Due to a high number of wildfires in the BC interior (on the mainland), some firefighters may be called to deal with that, leaving Sooke, Langford and Metchosin potentially short-staffed.

Some firefighting personnel left the island yesterday for the BC Interior. Firefighters from North Saanich, Sidney and View Royal will be doing shifts of 6 to 14 days in the interior region.

Today in a daily update from the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations it was announced that one of the reasons 300 firefighting personnel have been brought in from other parts of Canada is to give BC firefighters occasional breaks. That’s to help pace the firefighting resources (personnel and equipment) through what is expected to be a high-incidence summer fire season.

As of today, 183 wildfires are burning in BC. That’s down from over 200 on the weekend. Of the current fires, about 20 are ‘of note’ (large enough to cause concern for possible danger to persons and property, and potentially requiring evacuation).

Followup story on page 1 in the July 14, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News .

Sooke Fire Chief & Emergency Program Coordinator Kenn Mount

Monday, July 10 ~ SOOKE.  Firefighting resources are in high demand in this hot dry summer in BC.  Wildfires in the BC Interior are commanding fire resources from wherever they can be spared. About 300 firefighting support personnel are coming to BC from other regions of Canada, to help out with the BC wildfire load.

Yesterday it was also announced that the BC Government is issuing $100 million to the Canadian Red Cross to deal with fire evacuees and related emergency support.

When it comes to Sooke firefighting resources, says Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount: “At the beginning of each year the Office of the Fire Commissioner has a request for resource list that is meant for backup during a state of emergency. At this time we have not been requested for any resources. We are short-staffed ourselves at the moment and have been very busy the last few weeks that we need members in our own area.”

On Sunday July 9 the Sooke Fire Rescue Service responded to two kitchen fires that occurred at the same time.

Discarded cigarette butts are the frequent cause of brush fires and wildfires. “With the fires in the province it is very troublesome to look at the statistics that show how many were human caused. The lack of awareness from the smoking community is very difficult to comprehend in this day and age,” says Chief Mount.

Friday, July 7 ~ SOOKE. This weekend the annual Sooke Philmarmonic Fling outdoor family concert will be held on Sunday, July 9. The concert starts at 2:30 pm at Ed Macgregor Park. It’s free.  Bring lawn chair and sun umbrella, arrive early for a good spot. Food concession and washroom on site.

Premier-designate John Horgan greeting folks at Sooke Canada Day 2017 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Thursday, July 6 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier-designate John Horgan and his cabinet will be sworn in at Government House on July 18, 2017 at 2 p.m.

No MLA names for the new cabinet have been released yet. However it is widely expected that the cabinet will not be comprised exclusively of NDP MLAs, but will also include one or more BC Liberal and BC Green MLAs.

This is part of Horgan’s effort to demonstrate — as he told the Lieutenant Governor — that he has the confidence of the legislative assembly.

“We are excited to deliver on our commitments. That’s why we are working as quickly as possible to give British Columbians the new leadership they voted for,” said New Democrat MLA and transition spokesperson Carole James.

“We’re going to make life more affordable, deliver the services people count on, and create good paying jobs around the province in a sustainable economy that works for everyone.”

Premier-designate John Horgan is the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, which includes Sooke.

Graffiti on the front exterior of Sooke Community Hall being removed by Sooke Councillor Rick Kasper. [West Shore Voice News photo – July 6, 2017]

Thursday, July 6 ~ SOOKE. Community damage and repair!

It’s awful to see graffiti on the front of Sooke Community Hall, defacing of public property and a special community building in town.

Councillor Rick Kasper is out there cleaning it a bit this afternoon. A crew of volunteers is apparently showing up at 7pm tonight (July 6) to do more.

The exterior of the building is vinyl siding. The dark blue thick paint has made its way deep into the crevices of the siding. There’s also a bit of paint on the Heritage Sign about the history of Sooke Community Hall.

Apparently the damage was first discovered on Tuesday night.

Check out the West Shore Voice News editorial on the deeper concerns about this graffiti, in the July 7, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News (page 2).

Wildfire on Mount Quimper Manuel, 9km east of Sooke town centre. [Photo by Rick Armour for West Shore Voice News]

Tuesday, July 4 ~ SOOKE. Smoke above the Sooke Hills was visible this afternoon, with helicopters overhead. A wildfire on Mount Manuel Quimper was well underway by that time.

The sight of smoke was first called in to Sooke Fire Rescue around 1:15 pm, says Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount. The half-acre forest fire was considered partially contained by about 4 pm today, Tuesday July 4.

On-scene to extinguish the blaze were Sooke firefighters (seven members) and crews from the BC Wildfire Service (nine members) and Capital Regional District Parks (7 members).

Including integrated command, there were over 23 personnel plus the two helicopter teams called out to deal with the Rank 2 blaze, which by 5 pm had come close to being Rank 3.

Rank 2 presents as a vigorous surface fire that is starting to move into the ladder fuels on the tree. Rank 3 means there are signs of crowning — i.e. the fire jumping from treetop to treetop.

It took 30 minutes for Chief Mount and one other fire official to reach the site of the blaze, to determine the extent of fire and how to handle it. Crews had to make their way up the hill on this hot day (over 23°C), dragging fire hoses behind them. There is no fire hydrant at Harbourview Rd. Water has had to have been trucked in by the Sooke Fire Department.

Ahead of that, initial crews on site built a hand guard … they built a line with tools where the surface fire can creep along, getting down to the mineral soil so the fire can no longer grow. A wet guard was not possible until water could be brought up the hill, says Chief Mount.

At 6 pm crews were doing a bit of rehab, said Mount, before retackling the fire this evening. “People can still expect to see smouldering by Wednesday morning,” says Sooke Fire Chief Mount.

Mount Manuel Quimper is a popular hiking destination in the Sooke Hills, just east of Sooke (about 9 km from the town core). No residences or other buildings in the area were threatened.

This is the 39th human-caused fire on Vancouver Island this summer so far. The carelessness of hikers and others in the woods is beginning to exasperate firefighting services, who feel that most of these fires could have been avoided.

The Fire Danger Rating for most of Vancouver Island is now High (up from Moderate on the Canada Day long weekend).

A new courtesy vehicle is available at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort.

Monday, July 3 ~ SOOKE. The Prestige Oceanfront Resort is of course in their busy season. A full summer house for the six-year-old hotel: weddings, guests from around the world, and regional visitors out to enjoy the on-water and hiking recreational opportunities.

A new amenity at the 122-room hotel is a large upscale passenger vehicle with the Prestige brand name. The grey 2008 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is prominently parked just out front of the hotel doors, ready for use.

“The car is used to transfer guests if requested, at a cost,” says Prestige Oceanfront Resort general manager Jacob Cramp.

The Sooke boat launch is at the foot of the Prestige driveway. Overflow parking for the boat launch is provided by the District of Sooke off Maple Ave South (with a bit of a hike along a trail, back to the hotel and docks). Parking there is free (though the cost to Sooke taxpayers for that parking area is $24,000 per year). Parking along West Coast Road continues, despite challenges for pedestrians and cyclists to get past the parked cars, trucks, and boat trailers.

Sunday, July 2 ~ SOOKE. The District of Sooke has initiated a new committee to look at how to streamline the process of development applications and building permits. It’s the municipality’s way of trying to support the development of more housing in Sooke.

The Sooke area is considered to be more affordable than other regions of south Vancouver Island. In the real estate statistics for the Greater Victoria area, Sooke certainly does come in lower than almost any other area. This is attractive to those with lower incomes, or people seeking to retire.

The actual raw average single-family home sale price in Sooke in May 2017 was $512,752 (HPI $465,100), compared to $675,843 in Langford (HP $555,300) and $876,910 in Greater Victoria overall (HPI $681,800).

For working commuters, the Sooke area still poses the cost of travel back-and-forth to the core areas of the Victoria area and beyond. Many military families reside in the Sooke area, many of whom commute to the dockyard and naval base in Esquimalt.

Three members of the public will be appointed to the committee by Sooke Mayor Maja Tait. More information is available at . The deadline to apply is 4:30 pm on Friday, July 7.

An overly complex or unnecessarily slow process of handling the intake, paperwork and approvals for development and housing construction has been determined to be an impediment to effective housing development in many communities, not just Sooke. For Sooke, this process of streamlining has now been set as a priority by Mayor and Council.

T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordon Planes and BC Premier-designate John Horgan, July 1 in Sooke [West Shore Voice News photo[

Sunday, July 2 ~ SOOKE.  Yesterday evening at the Sooke Canada Day celebration at Sooke Flats, T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordon Planes had a chance to catch up with local MLA John Horgan (now BC Premier-designate).

Chief Planes earlier in the day in a brief speech to a noon-hour crowd recognized the 150th year of Canadian confederation but also said that for the First Nations, the land is “ours for time immemorial”.

Planes emphasized the importance of maintaining the environment for generations to come “so this place will never change for another 150 years”.

Ahead of that, T’Sou-ke elder Shirley Alphonse gave a blessing ahead of the festivities, including thanks for local MLA John Horgan becoming Premier of BC.

Horgan has been integrally involved with the Sooke area since first (in 2005) becoming MLA of what is now Langford-Juan de Fuca.

John Horgan surrounded by fans in Sooke on Canada Day evening, [Photo West Shore Voice News]

Saturday, July 1 ~ SOOKE. Premier-designate John Horgan was in his home riding this evening, milling with the crowds and getting settled in to listen to the live band and watch fireworks coming up after dusk.

There with his wife Ellie and security in tow, he had flown back by helicopter from his day of politicking at other Canada Day community gatherings in the Lower Mainland, to be in Sooke. Sooke holds an annual Canada Day festival, at ‘Sooke Flats’ down by the Sooke River. It’s an old stomping-ground from younger days for Horgan, and he relaxes, in his element.

Horgan grew up in nearby Langford where he still lives, raised his family, and has served as the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca since 2005.

The evening air was cool but the skies had been bright all day. When Horgan first arrived at 8pm there were about 200 people on the grounds, listening to the band. By 9 pm about 1,000 people were on site.

John Horgan playing football on Canada Day in Sooke. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

Horgan had a chance to throw a football with a young fan on the grounds at Sooke Flats tonight. He did not drop the ball.

Horgan was happily swarmed by groups of young people, even children. He was ably conversant with all of them and posed for selfies. All the political ‘old guard’ was there, for the natural rounds of congratulatory handshakes.

Horgan says he is eager to get down to business. Next week he will be establishing his Cabinet.  He has said since Thursday night after being asked by the Lieutenant Governor to form government, that first things on the list are to eliminate tolls on bridges in Vancouver, add one cent to gasoline for an increase in the carbon tax, start things in motion to increase the minimum wage, and quickly set up a review of the Site C hydroelectric project.

Tonight he told West Shore Voice News that the 50% reduction in Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums would still go into effect in January 2018 (as first promised by the BC Liberals), and that within four years the MSP system will be revamped. A review committee to look at which model of health premiums would work for BC will be established soon, Horgan said. He says there are nine models — i.e. every other province in Canada — to look at. BC is the last province with a fee-based system. All other provinces deal with revenues for health care through the income tax system in one way or another.


Canada Day Sooke, July 1, 2017

Saturday, July 1 ~ SOOKE. There was a strong turnout this morning and ahead of the noon-hour official ceremony at Sooke Flats for Canada Day 150 today in Sooke. Crowds stayed into the afternoon for musical entertainment, food, and chatting with friends and neighbours.

Skies were bright with a light breeze, and no chance of rain. Perfect for Canada’s sesquicentennial on the west coast of Vancouver Island!

After the singing of O Canada by the day’s Elvis impersonator (great voice!) the crowd was in good spirits to hear a few speeches from the dignitaries on the outdoor stage.

T’Sou-ke elder Shirley Alphonse gave the blessing, including thanks for local MLA John Horgan becoming Premier of BC.

Chief Gordon Planes of T’Sou-ke Nation recognized the 150th year of Canadian confederation but also said that for the First Nations, the land is “ours for time immemorial”.  He emphasized the importance of maintaining the environment for generations to come “so this place will never change for another 150 years”.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait and Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) enjoy some Canada Day birthday cake [July 1, 2017 ~ West Shore Voice News photo]

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks declared himself the senior statesman on the stage this year. In previous years he has always tipped his hat in good humour to BC NDP Leader John Horgan as the elder statesman. About Horgan, he said: “What an incredible experience that one of our own can be the Premier”.

Premier-designate John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) will be arriving at the Canada Day Sooke event for 8 pm this evening. He has been spending the day on the Lower Mainland in Port Moody and Surrey.

Fireworks begin after 10 pm. Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount says the display will be even bigger this year, in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) hadn’t made a speech in Sooke in a while (that opportunity was unavailable at the last Sooke Fall Fair), while reminding the emcee and the crowd that he was the driving force in getting name of the riding changed several years ago to include Sooke.

Garrison says Canadians can work together to make a better country, that Canada Day is a time when we can look back as well as look forward. “A window to the future for the next 150 years includes the challenges of climate change and increasing instability in the world,” said Garrison.

“If we all rise to meet these challenges, that will make us all proud to be Canadians.” He noted fairness and solidarity as common values among Canadians. Garrison emphasized the need to be more inclusive of indigenous peoples who “have allowed us to live on their land”.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait thanked the Sooke Lions Club and Sooke Community Association for organizing Sooke Canada Day again this year. She noted about people in Sooke “how we care for each other and give our best in times of need”.

In the context of 150 years for Canada, Tait acknowledged over 100 years of dedicated by the local Sooke Fall Fair and Sooke Fire Department.  Afterward, Mayor Tait said she enjoys the annual Canada Day Sooke event as a way to enjoy meeting everybody and catching up. “And enjoying the sunshine, especially after such a long winter!” Tait was accompanied by her husband and young son.

In addition to Mayor Tait, Sooke Councillors who made it out to the Sooke Flats for today’s events included Bev Berger, Rick Kasper, Brenda Parkinson (who emceed the official event on stage), Kevin Pearson, and Kerrie Reay. 

There was a bit more of a noticeable police presence this year during the late morning and during the official ceremony. This was the first Sooke Canada Day for Sooke RCMP Detachment Commander Jeff McArthur.


Saturday, July 1 ~  BC. Premier-designate John Horgan will be on both the mainland and Vancouver Island this Canada Day 150. He will be celebrating Canada Day with people at community events in Port Moody, Surrey and Sooke.

11:00 am – Port Moody Canada Day, Rocky Point Park, 2800 Murray St, Port Moody

1:30 pm – Surrey Canada Day, Bill Reid Millenium Amphitheatre, 17728 64 Ave, Surrey

8:00 pm – Sooke Canada Day, Sooke River Campground, 2259 Philips Road, Sooke

On Thursday evening, June 29, Horgan was asked by the Lieutenant Governor if he had the confidence of the legislature, and he said that he does. He and the cabinet he is assembling will be sworn in probably this coming week.

Check out the front page of June 30, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News for a summary of how the last few days went down for Horgan in his final steps to the Premiership.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan in the BC Legislature last week.

Thursday, June 29 ~ VICTORIA.  BC NDP Leader John Horgan (Leader of the Official Opposition) arrived at Government House around 7:40 pm this evening, presumably to meet with Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon.

This follows Guichon’s hour-long meeting with BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark whose government lost a confidence vote in the BC Legislature around 5:30 pm this evening.

Clark simply said afterward that the Lieutenant Governor had “retired to make her decision”.

Horgan could very well be the next Premier of BC. A coalition with the Greens could last a while, or another election could happen soon.

Update to come.

Thursday, June 29 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Kids everywhere are invited to head to their library to “Walk on the Wild Side” during Summer Reading Club (SRC) 2017.

Each summer, the Summer Reading Club is a way for kids up to age 12 to help build and maintain their reading skills during the summer.

“It’s really important for kids to get outside, get active, and have fun during the summer,” says Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Executive Director Rosemary Bonanno. “But it’s also so important for them to maintain their reading skills while they’re not in school. With SRC, we make it fun to keep reading right through the summer break — and a little bit of reading each day goes a long way.”

SRC registration includes a package with a reading record, bookmark, stickers, and other goodies. Every time one page of the reading record is completed, a weekly prize draw can be entered. Readers who finish their entire reading record are eligible to receive a special SRC medal and enter a grand prize draw.

This summer, VIRL also offers Read Down Your Fines.  For every reading record page a child completes during SRC, they’re eligible for up to $5 in fines (to a $35 total) to be removed from their library card.

Summer Reading Club and Read Down Your Fines run July 4 to August 22. Registration is free at the library, or online at .

Sooke firefighters handling a brush fire near Galloping Goose trail, June 25 2017 {Photo by Sooke Fire Dept]. From left:  Lieutenant Darcy Abell, Firefighter Simon Gormley, and Training Officer Matt Barney.

Thursday, June 29 ~ SOOKE. It’s hot out there, and summer has begun!  Last weekend it really “felt like the kickoff to summer in Sooke”, says Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount.

“There was a lot of energy in the community. But also some carelessness, causing a lot of effort and work around the community.”

In a span of about five hours last Sunday, June 25, there were four incidents that Sooke firefighters dealt with. It was a hot day (reaching about 30°C) and it meant pulling volunteer firefighters away from family time and personal weekend time.

Chief Mount says the four incidents were well-coordinated and required a complex application of various resources around the region to deal with the rapid-fire sequence of events.

The first call was a roof rescue in East Sooke (where the firefighters kindly helped the fellow finish cleaning off his roof). Firefighters were already out training for rope rescue that day, so the timing was oddly coincidental.

Then there was a brush fire to deal with in the Saseenos area, in the Coopers Cove area. Some kayakers had discarded a hot cigarette butt into the bush along the Galloping Goose trail area.

“The fire was less than an acre in size and we managed it easily. As a Rank 1 surface fire it wasn’t growing rapidly. But it was difficult to access, down the Galloping Goose. We determined it was from cigarette butts from some kayakers in the basin. Passersby on the Galloping Goose were alarming us… some smoke happening… they could smell it and see it. the fire was growing as we were getting there,” says Chief Mount.

Fire Danger Rating is MODERATE in Sooke [June 29 2017 – West Shore Voice News photo]

Meanwhile, there was a medical call in the Sooke core village area. We were close by. Then there was a call-in for a hedge on fire near the ball field in the Sooke River Road area.

That Sunday’s multiple scenarios were “a unique situation”, says Chief Mount, with one apparatus going one way, and the other going the other way, to deal with the two brush fires.

The Fire Danger Rating for Sooke for this coming weekend is MODERATE. But that can change. Chief Mount hopes everyone will use common sense. No tossing of cigarette butts, and remembering to put out campfires.

“There should be no smoking in general,” says Chief Mount. “It’s about health and wellness. In this day and age, do you really need to be smoking and hiking at the same time?”

Canada Day fireworks will be extra-special in Sooke on July 1.

Wednesday, June 28 ~ SOOKE. Fireworks are looking good for 10 pm or possibly 10:15 pm on Saturday July 1 at Sooke Flats.

You’ll be able to see the display from many parts of Sooke. A popular spot is along the Sooke River Bridge and surrounding area. Many people arrive early to get a good spot.

Even though fireworks are listed by Canada Day Sooke as ‘weather permitting’, Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount has been able to give an update today.

Moderate temperatures are a good indicator for the big show going ahead as planned.

“All supplies are ready and getting organized for a good show,” says Chief Mount. He says the display will be bigger than ever before, to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday!

New SD62 Board Chair Ravi Parmar (left) with outgoing Chair Bob Phillips. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, June 28 ~ LANGFORD. Sooke School District 62 (SD62) has a new Board Chair. Ravi Parmar was acclaimed to the position last night, June 27, at a public board meeting.

Parmar’s position starts immediately. Last night after the meeting he was signing paperwork and gearing up for this new responsibility.

At the meeting, outgoing chair Bob Phillips emphasized that “leadership comes from the corporate board, not the chair”. But Phillips is eager to see fresh young leadership in education at the board level, and was actively supportive of Parmar becoming the next chair.

Some of Phillips’ advice upon stepping down was that “boards run better when people can say what they need to say” and that the face of the board should be “multi-faceted, including at events at the schools”. He noted that administrative leadership in today’s digital world carries with it a heavy load of constant contact through email and social media.

Ravi Parmar, 22, is in his first term as an SD62 trustee (elected in November 2014). He is a political science and admin student at the University of Victoria. Phillips has stepped down after two years as board chair, but stays on as a trustee (a position he was first elected to in 1996).

SD62 Trustee and Vice-Chair Dianna Seaton was nominated for the chair position by Trustee Wendy Hobbs (herself a former chair), but Seaton declined saying it was not a good time for her to take on that level of commitment.

In a short speech, Ravi Parmar said he appreciated the leadership opportunity and would not let people down. Present to witness the move of Parmar into the chair’s seat was newly-elected MLA Mitzi Dean (Esquimalt-Metchosin) whose electoral area includes Colwood and Metchosin which are both in the SD62 catchment area. Parmar and Dean are both deep within the John Horgan NDP team.

When asked about his immediate plans, Parmar said: “School board business does slow down over the summer but I do expect with the potential for a new government and our capital and land acquisition needs there may be periods over the summer where the board may meet.” The next regularly scheduled board meeting is scheduled for August 29.

SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge praised Bob Phillips’ leadership and dedication: “Bob has worked extremely hard on development of a strong corporate Board which represents the values of the community and aspirations of parents for their children.” Cambridge said that SD62 has been fortunate to have “solid committed experience on the Board” with three current trustees having previously service as board chair.

Wednesday, June 28 ~ SOOKE/WESTSHORE. Last night the Sooke School District 62 (SD62) board approved a new course for Grades 10 to 12 called Inclusion Support. It’s a class to provide students with experience in Education Assistance.

Apparently some students are already assisting with special-needs students in their classrooms.

SD62 Trustee Denise Riley (chair of the Education Standing Committee) said this is an opportunity to provide course-credit for student efforts in working alongside active EA’s in the classroom.

As well, Riley said it would give SD62 students an edge in applying for post-secondary education in areas that could help them get Educational Assistant (EA) positions in their future careers.

SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge said the setup had been discussed with CUPE, under which EA’s are governed. Also, that many students are already helping fellow students in a peer support function.

SD62 has three large high schools: Belmont Secondary (in Langford), Royal Bay Secondary (in Colwood), and Edward Milne Community School (in Sooke).

“The course will start at Belmont for 2017-2018, but once approved it can be used at any school in the district.  At the moment, only Belmont will be offering it next year,” says Cambridge.

Tuesday, June 27 ~ SOOKE. The next Canada Blood Services clinic coming up in Sooke is on Monday, July 3. That might be inconvenient for some people within the long weekend, but that doesn’t stop the ongoing need for blood!

The clinic has 93 appointments booked so far, with 14 time slots still available. That’s a 86.9% booking rate, but they’re of course hoping for 100%

You can make appointments online at

The clinic runs from from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm at the Sooke Legion, 6726 Eustace Road in town centre. There’s parking in front of the building, as well as across the street in an unpaved municipally-leased lot off Otter Point Road.

Blood supplies are needed all the time across Canada for use in hospitals (for surgeries of all kinds, including after car accidents), for cancer treatment support, and other ongoing health care services.

Gail Hall (left) at a District of Sooke public input session in September 2013, in discussion with Sooke Councillor Kevin Pearson. [Photo by West Shore/Sooke Voice News]

Monday, June 26. Sooke is lucky to have Gail Hall as a highly-participatory citizen in this town.

While not every one of her points about the 2016 Annual Report would have been friendly to the ears of Mayor and Council at tonight’s Council, the depth and breadth of Hall’s overview of Council performance in 2016 was a masterful overview of the not-so-well-met challenges faced by this council last year and into 2017.

Gail Hall began her comments by saying the Annual Report public input session should have been a separate meeting with display boards and an opportunity to discuss the municipal report with staff and other members of the public. As has been done in the past.

“Sticking it in the middle of a regular meeting is inappropriate.” Hall said this decision was “one more failure as far as I’m concerned”. She continued: “2016 is the worst year that I have ever sat through council meetings or anything else to do with this particular council.”
“I don’t see excellence anywhere in this room this year,” said Hall.

In her commentary, Hall explored how committees have been taken away, citing two problems. Having no committees “separates the public away from meetings where things are casual, but more importantly takes away the opportunity for those who sit on committees to learn and maybe come forward next time to run for council.” She added: “There’s no place anymore for the public. You’re supposed to be here for the public.”

Hall’s remarks included a pointed rebuke over the handling of budget items, spending by Mayor and staff on expense accounts, leasing of parking lots that are either not well-used or well-promoted, contracts for roadwork that were not approved by council, and more (in a broad historical context).

“You’re taking away from the average person the ability to take part in this place we live in, and did, at one time, love,” said Hall to the rapt attention of Mayor and Council in a quiet room.

The videotape archive of the June 26 Regular Council meeting will be available on the website. It’s worth listening to.


Sunday, June 25 ~ SOOKE. Over 150 people were lined up for salmon and other tasty lunch items at the 40th Annual Sooke Region Museum open house and salmon barbecue.

The salmon gets grilled over an open fire. A nice warm day for it, and not too much wind.

Right at the noon start, Sooke Council members seen attending among the crowd this year were Rick Kasper, Kerrie Reay and Brenda Parkinson.

The museum got a $64,000 BC Museums Association “Contributions to Canada” grant earlier this year to improve their grounds, build an outdoor artifact display area, and construct some storage and workshop spaces. It was a one-time grant to help celebrate the Canada 150 sesquicentennial. Overall through BC, $7.6 million was granted to museums around the province.

If you’ve missed this year’s short two-hour BBQ, you can still get the flavour of the museum grounds on Thursday nights through the summer at the Sooke Night Market, 5 to 8 pm, to September 1.

Sunday, June 25 ~ SOOKE. One of Sooke’s worst-kept secrets… free salmon barbecue every year outdoors at the Sooke Region Museum as part of the museum’s annual open house (this year their low-key 40th).

Today Sunday June 25 the annual event is being held from noon to 2 pm (one hour shorter than last year).

Could be hot out there. Forecast is for at least 25°C today (yesterday went over 30°C in some area of the west island region).

Last year the salmon was donated by a company from Vancouver. It gets cooked in a traditional First Nations way outdoors, smoky and sizzling!

The usual crowd of local Sooke VIPs usually shows up for the casual food-fine, family-friendly activity. Parking gets a bit crowded.

Officially opening today is the “Seeking Salmon” exhibit within the museum, running to April 2018.

Sun protection: a wide-brimmed hat, full-coverage UV-eyewear and high-SPF sunscreen, plus long sleeves.

Saturday, June 24.  Summer is finally here! The weather forecast includes indications of high levels of UV rays. Dr Louise Morin at Sooke Optometry offers the following information about eye protection when outdoors in bright weather.

We potentially expose our eyes to damage simply by going outside in bright summer light. Over time, the sun’s rays can seriously damage the eyes and surrounding skin, sometimes leading to vision loss and conditions from cataracts and macular degeneration to eye and eyelid cancers.

Some daily protective strategies can help keep our eyes and the sensitive skin around them healthy. It helps to know about certain types of light from the sun that can cause damage:

Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B light: Ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB), powerful, invisible rays with wavelengths shorter than visible light, are the most dangerous parts of sunlight. They can cause cataracts, eyelid cancers and other skin cancers, and are believed to play a part in macular degeneration, a major cause of vision loss for people over age 60. In addition, UV rays can prematurely wrinkle and age the skin around the eyes.

High-Energy Visible Light (HEV light)/Blue Light: HEV light (high-energy visible light in the violet/blue spectrum) is a potential contributor to cataracts and other serious eye maladies. Blue light can damage the retina over time, leading to macular degeneration. The retina is the membrane where images are formed and transmitted to the brain. The macula, the region of sharpest vision located near the center of the retina, is the most likely area to be damaged.

Higher long-term risk has some associative factors: fair skin and lighter eye colour (less of the protective pigment melanin) and getting older. On top of that, if your work or recreation involves prolonged sunlight exposure, that adds to the risk.

UV-effective eyewear is an important part of protecting your eyes:
• Eyewear should absorb and block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB light, and ideally also guard against HEV light.
• Eyewear coverage should be sufficient to shield the eyes, eyelids, and surrounding areas. The more skin covered, the better. Wrap-around styles with a comfortable, close fit and UV-protective side shields are ideal.
• Look for eyewear durability and impact resistance.
• Polarized lenses will eliminate glare, especially when driving, but also out in the snow or on the water, where reflection greatly magnifies glare. Continuing glare can cause fatigue, headaches, and even migraines.
Other summer eye protection tips include:
• Wearing a hat with at least a 3-inch brim all around can block up to half of all UVB rays from your eyes and eyelids. Hats or tinted visors also help block UV from entering your eyes from above.
• Wearing sunscreen on your face is also important, as sunglasses and hats cannot cover your entire face.
• When outside, seek shade, especially between 10am and 4pm when UV rays are strongest.
• Vehicle side windows do not offer as much protection from UV rays, unlike windshields which are usually treated to provide additional UV-A protection.

Sooke Optometry (6726 West Coast Road; open late on Thurs) and Langford Optometry (#105-814 Goldstream Ave, open late on Wed) are both open six days a week.

Friday, June 23.  Summer is here! The weather forecast includes temperatures in the mid-20s for the weekend June 24 & 25, with bright sunny skies. No rain!

The Sooke Country Market runs 10 am to 2 pm every Saturday this summer, in the parking lot at Otter Point Road at Eustace in Sooke town centre.

Also, if you’re into composting, maybe drop in to the ‘Bubbles & Bees’ 25th anniversary celebration at the Compost Education Centre in Victoria on Saturday June 24 (12-3 pm); they’re at 1216 N Park St.

On Sunday June 25, the Sooke Region Museum is holding their 40th annual Open House, together with the annual salmon barbecue. It’s free!  Opening that same day at the museum is the ‘Seeking Salmon’ exhibit about the history and importance of salmon in the Sooke region (exhibit runs to April 2018).

When outdoors this summer, remember all the safety tips… wear a hat, sunscreen and UV-protective eyewear. Remember to stay hydrated (drink water before you feel thirsty). If going on a hike, leave a trip plan with a friend or family member (and stick to the plan)!


Thursday, June 22 ~ TRAFFIC ADVISORY Highway 1 overnight closure – The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure reminds drivers that Highway 1 will be closed overnight between McKenzie Avenue/Admirals Road and the Helmcken interchange while crews install the temporary bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the highway.

The closure will begin at midnight tonight June 22 and the highway will re-open by 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning (Friday, June 23).

Traffic travelling westbound on Highway 1 will still be permitted to turn off the highway onto McKenzie Avenue or Admirals Road. During this time, please use alternative routes and allow for extra time.

The Galloping Goose Trail will remain open but pedestrians and cyclists are asked to please watch for signs and workers.

Current traffic advisories at

Wednesday, June 21 ~ SOOKE.  For a sport that relies on the wind things are happening fast at Sooke Sailing in 2017.

For youth ages 6 to 14, one-week sailing programs/camps are available mid-July and 5-day lessons for ages 14 and up in two-person dinghy sailing are being held at the beginning of July (adults welcome too).

The younger sailors in training will be at Coopers Cove nearby the Rush Adventures/Stickleback spot once again this year. The older crew meets at Mariners Village right in Sooke. “We are sailing almost every Sunday year-round in two-person dinghies,” says Sooke Sailing Association president Gord Fulcher. “Whisper is our day sailor and Windborne our keel boat. That means fun is available for everyone.”

For adults and families there is a 26 ft keel boat available for fun-sail and learn-to-cruise excursions on Sundays and weeknights. Lessons are offered in Basic Cruising and VHF Radio. “Whisper is available weekdays and evenings with Robert Chouinard as the skipper if you want a unique view of Sooke from the Harbour, Basin or Strait of Juan de Fuca,” says Fulcher. “Robert has years of experience and loves to show the intricacies of sailing in an easy way while exploring Sooke waters.”

Also available is the Sooke Sailing Co-op for those that are interested in shared ownership of a boat to reduce cost and learn about sailing with others. Info and sailing dates: 778-425-4030 or


Wednesday, June 21 ~ SOOKE. Public input is being sought by the District of Sooke about their proposed Official Community Plan that is now under development. The municipality is offering several ways to provide input up to June 30:

  • Sooke Municipal Hall, 2205 Otter Point Road – in the lobby, 8:30am to 4:30pm – June 15 to 30
  • Submit comments by email:
  • District of Sooke booth at Sooke Country Market (Otter Point Rd at Eustace): 10am to 2pm on Sat June 24
  • Sooke Night Market (outdoors at the Sooke Region Museum grounds) on two Thursday nights (5:30 to 8pm): June 22 & 29
  • Sooke Library drop-in – 10am to 5 pm (on days the library is open).

What’s an Official Community Plan?

The Official Community Plan (OCP) is the District’s most important planning tool. Its vision helps to influence the way our community grows and develops by guiding how land is used. Land use and development decisions influence all parts of our daily lives, how our community looks and feels as well as where we live, work and play.

As a broad policy framework, the OCP guides planning and decision making about the future of our community, and works together with more detailed strategic action and implementation plans, such as corporate and financial plans, our Town Centre Plan, the Transportation Plan, the Parks Master Plan, and others.

Let’s Talk About Land Use

The first step towards the drafting stage of an OCP includes general descriptions for discussion purposes surrounding land use and Land Use Designations. (LUDs)

Based on feedback received from Council and the public engagement process in the summer and fall of 2016, staff has prepared the draft LUD maps and descriptions which were presented to Council in May 2017.  These are aimed to stimulate conversations and understanding about future land use in Sooke, which will assist with better decision-making, informed by an established planning theory.

What are Land Use Designations (LUD)?

The purpose of a LUD is to ‘match’ the lands in a Plan Area to land use and other goals, objectives and policies set out by the community in the Official Community Plan to help guide current and future decision making.

Find out more about the proposed land use designations at

Wednesday, June 21 ~ NATIONAL – from the west coast.   It’s finally the first day of summer, which seems to have taken longer to arrive due to a dreary long winter and a spring with much more rain than usual. It’s almost as if winter lasted right up until it became summer!

The summer solstice officially marks the first day of summer. This year the solstice arrived at 9:24 pm Pacific Time last night on June 20, making today June 21 the first full day of summer.

On the west side of Vancouver Island it was also quite a windy day yesterday, as if to usher in summer with a bang and with a reminder that the climate is not following stable patterns as it used to.

For health in summer, people are reminded to wear sunscreen for their skin when outdoors, and UV-protective eyewear. Remember to stay hydrated and wear a hat when exposed to sunlight.

Most people’s veggie and herb gardens are well underway already. But now that warm weather is assured it’s a good time for planting any remaining vegetable or herb plants as well as flowers.

On the national political scene, Prime Minister Justice Trudeau has renamed National Aboriginal Day — as recognized each year at the summer solstice —  as National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Tuesday, June 20 ~ SOOKE.  Last night about 20 members of the public attended the District of Sooke Committee of the Whole to overall voice concerns if not outright opposition to two new cell (wireless) monopoles being proposed by Freedom Mobile.

Freedom Mobile is owned by Shaw. They compete in the wireless market against the three big ‘giants’, i.e. Rogers, TELUS, and Bell. Presently, Freedom Mobile customers are clustered in Ontario, Alberta and BC.

In recent months Freedom Mobile had little difficulty in establishing a small non-obtrusive pole in an industrial area of Langford, to boost signals for their customers in that part of the west shore.

After some lengthy presentations from the public about health-related concerns, an impression was left in the room that exposure to transmission waves (radiation) from the towers would be almost likely be detrimental to the health of people in the immediate area of the towers.

The two proposed tower locations are 2614 Otter Point Road and 5154 Sooke Rd. Those are both private-owned properties in areas well set back from the town core.

The public presentations — some of them quite lengthy and repetitive — were non-interrupted by Councillor Bev Berger serving last night as the acting mayor. Councillor Kevin Pearson excused himself from the room during discussion about the 5154 Sooke Rd location (without specifying a reason). Councillor Ebony Logins came right out to declare her opposition to the two monopoles and that she would vote against them when the matter comes in front of Sooke Council on July 10.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was not in attendance at last night’s meeting.

The point made by some in the audience that there is “already enough cell coverage” in the area is to miss the point about facilitating business competition within the wireless industry. Business competition usually ends up benefiting the consumer.

Industry Canada is the authorizing body for where cell towers can be located. Municipal governments have no official say in the matter. However, the District of Sooke pulled out their “Communications Antenna Policy” from 2002, and based on that felt their role was to not only report on the meeting but to provide recommendations to both the federal agency (Industry Canada) and the applicant.

District of Sooke Councillors who were present at the June 19 Committee of the Whole asked for a staff report that will presumably summarize the evening which included presentations from Freedom Mobile as well as the public input and Councillors’ discussion and debate.

To allow time for compilation of that report, the July 10 Council meeting (the only summer meeting of Council) was targeted for receipt of the report. That will be 90 days from the applications made by Freedom Mobile. There is a 120-day window for applications to be received and responded to.

Advisory signage is now operating on Hwy 14 facing westbound traffic that is heading to Sooke. [West Shore Voice News photo – June 18, 2017]

Sunday, June 18 ~ ON THE ROAD TO SOOKE. The remote-controlled Advisory Signage is now operating on the 4-lane section of Highway 14 (Sooke Road).  Sooke commuters have been waiting for this!

The advisory sign faces westbound traffic that is heading to Sooke.

The BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure says the sign messages will provide “important and timely traveller information” regarding delays, road closures and current road conditions. The information will be provided from the traveller information system.

One of the reasons this signage has been long-awaited by regular Sooke commuters is regarding any road closures that may lie ahead. However, while there is a pull-over area just east of the sign, there is no area provided for traffic to turn around.  If someone were to try a U-turn on the 4-lane based on information on the sign about road delays, that could create some dangerous traffic havoc.

The message on the sign today on Sunday June 18 in good weather, was simply ‘Keep your Distance, Drive Safely”.


Saturday, June 17 ~ SOOKE. It’s grad season, and in Sooke the community is celebrating this year’s Grad Class of 2017 at Edward Milne Community School (EMCS).

The grad names were listed in the June 9, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News (page 3). The EMCS Scholarship and Bursary recipients are listed in the June 16, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News (page 5) — in total over $100,000 was received by EMCS students this year toward their continued education in post-secondary.

The 2016-2017 academic year has been a significant one for the school itself. Back in October 2016 the 20th anniversary of the school was celebrated. Then in January 2017 EMCS was the first school visited by BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, to kick off her all-BC-schools tour for Canada 150. Also, this is the final full year for Pat Swinburnson as Principal at EMCS; he will retire part-way through the 2017-2018 academic year, at 2017 year-end.


Thursday, June 15 ~ VICTORIA/Vancouver Island. A recall of Island Farms milk products is open to all affected consumers. Products can be returned with or without a receipt. the recall also applies to products with the brand names Lucerne and Natrel.

Today June 15, the manufacturer — Agropur Dairy Cooperative — initiated a voluntary recall of numerous items in BC that were produced at the Victoria facility. The company said foreign material had been found in some of the products. No injuries or illnesses have been reported. The company said the recall is a precautionary measure.

Customers are advised not to drink the milk and are being asked to return the products to the store for a full refund.

The voluntary recall comes three days after Foremost-brand four-litre milk jugs from two Real Canadian Superstores on Vancouver Island were recalled due to sharp metal objects being found in the milk.

These are the affected Agropur products:

Brand Product Format UPC Distribution
Island Farms 1% Partly skimmed milk 2L 0 57726 00203 0 British Columbia
Island Farms 1% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 57726 00139 2 Vancouver Island only
Island Farms 2% Partly skimmed milk 2L 0 57726 00202 3 British Columbia
Island Farms 2% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 57726 00119 4 Vancouver Island only
Island Farms 1% Chocolate partly skimmed
1L 0 57726 00166 8 British Columbia
Island Farms 3.25% Homogenized milk 2L 0 57726 00201 1 British Columbia
Island Farms 3.25% Homogenized milk 4L 0 57726 00109 5 Vancouver Island only
Island Farms Skimmed milk 2L 0 57726 00204 7 British Columbia
Island Farms Skimmed milk 4L 0 57726 00129 3 Vancouver Island only
Lucerne Skimmed Milk 2L 8 21954 07890 3 British Columbia
Lucerne 1% Partly skimmed milk 2L 8 21954 07892 7 British Columbia
Lucerne 2% Partly skimmed milk 2L 8 21954 07894 1 British Columbia
Lucerne 1% Chocolate partly skimmed
2L 8 21954 07898 9 British Columbia
Lucerne 3.25 % Homogenized milk 2L 8 21954 07896 5 British Columbia
Natrel 1% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 64420 44115 7 Vancouver Island only
Natrel 2% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 64420 44317 5 Vancouver Island only
Natrel 1% Chocolate partly skimmed
1L 0 64420 00199 3 British Columbia
Natrel 3.25% Homogenized Milk 4L 0 64420 44117 1 Vancouver Island only
Natrel Skimmed milk 4L 0 64420 44417 2 Vancouver Island only

Wednesday, June 14 ~ SOOKE.  The number of students in sport academies in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) has been steadily increasing. Registration is still open for most programs.

In the past three years, numbers have increased from just over 500 to an expected 800 participants this fall, says Wayne Kelly, Vice-Principal, Sport Academy Programs.

“Academies help keep students connected to their school,” says Kelly. “There is a high level of interest among students and parents. As the number of students in the district grows, so does demand.”

There are additional credits for graduation through the sport academies. Sometimes doors get opened to opportunities for post-secondary scholarships.

New this year is availability of the Golf Academy at all three highschools in SD62: Belmont, Royal Bay and Edward Milne. Click on ad for more details. Other details and online registration form at

As first published in the June 9, 2017 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News (page 4).


Monday, June 12 ~ SOOKE. There will be an Annual Report Meeting held by the District of Sooke on Monday, June 26 starting at 7pm in council chambers.

Council invites the public to provide comment by telephone or written submission regarding the District of Sooke 2016 Draft Annual Report. Contact: Tel: 250.642.1634 Email:

The 2016 Annual Report includes the 2016 audited financial statements, a schedule of 2016 tax exemptions, and information on services, objectives, and measures used to determine the District’s success in meeting the objectives.

The full report is available for download at

Sunday, June 11 ~ SOOKE.  Last weekend the Edward Milne Community School (EMCS) Grade 12 Graduation Ceremony was held at the Farquhar Auditorium at the University of Victoria.

Check out the list of all EMCS grad names in the June 9 issue of West Shore Voice News — you’ll find that feature on page 3.

Next week in the June 16 issue all the scholarship and award winners will be listed. They tally to about $100,000. The EMCS Awards Night will be held on Thursday, June 15 in the theatre at EMCS, starting 7pm.

Injured flagger lifted by first responders from ditch on Sooke Road June 8. WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS photo.

Thursday, June 8 ~ LANGFORD. Today around 12:15 pm West Shore RCMP responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a single vehicle and traffic flagger on Sooke Road and Luxton Avenue.

Initial reports from witnesses were that the flagger was attempting to stop a vehicle travelling in the east bound lane when she was struck by a small grey hatchback.

The impact of the collision sent both the vehicle and flagger into the ditch.

Emergency personnel including BC Ambulance Service and Langford Fire Department attended the scene and facilitated the rescue of the flagger who was transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries but which included a broken leg according to Langford rescue personnel.

This incident is a reminder to all motorists to take extra caution in construction zones and highway projects where flaggers and work crews are working, states Corporal Chris Dovell, spokesperson for the West Shore RCMP.

This collision remains under investigation by the West Shore RCMP Traffic Unit and Worksafe BC.

[Photo submitted by a West Shore Voice News reader, thank you!].

Construction continues along Hwy 1 for the McKenzie Interchange. [Photo May 23, 2017 by West Shore Voice News]

Thursday, June 8 ~ VICTORIA AREA. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has issued a traffic advisory about McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 construction closures coming up next week.

Between Monday June 12 and Friday June 16, travellers are advised of overnight closures, detours and delays on McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 as part of the McKenzie interchange construction.

The following closures will allow crews to install the Galloping Goose Trail bridge over McKenzie Avenue and the temporary pedestrian/cyclist bridge over Highway 1:

> Monday, June 12, from 11 p.m. to Tuesday, June 13, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
Tuesday, June 13, from 11 p.m. to Wednesday, June 14, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
> Friday, June 16, from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Highway 1 will be closed between McKenzie Avenue / Admirals Road and the Helmcken interchange.

MOTI says that every effort will be made to open these routes as quickly as possible, as soon as it is safe for both the construction crews and the travelling public. The work schedule may change due to weather and other conditions.

All travellers including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are advised to plan alternative routes and to allow for extra time. Please also obey traffic control personnel and construction speed limits, and watch for workers and highway message boards. For up-to-date traffic advisories:

The interchange, when complete, is expected to improve travel times between core areas, Saanich and the western communities of Colwood, Langford and beyond to Sooke.

Monday, June 5 ~ SOOKE. As Sooke’s population grows, so does the demand for various modern services. And mobile wireless services are certainly an integral part of modern living.

As part of the growing market for affordable wireless, Freedom Mobile Inc is proposing two monopole type telecommunication towers for the Sooke region. The first is a 50 m tower for installation on private property at 2614 Otter Point Road in Sooke west of the town core. The other is 45 m in height, proposed for placement on private property at 5154 Sooke Road, east of the town core. The proposed structures would provide wireless coverage for the community of Sooke within a few kilometres of the proposed location.

The proposals will be presented by Freedom Mobile reps at a District of Sooke Committee of the Whole meeting, coming up June 19 (7pm in Council Chambers).

Freedom Mobile Inc (formerly Wind Mobile) is owned by Shaw. It is the fourth largest mobile provider in Canada, with presently over one million active users that are presently clustered in urban areas of Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Of the more than 30 million wireless users in Canada, 90% are served by ‘the big three’ providers: Bell, Rogers and TELUS.

Freedom Mobile is known for its uncomplicated flat-fee pricing, no data overage, and straightforward renewal policies. They take pride in claiming to be keeping wireless costs under control. Canada has among the highest wireless charges in the world, in large part due to the infrastructure costs to serve a relatively sparse population over a vast geographical area.

This article was first published on page 5 in the June 2, 2017  issue of West Shore Voice News.

Friday, June 2 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is announcing new initiatives this summer, in recognition of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. VIRL’s Read for Reconciliation offers a curated list of titles by indigenous authors that stimulate awareness, foster discussion, and facilitate a culture of learning.

June is National Aboriginal month and VIRL branches are hosting a range of programs and events in recognition and celebration of the vital role of indigenous communities. VIRL is also running a social media campaign, with the hashtag #Read4Reconciliation, as part of the campaign.

“As community hubs, libraries have an important role to play in both celebrating all that makes our country great, and in the healing and reconciliation that must occur so that we can all move forward under a common umbrella of understanding and unity,” said VIRL Executive Director, Rosemary Bonanno. “VIRL is committed to embracing and learning from our indigenous communities. We are also very excited to be part of the celebrations that are sweeping the country on Canada’s 150th anniversary.”

For Canada’s 150th, VIRL is launching a booklist of 150 titles from across the country and a mobile library that is travelling to events across Vancouver Island to promote library services. The mobile library will allow people to sign up for a library card, check out library materials (from the Read for Reconciliation and Canada 150 lists, and materials related to each event), purchase library swag, and test out VIRL’s new Virtual Reality.

At the mobile library, everyone will have an opportunity to be part of an exciting oral history project that aims to tap into and curate the rich tapestry that is our Island, and celebrate the stories and histories that unite us all. We will be recording 150-second stories at the community events and at all 39 branches.

The VIRL mobile library will be at the following events:

  • Port Alberni – Farmer’s Market – Saturday, June 17 – 9am–1pm
  • Nanaimo – Multiculturalism Day (One Community: Our City. Our Stories) – Tuesday, June 27 – 7–9pm
  • Downtown Duncan Day – Saturday, July 15 – 10am–6pm
  • Vancouver Island Exhibition – August 18, 19, 20

The complete Read for Reconciliation Booklist is available at and the Canada 150 materials are available at .

DeMamiel Creek Golf Course is owned and operated by SEAPARC.

Tuesday, May 30 ~ SOOKE.  DeMamiel Creek Par 3 Golf Course in Sooke is a 9-hole course. “Most everyone plays it twice, or 18 holes,” says SEAPARC Chair Mike Hicks.

The fee to play the first 9 is $15, and then $10 for the next 9 (repeating the course for a second time): total $25 for 18 holes.

And the seniors rate $15 for two rounds or 18 holes, Monday to Friday, says Hicks. That decision was made by the SEAPARC Commission at their May 18 meeting, after seeing that the initial Mon/Wed offering was popular with seniors.

By offering the discount to senior (age 60+) golfers on weekdays, SEAPARC hopes to spread out the volume of course usage. Youth are getting into the act too! Students from both Journey Middle School and Edward Milne high school were utilizing the course for golfing programs.

Hicks says the course is in beautiful shape: “All systems are go and it is tremendous to see the great enthusiasm and support from the seniors, schools and residents throughout the Sooke and the Capital Region.”

Bookings & more info:

Tuesday, May 30 ~ SOOKE. Children and families can be active throughout the summer at SEAPARC Leisure Complex in Sooke!

The summer splash pass is one of many ways SEAPARC provides affordable recreation options for the community and children to be active. Only $31.50 for two months — July 2 to September 4, for youth ages 7 to 18. The pass provides unlimited drop-in access to the pool all summer.

Also on this summer at SEAPARC are fitness, pool and aqua drop-in, golf, and bike park for all ages. The Monday to Friday summer camps for school-age kids run for nine weeks starting July 4 (see pg 15-19 in the SEAPARC guide). Specialty camps offer activities in art/dance, ecoquest & hiking, and sports.

This summer there are Play in the Parks camps offered on a drop-in basis at Journey Middle School, Broomhill Park, and at SEAPARC (see pg 21 in the SEAPARC program guide). Those run July 4 to August 30 (except Aug 7) Monday-Thursday 11 am to 3 pm for ages 7 to 12, for $3 per drop-in per day.

Plus adult and senior programs, and swim classes.

Monday, May 29 ~ SOOKE. Tonight May 29 at Sooke Council (as Committee of the Whole):

  • An update about the proposed new Official Community Plan (OCP) including balkanization of Sooke into ‘neighbourhoods’.
  • A new Community Development and Engagement Committee is up for consideration. The committee would be comprised of 3 members of council and 3 members of the public to consider building permits, processes, forms and policies.
  • A proposed municipal travel expense policy (not updated since 2008).
  • Also, Sooke Fall Fair president Ellen Lewers will address Sooke Fall Fair traffic flow. Last year quite a lot of trouble and expense was undertaken to accommodate the 2-day event in Sooke town centre.

The meeting commences at 7 pm (following a special in-camera meeting of Council that starts at 6:30 pm). Agenda and live webcast:

Saturday, May 27 ~ SOOKE. Today at Sooke Community Hall there will be the first Zero Waste Sooke Repair Cafe, from 9 am to 1 pm.

Bring items for repair or drop by to find out how to repair something. There will be a demonstration of how a 3D printer works.

Friday, May 26 ~ SOOKE. District of Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount reminds residents that open burning in the District of Sooke is only permitted until sundown on May 31, 2017.

From June 1 to September 30 all open air burning of yard and garden debris is prohibited. Cooking campfires that are no larger than 2’ X 2’ are still allowed (unless there is a campfire ban in place), but must be extinguished by 1:00 am.

As always, beach fires within the District of Sooke are prohibited. Propane campfires and BBQ’s are allowed.

For further information, contact the Sooke Fire Rescue Department at 250-642-5422. For further details visit the ‘Burning Regulations’ page at

Thursday, May 25 ~  SOOKE. Park Watch patrollers are in their 17th year of helping to protect vehicles while visitors enjoy regional parks and beaches at Matheson Lake, Aylard Farm & Pike Road entrances to East Sooke Park, Sooke Potholes, French Beach, China Beach and Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew.

Park Watch hands out an information brochure in the parks. Coordinator is Marie Mills.

SD62 School Board Chair Bob Phillips [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, May 24 ~ West Shore/Sooke. Long-time Sooke School District (SD62) trustee board trustee Bob Phillips will be resigning from the position of board chair at the end of June 2017. He made that brief announcement at the May 23 SD62 public board meeting last night in Langford.

Phillips has told West Shore Voice News that the SD62 board is “a corporate board”, indicating his inclination for more direct involvement in politics. Phillips is long of the NDP party stripe and was a key organizer in the re-election of BC NDP incumbent John Horgan (Langford-Juan de Fuca) in the recent provincial election.

Most of the trustees on the SD62 board have served long a long time, some of them three or four terms, including Wendy Hobbs, Denise Riley, Dianna Seaton (currently serving as vice-chair). and Margot Swinburnson. Neil Poirier is serving his second term, and Ravi Parmar his first term.

In the important matters of education, the wisdom of life experience counts for sometimes as much as understanding the machinations of board interworkings.

A social worker (retired) by trade, Phillips has overseen a contrast of conditions for SD62 budget realities in the past two years. In 2015-2016, the SD62 board agonized over yet another round of cutbacks resulting from province-wide education battles with the BC Ministry of Education. In 2016-2017 came the shift point where more teachers could be hired (mostly heading into fall 2017).

More appropriate funding is also now being received for 2017-2018 to support schools with the underpinnings that come with increased classroom teacher numbers (e.g. custodial, utilities overhead). That accomplishment comes largely from behind-the-scenes work by SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge.

Over 200 new teachers will come onstream in SD62 for 2017-2018 as a result of the restored class size and composition clauses in the BC teachers agreement with the provincial government.

In the past few years, SD62 has seen rapid student population growth as families flock to relatively more affordable areas of Vancouver Island’s western communities. In the fall of 2015, SD62 opened two new highschools — Royal Bay in Colwood and Belmont in Langford. Both of those schools already need portable classrooms to keep up with demand. At least 25 portables will be shuffled around the broad SD62 footprint of the west shore, once enrollment numbers are firmed up for the start of the 2017-2018 academic year in September.

From a public perspective, SD62 serves families and students in the communities of Langford, Colwood, Sooke, Highlands, Metchosin and Port Renfrew. From the inside out, SD62 is a largely charged with managing the employment of thousands of teachers. Over 85% of the 2017-2018 budget will go to teacher salaries.

Follow education news ‘from the inside out’ each week in West Shore Voice News 

[WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS PHOTO: Bob Phillips during the visit of the BC Lieutenant Governor at Edward Milne Community School, January 2017]

Monday, May 22 ~ WEST SHORE. Blood is of course needed year-round. In summer the supplies of donated blood can be lower than needed, due to donors being away on vacation. Blood supplies are always needed in hospitals for emergencies and surgeries, and for cancer patient support.

Here are some local BLOOD DONOR CLINICS that are coming up ahead of the full-on summer vacation period:

  • Monday June 12 at Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Ave, Colwood. 12 noon to 7pm
  • Monday July 3 at Sooke Legion, 6726 Eustace Rd, Sooke. 11:30 am to 6:30 pm.

You can make donation appointments at

Monday, May 22 ~ SOOKE. The CASA Community Garden renovation and clean-up event will be held Sunday May 28. Events that day include permaculture, spiral garden, keyhole garden, raised bed-making, stone painting.

To volunteer, contact the coordinator or simply show up at the event starting at 10 am at 6672 Wadams Way. Parking space available and light refreshments will be provided.

Plant and seed donations can be left at the gazebo at the CASA Community Garden anytime.

Contact Christine Bossi, SRCHN Coordinator or  250-858-3458.

Sunday, May 21 ~ SOOKE.  This has been ‘Be Tire Smart’ Week in Canada, May 15 to 21.

At Dumont Tire in Sooke, Jason Dumont and his team are busy as people get their vehicles checked and repaired for the summer season. Dumont also reminds people that it’s not just vehicles that need attention to tires. They also check, repair and replace tires on garden tractors, lawn mowers, wheel barrow and RV’s.

Here are some tips about lowering your environmental impact and saving money by checking tire pressures monthly to ensure they are set at the vehicle manufacturer’s
specified level.

Under-inflated tires waste about 500 million litres of fuel each year in Canada. That’s enough fuel to power 275,000 vehicles for an entire year.

Measuring and adjusting tire pressure is a four-step process:

  • Find the right inflation pressure by wheel position on the vehicle placard, which is commonly located on one of the vehicle’s inside door posts, or inside the glove compartment or fuel door. Consult the owner’s manual for the exact location.
  • Measure pressure when the tires are cold. If you have been driving, wait three hours before measuring tire pressure. Tires heat up when rolling, so if they are measured after driving more than 2 km, the pressure reading will be inaccurate.
  • Use a reliable tire gauge when measuring pressure. Doing just a visual inspection is not effective to measure tire pressure. A tire can be under- or over-inflated by 20% or more and not be noticeable. Remove the cap from the valve stem, press the tire gauge onto the valve and take the pressure reading.
  • Add air until the recommended air pressure is achieved. If the tire gets overfilled, release air by pushing on the metal stem in the centre of the valve, then re-measure the pressure.

Chronic under-inflation can carve as much as 15,000 km off the service life of a tire, adding to tire replacement costs and the number of scrap tires.

Sunday, May 21 ~ SOOKE. Seeking Salmon is an exhibit on the significance of salmon to humans and the Sooke region.  It’s part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations at the Sooke Region Museum.

“Like no other animal, salmon interact with all human value systems; intrinsic, aesthetic, cultural, ecological, recreational, economic, spiritual, political, nutritional and social. There is no species more ‘valuable’ in Canada’s Pacific Ocean,” it is quoted from

The 10-month exhibit will take a look at how salmon impact many of these human value systems, specifically within the Sooke region. Several of the topics that will be explored in the exhibit include: industry and community growth, food sources and culinary arts, hatcheries, fishing, First Nations, cultural and spiritual practices, healthy streams, species protection, bi-catch, and art.

Visitors can expect to see artifacts, photographs, fishing equipment, metal sculptures and other art forms. In addition to using materials from our own collection, we welcome the Sooke community to share their treasures and photographs with us for display in this exhibit. In particular we are looking for unique and historical fishing equipment and art inspired by salmon.

One of the goals is to build a replica ocean with swimming salmon, and other creatures using local metal art. Those who would like to share their knowledge and objects with the museum, may contact curator Brianna Shambrook at the museum at or 250-642-6351 .

The exhibit will open on the same day as the museum’s annual Open House and salmon barbeque, this year on Sunday June 25, 2017. Typically, the museum’s summer exhibits end in September. However, this year the exhibit will extend into 2018, right up to April 1 next year.

[Photo: a sample salmon display tank]

Saturday, May 20 ~ SOOKE.  Six winning entries from local EMCS students in poetry and short fiction are included in a new book called Write from Sooke – Sooke Writers’ Collective Anthology Four.

A live reading will be held on Sunday May 28 atht he Sooke Region Museum outdoor pavilion, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. It’s free, and open to anyone who would like to attend.


Sooke Lake Reservoir at the top of the dam’s spillway, May 15 (CRD photo).

Friday, May 19 ~ GREATER VICTORIA.  The annual mid-year CRD reservoir decline has begun.

And as of May 1, the Capital Regional District (CRD) Stage 1 water conservation bylaw is in effect (to Sept 30). It’s part of an annual strategy to maintain water supplies for Greater Victoria through the drier months of the year.

In 2015 and 2016 in which warmer drier weather came earlier than it has this year, the level of water in the Sooke Lake Reservoir began its annual seasonal decline as of April 19 (99.8%) and April 10 (99.5%), respectively. This year, the first measurement below 100% was seen a bit further into spring, on May 7 (99.6%). The full pool level of Sooke Lake Reservoir is 186.75m, serving a CRD-region population of about 380,000.

According to weather forecasts, this Victoria Day long weekend will offer the first couple of sunny days in 2017 with temperatures in the high teens. In warmer weather, there tends to be more water usage.

Stage 1 conservation allows residential lawn watering twice a week (even addresses on Wed/Sat and odd addresses Thurs/Sun). Established plantings and vegetable gardens may be watered by a hand-held hose with shut-off or hand-held container, or micro/drip irrigation system, on any day at any time. Municipalities may water lawns and boulevards on Monday and Fridays [1am to 10am & 7pm to 10 pm].

Photo: Sooke Lake Reservoir (at top of the dam’s spillway), May 15. | This article was first published in the May 19, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.

Friday, May 19 ~ SOOKE.  Fight the throwaway culture and get stuff fixed at Zero Waste Sooke’s Repair Cafe on Saturday, May 27. Local volunteer repair experts equipped with tools and knowledge will gather downstairs at Sooke Community Hall, 9am-1pm. Their mission: To ensure as many malfunctioning local household items as possible are repaired and put back into productive use. Bonus: It’s all free!

Organized by Zero Waste Sooke, the family-friendly event welcomes locals to bring broken items for repair — lamps, hair dryers, clothes, electronic appliances, furniture, bikes, toys and crockery included. No guarantees, but more than likely these items can be repaired by the specialists. And if not, well, no harm, no foul, no cost in making the effort.
“We trash mountains of stuff on this planet,” says Zero Waste coordinator Wendy O’Connor. Things can be repaired. “We’ve been convinced by manufacturers that its somehow easier to buy the latest, greatest models,” she says. Skills-training cafes demonstrate that items can be maintained over the long term.

Volunteers confirmed so far include Wendy and Paula Johanson (fabrics), Bernie Klassen and Elgin Ambrose (wood products), Garrath Morgan and his dad Chris (small appliances), and Cast Iron Farm‘s Jeremy Newell.

Other attractions: “Community Mike” Russell and his 10-year-old son Kasian will host bike repair clinics for adults and kids respectively. Marion Pettinger will offer mini-workshops on kombucha. Triston Line of EMCS Robotics and the school’s Makerspace planning team will introduce 3D printing. And Bernie will demonstrate DIY silk-screening techniques. There will also be a fun work station where youngsters can safely participate in building their own takeaway bat houses.

Additional volunteer fixers welcome. Check in with team leads Bernie and Wendy:
Repair Cafes have become increasingly popular around the world since the first was held in Amsterdam in 2009. Several now take place regularly on Vancouver Island and this will be the debut cafe in Sooke. Operating with a license from Repair Cafe International, Zero Waste is also planning a cafe for Sooke’s new Makerspace to open at EMCS this fall.

This article was first published in the May 19, 2017 MAY LONG WEEKEND issue of West Shore Voice News

The BC NDP won 41 seats in the May 9 BC General Election. Final count comes May 24.

Tuesday, May 16 ~ BC. BC’s Official Opposition Leader John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) met with media at 4pm today. 

When asked about his stand on the TransMountain pipeline, he said “we need to defend our coast from a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic” and that he would discuss the issue with Prime Minister Trudeau if the NDP becomes the majority government in BC after the BC Election recount (results expected May 24).

Horgan said he is eager to see the final election results involving over 170,000 absentee ballots after which “I can’t wait to get started”.

Meanwhile, Horgan aims to continue focussing on services that people in BC want such as improvements in health care and services for seniors. “My whole objective of my getting into politics was to make life better for people,” Horgan told media today. “I’m still involved and still want to do that.”

Regarding Premier Clark’s comments today about working to improve services for people in BC, Horgan said. “That message clearly has been lost on the liberals for the last 16 years.” He said there have been “no shortage of opportunities” for the government to work on behalf of the people.

Horgan said that almost 60% of those who voted were saying to the government they the people haven’t believed the government is working for them, that they were “more focussed on fundraising than on governing”.

“Almost 60% of the ballots were cast against the sitting government,” said Horgan, referring to the combined voting results of the BC NDP and the BC Greens.

And on proportional representation: “What we have is a real opportunity to demonstrate why proportional representation can work here in BC. We have an outcome that allows two parties with vast majorities to work together with opportunities for the people,” said Horgan today. “People satisfied with the election results and want to make sure this minority situation works.”

In his time with media today, Horgan took the opportunity to mention his visit to Sooke this past weekend, to attend one of the Sooke Community Choir concerts at Sooke Community Hall.

See post-election analysis “Part One” in the May 12, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.

Tuesday, May 16 ~  GREATER VICTORIA. BC Transit is looking for drivers — customer-focused and safety-conscious individuals who are passionate about serving the local community to join the Transit Operator team in Victoria.

A paid 9-week training program is provided for learning how to operate every kind of bus in the fleet. Trainees will be supported to earn a Class 2 commercial license with air brakes.

“Bring your passion for driving, and we’ll do the rest,” says one BC Transit rep. The career opportunity is considered to be challenging and rewarding, with competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits.

The six core values for employees are safety, customer service, sustainability, collaboration, integrity and innovation.

Monday, May 15 ~ WEST SHORE. About 2,500 students from 17 elementary schools throughout SD62 (Langford, Colwood, Sooke) will be converging on Belmont Secondary in Langford to hear the Victoria Symphony Orchestra live!

The event is on Thursday May 18 in the school gym. The special appearance by the symphony — in three concerts, taking up most of the day — was set in motion by SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge last year, says Belmont principal Ray Miller.

Events like this capture the interest of young students who might then become more involved with music during their middle school and high school years.

‘Musicians in Schools’ and ‘Symphony Story Time’ are just two of the programs by which the Victoria Symphony interacts in schools.

Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island, BC

Monday, May 15 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Over the May long weekend, access to the parking lot at Sombrio Beach will be temporarily restricted for safety measures, as in previous years, to discourage illegal activities such as parties and vandalism, as announced today by the BC Ministry of Environment.

Unauthorized activities within the park can impact the social, economic, cultural and ecological sustainability of both the park and the local communities.

The 2.5-kilometre gravel access road off Highway 14 to the parking lot at the Sombrio Beach trailhead will be closed to vehicle traffic from 7 am on Friday, May 19 to 12 am (midnight) on Monday, May 22.

All locations within Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, including the designated campsites at Sombrio Beach and the Juan de Fuca Marina Trail, remain open to the public.

The three remaining trailheads to the Juan de Fuca Trail at China Beach, Parkinson Creek and Botanical Beach are still accessible by vehicles.

BC Parks wants all park users to peacefully and safely enjoy recreational activities that Sombrio Beach and Juan de Fuca Provincial Park are known for, such as hiking, camping and wildlife viewing.

Monday, May 15 ~ SOOKE.  What’s wrong with the scene in this picture? The street-name sign at Maple Avenue South and Grant Road West in Sooke has gone missing! And the STOP sign is facing in the wrong direction!

The District of Sooke has been notified and will be working on a replacement.

This sort of vandalism is a cost to municipal taxpayers and an inconvenience to drivers.

Maple Avenue South serves as a main thoroughfare from West Coast Road up to Grant Road West. The vantage point in this photo is for westbound traffic on Grant Road West, turning left (south) onto Maple.

Saturday, May 13 ~ SOOKE/West Shore.  About 1,244 student riders have registered so far, for transport to and from school by bus in SD62 in 2017-2018.

That’s about 38% of the expected total registrations, said SD62 Chair Bob Phillips at the SD62 Education Committee of the Whole meeting on May 10.

Registration has been open online since May 1, but will be temporarily suspended at May 31. That’s so bus routes can be sorted vis-a-vis population shifts with new housing developments especially in the Langford and Colwood areas.

Parents will be advised of bus route assignments at the end of June, says Phillips.


Thursday, May 11 ~ COASTAL BC. BC Ferries is adding over 85 extra sailings on the most popular routes for the Victoria Day long weekend: Thursday May 18 through Tuesday May 23.

That includes the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route (60 extra sailings), Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay, Horseshoe Bay-Langdale, Earls Cover-Saltery Bay.

The most popular travel times are expected to be Thursday and Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning. Monday is usually the busiest day for return trips.

Staff at the TD Sooke branch celebrated 5 years!

Thursday, May 11 ~ SOOKE.  The TD Canada Trust branch in Sooke opened with big fanfare five years ago.

The high-profile celebration in 2012 was held in the newly-constructed TD building on Sooke Road. Featured among the festivities that day was an opportunity to sit in the well-known TD large green leather chair to get your photo taken. There are only five of those chairs across Canada.

This year the celebration was a little more low-key. All available staff were called in for the day today, for balloons and snacks, and a chance to share memories. The branch continues to grow.

There have been four branch managers, starting with York Langerfeld to open the branch in May 2012, followed by Jay Rona, Mark Doberstein and presently Erich Falk.


Thursday, May 11 ~ SOOKE. This weekend catch the Spirit Train! Three concerts by Sooke Community Choir will be held at Sooke Community Hall on May 12, 13 and 14 (Fri/Sat at 7:30 pm and Sun at 2 pm).

The repertoire in the three-concert series is comprised of spirituals and soul-stirring powerful music by legendary songwriters including Woody Guthrie, The Beach Boys, and Billy Joel. Artistic director Bruce Ruddell is excited about the new custom programme for this spring concert.

In this year’s round of community grants, the Sooke Community Choir received funding from the District of Sooke to purchase new sheet music.

Tickets $20 adults, $15 seniors; admission free for youth under 14 free. Tickets at Shoppers Drug Mart, The Stick in the Mud, and at the door.

Christy Clark has been asked by the Lieutenant Governor to carry on as Premier.

Wednesday, May 10 ~ BC. BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon has requested that Premier Clark continue to govern as Premier of British Columbia. Clark made the announcement at noon today from her Premier’s office in Vancouver.

The vote count from last night’s General Election tally sits at 43 BC Liberal, 41 BC NDP, and 3 Green until a final count is produced on May 23 (which will include the absentee ballot count from around the province and any BC military/residents abroad).

Many people didn’t realize that if they took advantage of the “28 days of voting” at District Electoral Offices and by other means, that their vote would not be included yet in election-night tallies. The preliminary count of certification envelopes containing absentee ballots province-wide is 176,104.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has congratulated Clark for being the first woman to be re-elected as a provincial premier.

The NDP and Greens could bring down the present BC Liberal government and form a new one when the legislature meets. Much of the punditry is enthused about Green Leader Andrew Weaver holding the power card. He could decide to go along with the BC Liberals and the existing setup or side with the NDP to consolidate the progressive vote. Either way, all this is a potential powder keg for seeing another BC election ahead of the usual four-year schedule.

BC NDP Leader delivered a speech that emphasized waiting for definitive election results.

Wednesday, May 10 ~ BC. While in a sense there can only be one winner, the leaders of BC’s three main political parties each delivered an acceptance speech after midnight on Wednesday May 10.

And technically speaking, at the moment, a minority government is what is presently the case with no one party in the May 9 BC General Provincial Election having the required 44 seats to form a majority. The BC Liberals have 43 seats, the BC NDP have 41, and the Greens have three.

The late hour was all about waiting for definitive results from the Tuesday night election. But that was not to be. With so many advance votes and absentee votes still to be counted (as well as an official recount required in Courtenay-Comox due to a very close results), final results won’t be known until May 23.

Under those circumstances, BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark is still Premier, and said in her speech that the voters asked for new considerations. BC NDP Leader John Horgan claimed the moral victory in his speech out of Vancouver, saying voters have asked for change. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver knows that he has a powerful hand to play, in that his new group of three MLAs in a sense hold the balance of power.

Horgan acknowledged the support of his home riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca in his speech from the Vancouver Convention Centre.

More to come.

Tuesday, May 9 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Preliminary Voting Results (after 8 pm):

We are posting the results as they come in, with final May 9 results on May 10 as any advance voting counts roll in (and ultra-final after May 23, after all ‘absentee’ votes are counted):

LANGFORD-JUAN DE FUCA (voters in Langford, Highlands, Sooke and Juan de Fuca):

CANDIDATE PARTY General Election Vote Tally confirmed at May 11, 2017 Final Vote Tally May 9 (will be updated after May 23)
Scott BURTON Libertarian  1.03%
John HORGAN BC NDP (incumbent)  52.78%
Willie NELSON Vancouver Island Party  0.96%
Cathy NOEL BC Liberal  26.35%
Brendan RALFS BC Green  18.87%

BC NDP Leader John Horgan has won his long-time riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca (52% of vote) over two new-to-politics candidates: BC Liberal Cathy Noel (26%) and Green Brendan Ralfs (19%).

There’s a tie at the moment (10:10 pm): BC Liberals 42 and NDP 42 ridings (with Greens 3), but the leading edge has flipped back and forth all night. A total of 44 or more is required to form a majority government.

Horgan’s home team in Langford-Juan de Fuca is excited about John “sweeping in” though “it’s kind of weird when he’s not around”, said one of the lead organizers, referring to John Horgan being in Vancouver on election night. “Provincially there’s a lot of excitement – so much better this time. We hope that the advance vote will come out in our favour.”

Campaign organizer Ravi Parmar said “we never took anything for granted”, adding that “John was able to join us by Skype and talk to volunteers”. “We’re honoured and thankful for those who supported him and glad he will be serving Langford-Juan de Fuca for another 4 years,” said Parmar.

Advance votes still being counted, which historically has been an NDP strong suit. “Numbers are still coming in from Sooke, and other ridings that are close will also have similar results. It shows our base came out,” said Parmar in a phone interview with West Shore Voice News this evening.

Horgan held on to most of the count that he had (54% in 2013).

BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel with 26% of the vote says she is “very proud of the job I’ve done as well as the whole team. We didn’t win but I won,” she said on Tuesday evening. “This got me into the political arena. I met so many people. And I have learned so much. And there is so much to be done,” Noel said from her celebration party over the phone.

Will she do more with the BC Liberals? “I’m not sure yet. But I will assess my next step and what next door I walk through. I want to be involved. I believe in this community. Things have to be done. I’m looking at municipal or provincial,” said Noel.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know Sooke—across the riding is huge. It’s diverse and unique, From knocking on the doors I learned that everyone wants something for their community and they just need a voice,” says Noel. “There’s Sunriver, and old and new Sooke. It’s a diverse population.”

It’s sad that it’s so close for the parties (tied at 42/42 as of 10:45 pm).  “I don’t believe the NDP will deliver without causing huge tax increases. I haven’t met John Horgan, but I don’t believe that he’s telling the truth. To look into his eyes is important to me,” said Noel.  She adds that she ran a clean campaign and didn’t over promise.

Green Candidate Brendan Ralfs will be back to his day job next week. But tonight he’s happy about winning 19% of the vote in Langford-Juan de Fuca.

“People came forward to volunteer and we should be able to get a strong Green Party riding association going in Langford-Juan de Fuca. We can build a network for next time, and that could be sooner than four years given the likely minority government,” Ralfs told West Shore Voice News tonight
Ralfs says that (as of 11:50 pm tonight), Andrew Weaver has not yet joined the main crowd of Green supporters in the ballroom at the Ocean Pointe Hotel yet “because the outcome remains uncertain” (as to which party he could be asked to support in a minority government).

At this point, the BC Liberals have 43 seats and the NDP have 41 (and the Greens 3). For a majority, 44 seats are required.


Tuesday, May 9 ~ LANGFORD.  “A voting day moment”:

This morning BC-NDP Leader John Horgan’s home team in Langford-Juan de Fuca was intensely focussed on all the pieces of managing their candidate’s campaign through today’s the 12-hour voting period.

People have been dropping by to the campaign office today at 114-2801 Jacklin Road to find out where to vote, how to vote, and if they can get a ride to the nearest Voting Place.

Last night the Horgan team posted their group photo on Facebook, cheerfully gearing up for the big day. It’s been an unusual campaign for them, without their candidate in the riding much. But they’ve been promoting about how it’s important to send Horgan back with a majority, to be Premier. Vancouver Island would do well to have an islander as their next premier.

Tonight in Vancouver, BC NDP Leader John Horgan’s celebration party will be at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Horgan has spent the last few days of the 28-day campaign in Surrey and other “must-win” mainland ridings that are necessary if the NDP is to gain more seats than they had before.

To have a majority, the winning party must win in at least 44 ridings. The polls close at 8pm. Results are expected to be made available relatively quickly after that.

Horgan has held the (Langford)-Juan de Fuca riding since 2005 and can count on a lot of longtime ground support in Sooke, Langford and Juan de Fuca.

[Photo: John Horgan on Global TV, May 2 2017]

Tuesday, May 9 ~ BC. EDITORIAL [West Shore Voice News]. Too busy, too tired, too ‘principled’, or think that you’re too under-informed to vote? Forget all that. Barring the severest of personal circumstances, today there is no reason to sit out this election.

Not only is this province, this country and the world at a critical turning point in terms of doing what’s right for people and the planet, many people over the decades, years, and centuries have fought, suffered and died for your right to vote and live in a free society.

Yeah, yeah, the political system is less than perfect. But if you ‘protest’ by intentionally not voting, you’re not only naive you are letting the pros who work the system shine their best.

Reasons people don’t vote [Ref: 2008 US election]

YOU shine your best today. Be part of the collective force that ushers in the next phase of living in BC. A lot of drops in the bucket will fill the bucket to overflowing.

Voting Places are open 8am to 8pm throughout BC for this 41st General Provincial Election. Take your Voter ID card and two pieces of ID. Or just show up with what you’ve got, as you’re probably on the list anyways.

What you’ve got is RIGHTS. Non-voters waive their right to whine later.

[Pie chart shows the reasons that people didn’t vote in the 2008 US election. “Too busy” counted for 17.6%. 18.4% had some ‘other reason’, didn’t know or refused. And 26.4% were ‘not interested’ or did not like the candidates. Only 6% had registration problems, and 2.6% forgot. Don’t forget.]

Monday, May 8 ~ BC. This final day of the BC election campaign saw BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver campaigning on Vancouver Island. Both of those parties hope to pick up seats from what has for a long time been an NDP stronghold.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan was taking the same tack, over on the mainland where he’s working to see the NDP grab seats in Surrey, Richmond and Delta. NDP ground-teams were out and about on Vancouver Island, taking voting reminder cards door to door.

This evening, Christy Clark will be joined by BC Liberal Fraser Valley candidates Simon Gibson, Darryl Plecas, Mike de Jong, John Martin, Laurie Throness, Mary Polak and Rich Coleman for a rally in Abbotsford.

To achieve a majority, one party will need to win at least 44 seats. There are 87 ridings in BC. A minority government could be formed by either major party (BC Liberal or BC NDP) that achieves fewer than 44 votes but can convince the Lieutenant Governor that they have the confidence of the House. That would likely mean the support of Andrew Weaver and the BC Greens.

Voting in the 41st BC General Election on May 9 will be open 8am to 8pm at all Voting Places throughout the province.

Monday, May 8 ~ Full results are in from the six days of Advance Voting in the BC provincial election. During those Advance Voting days, 614,389 registered voters cast their ballots, as reported by Elections BC. That’s a turnout of 19.46% (round up to 19.5%) — almost double the advance turnout seen in 2013.

Advance voting for this 2017 Provincial Election was held April 29 & 30, plus May 3 to 6, throughout BC. The full BC General Election is tomorrow on Tuesday, May 9.

Drilling down into action on this west side of Vancouver Island:

  • The advance voter turnout was 29.3% of registered voters in Esquimalt-Metchosin; in that riding BC Liberal candidate Barb Desjardins has name-factor recognition, up against the ground-game power of the BC NDP behind their candidate Mitzi Dean. The Greens are running a strong candidate in Andy MacKinnon.
  • The turnout was 24.3% in Langford-Juan de Fuca where the incumbent is BC NDP Leader John Horgan. The BC Liberals are running a tough race against Horgan, trying to unseat the NDP party leader in his own riding; fronting that is BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel. Also getting definitive local support — especially in the Sooke end of the riding — is BC Green Party Brendan Ralfs.

Leaders: The 24.3% advance vote draw in BC NDP Leader John Horgan’s riding (Langford-Juan de Fuca) was stronger than the 19% turnout in BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s riding of Kelowna West. Advance voter turnout was 24.7% in Andrew Weaver’s riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Some other ridings to watch:

  • On the mainland: In Vancouver-Point Grey where high-profile NDP candidate David Eby is running in Christy Clark’s previous riding, the advance turnout was almost 26%. In Kamloops-South Thompson where incumbent Todd Stone (Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure under Christy Clark) the advance turnout was just 16.8%.  In Vancouver-Mount Pleasant where incumbent Melanie Mark (BC’s first First Nations MLA) is running for the NDP, the advance turnout was 16.9%.
  • On Vancouver Island: Turnout was 26.7% in Saanich North and the Islands where one of the tightest three-way races is taking place (in 2013 it was in fact the tightest race in all of BC election records); Green Party candidate Adam Olsen is running there against NDP incumbent Gary Holman, with Stephen Roberts edging in for the BC Liberals. In Courtenay-Comox the turnout was high at almost 27%.  The Comox Valley riding has been held by the BC Liberals since 2001, but Don McRae, the MLA since 2009, is not running for re-election, instead the Liberal candidate is Jim Benninger a former base commander at Canadian Forces Base Comox. The Greens are running Ernie Sellentin who operates an environmental restoration company. The NDP are running 3-term Courtenay city councillor Ronna-Rae Leonard. The Conservative candidate is Leah McCulloch, who has worked in health care.

Getting out to vote: So with that 19.5% advance turnout last week, still now 80.5% of registered voters could still make their way to the polls on General Election Day, May 9. Will that include you?  Take along your Voter ID card. Or if you don’t have that card, be sure to take along two pieces of ID (with at least one showing your current home address).

Monday, May 8 ~ BC.  EDITORIAL.  Still undecided? Here’s a flavour of the current BC Government that a lot of people don’t see, but it indicates how people have been treated in this province by their own government.

People who pay their MSP premiums through payroll won’t see this, lucky you. But others who pay direct to the BC Government for their health care, will know… if you fall behind, you get the squeeze. Ending up in the worst of cases with a lien on your property, or action through your bank. Not seeing the reasons why people fall behind, and helping them back out with a fair economy… that’s the underlying problem.

In every other province in Canada the provision of health care is not handled in such a punitive manner. Payment for health care in other jurisdictions is done through the income tax system, in many provinces based on a sliding scale of ability to pay.

The BC NDP have a grasp on the punitive collection system of the privatized government of the past 16 years.

We’re not coming out with a full endorsement of any one party, but if you’re a single-issue voter, use this issue as your reason to back the BC NDP with your vote on May 9.

Sunday, May 7 ~ WEST SHORE.  Today Sunday May 7 there will be an Emergency Preparedness information fair, with displays, kids’ activities and prize draws. It runs from 11 am to 3 pm, at the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre’s Seniors Centre (behind the arena building) in Colwood.

Being prepared for major emergencies like floods, fire, wind storms, earthquakes and tsunamis is an important part of living in BC, particularly for those living in coastal areas and on Vancouver Island.


BC Green Party candidate Brendan Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca) at rally in Victoria May 6. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Saturday, May 6 ~ for SOOKE. BC Green Party candidate Brendan Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca) was one of several candidates who delivered speeches ahead of BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver at a BC Green Party Island Rally held in Victoria tonight at the Delta Ocean Pointe. The audience was about 400-strong, clearly the converted, eager to wave Green signage and cheer.

While self-professed as quite new to politics, the speech-without-notes that Ralfs delivered was eloquent. After getting past the obligatory ‘rah rah’ stuff at the start, he described his background as a forest firefighter in BC as a backdrop to saying that BC’s natural areas are “not just beautiful, they’re sublime”. That natural wilderness interface for Ralfs created in him a “fierce desire to protect our home”.

Ralfs has quickly learned to justify his move into politics. When he first signed up, some of his friends told him “we didn’t know you were a politician!” Ralfs says that “politics matters in BC, and that politics can change lives”. He seems imprinted with the power to change things: “People in politics have an obligation to change lives for the better — not just for the few or the majority or many, but for all, for everyone.” To this there was a rousing cheer and more waving of Green Party signs throughout the comfortably carpeted ballroom.

“People are exhausted with politics in BC being divided and divisive,” said Ralfs, proposing to conclude that voters, therefore, have only a single choice, and that’s Green.

The one-hour rally was broadcast on Facebook Live at

See more on the main page of this website

Saturday, May 6 ~ SOOKE. On this last weekend in the BC Election campaign, out here in the Sooke neck-of-the woods (part of Langford-Juan de Fuca), candidates are still out there mingling with the public.

BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel will be out at Village Foods, 11 am to 12 noon, something she had promoted for a few weeks ahead of time.

Some of the BC-NDP John Horgan team will be at The Stick in the Mud Coffee Shop in Sooke, 12 noon to 1:30 pm.  John Horgan’s wife Ellie Horgan and Horgan’s key riding organizer Ravi Parmar are there meeting with locally-engaged voters.

Green Party candidate Brendan Ralfs will be in various locations in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding today before heading to the Ocean Pointe in downtown Victoria for a Green rally at 6pm.

Friday, May 5 ~ BC.  In these last few days ahead of the May 9 general election, leaders of the three main parties are busy paying attention to any yet-unvisited sectors of their target voter base as well as visiting or re-visiting the ridings with tight races. And of course, finding precious-little time to romance the converted and keep them on track.

While every election is important, this one does plant BC at the precipice of a number of critical socioeconomic and environmental realities that require effective solutions.
The role of principled media during an election in an active democracy is to provide key insights from within the information overload, so that voters may be assisted in their voting choices.

We hereby present some thoughts about how things might work out, depending on which way you vote in the BC provincial election on May 9. Our three-part editorial starts with coverage on page 1, then splits out on page 2 this way:

  • The BC Liberals have been in power for 16 years now. / …
  • The BC NDP collective has been thirsting for ‘the top job’ for over 16 years now. / …
  • The BC Green Party has — until now — been one and the same as the face of their party leader and standalone MLA Andrew Weaver. / …

Read the full coverage in the May 5, 2017 “Election Eve Edition” of West Shore Voice News.

Friday, May 5 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. This is the last weekend of BC election campaigning, coming up May 6 and 7. Then on Monday, May 8 will be the last day of campaigning before the BC General Election on May 9.

Details on how to vote in the Advance Voting today and Saturday (May 5 & 6), and on election day May 9, are at: and locally on the EVENTS page of this website.

The Langford-Juan de Fuca race is one to watch, where BC NDP Party Leader John Horgan is the incumbent. The slate in that riding is: John Horgan (BC NDP Party Leader & incumbent); Cathy Noel (BC Liberal); Brendan Ralfs (BC Green); Willie Nelson (Vancouver Island Party); and Scott Burton (Libertarian). The area includes Highlands, Langford, Sooke and the Juan de Fuca area up to Port Renfrew. It’s the fast-growing area of BC (only Surrey on the mainland is growing faster), encompassing urban and rural.

The Esquimalt-Metchosin race is one to watch, this time without its long-time NDP incumbent and now a high-profile BC Liberal candidate. The slate in that riding is: Mitzi Dean (NDP); Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal); Andy MacKinnon (BC Green); Josh Steffler (Libertarian); Tyson Strandlund (Communist Party); and Delmar Martay (independent). The area has key transportation issues, as the area provides both employment and ‘bedroom community’ as well as rural lifestyles.

Wednesday, May 3.  As advance voting in the BC Election gets underway again today (May 3 to 6, 8am to 8 pm in all ridings), we can take a look at the trends from the first round of advance voting on the weekend of April 29 & 30.

On this west side of Vancouver Island:

  • Esquimalt-Metchosin brought in 4,226 votes last weekend (2,428 on Saturday and 1,798 on Sunday) out of a total number of 37,692 registered voters. That’s 11.2% of voters. Candidates in that riding are Mitzi Dean (BC NDP), Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal), Andy MacKinnon (BC Green), Josh Steffler (Libertarian), and Delmar Martay (independent).
  • Langford-Juan de Fuca (which includes Sooke) saw 3,722 votes last weekend (2,087 on Saturday and 1,635 on Sunday), out of a total of 39,176 registered voters. That’s a 9.5% advance poll turnout. Candidates in that riding are BC NDP Leader John Horgan, incumbent (NDP), Cathy Noel (BC Liberal), Brendan Ralfs (BC Green), and Willie Nelson (Vancouver Island Party).

The highest turnout on Vancouver Island April 29 & 30 was in Courtenay-Comox with 4,260 votes cast; Esquimalt-Metchosin came in a close second with 4,226; Parksville-Qualicum saw 4,018; Victoria-Beacon Hill logged in with 3,773 votes; and Langford-Juan de Fuca came in fifth with 3,722.

On the mainland, Vancouver-Fairview delivered 4,106 votes, Penticton delivered 4,029 advance votes, Vancouver-West End saw 4,007 votes cast, and Vancouver-Point Grey (where the NDP’s David Eby beat out Christy Clark in the 2013 election) logged in with 3,787 votes.

This is the first time that voting has been available on a Sunday, and in many ridings the turnout was strong on April 30, in some cases with most votes cast than on the Saturday. Most of the polling stations were open on those first two days; on the west shore only Gordon United Church (in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding) wasn’t available due to the Sunday factor.

It would seem that the ridings where party leaders are running are getting voters out with relatively equal strength. Premier Clark (BC Liberal leader) is running in Kelowna West, where 3,749 advance votes were cast this past weekend. In John Horgan’s (BC NDP Leader) riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca there were 3,722 votes cast. BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver is running Oak Bay-Gordon Head where 3,264 advance votes were cast April 29-30.

Advance voting results will be updated daily during this May 3 to 6 advance voting period.

All advance votes will be counted on the night of the general election Tuesday May 9. Any advance votes that are cast over the 28-day campaign at District Electoral Offices will be counted on May 22 in the home ridings for those votes. Final vote results will be provided by Elections BC on May 23.

VIRL staff and audience listened to architect introduce ideas for the new Sooke library, May 2 at Sooke Community Hall [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, May 2 ~ SOOKE. About 50 people turned out for the new Sooke Library info session at Sooke Community Hall tonight. The pubic-input exercise was hosted by staff and board chair of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL). Also there, in the audience, was Sooke Councillor Kerrie Reay who sits on the VIRL board.

Ideas and suggestions flowed non-stop from the audience in a casual manner for over an hour and a half. “It was more input than we expected,” said VIRL Executive Director Rosemary Bonnano after the crowd dispersed.

Suggestions ranged from the types of activities and activity spaces that might be offered in the new 10,000 sq ft library to providing enough parking and bicycle racks. While it was sort of a given that activity areas would be provided for children and teens, there was no mention about coordinating a space for seniors… though they are welcome to rent out a room for meetings or events, said Bonnano in a chat afterward with West Shore Voice News.

Although the architect was present, there were no drawings or schematics of the new library. That comes in about six weeks, at another meeting. This is asking the public to come out twice. But the library-user crowd is pretty committed, and will likely come out again to see a schematic that will be prepared by architect Danielle Pepin of the global architectural firm HDR CEI.

There is a tight window for Sooke residents to submit further ideas online. The survey link at is available for just two weeks… up to May 16. After that, the preliminary architectural design work begins in earnest.

A budget of up to $6 million of borrowed funds is available to VIRL to build the new 10,000 library, replacing the present service that is presently in 3,600 sq ft of leased space. While VIRL proposed the new space as extremely spacious, no doubt it will be quickly filled with collections (books, DVDs, etc), furniture, a computer user space, meeting rooms and other amenities. VIRL Chair Barry Avis seemed excited that the library is so large for a town the size of Sooke.

The library on one acre will take up about 20% of the “Lot A” land on Wadams Way (behind Evergreen Shopping Centre) that the District of Sooke purchased last year. As Sooke grows, the location can easily be considered to be within the ‘town centre’. There will be a walking trail from the new library to the commercial town core shopping area.

The new library is set to open its doors at the beginning of January 2019.

Local food service businesses provided the catering for tonight’s event, including The Stick and Little Vienna Bakery. The meeting started at 6:30 pm and wrapped up after 8 pm.

Among those participating from the audience were Lee Boyko of the Sooke Region Museum, long-time resident Doni Eve, and members of Zero Waste Sooke.

[West Shore Voice News photo May 2: VIRL staff and audience listened to architect Danielle Pepin introduce ideas for the new Sooke library, May 2 at Sooke Community Hall ]



Tuesday, May 2 ~ WEST SIDE of Vancouver Island. Advance voting starts up again in the morning throughout BC! Advance voting Places will be open 8 am to 8 pm for the next four days: May 3, 4, 5 and 6.

On the west side of Vancouver Island:

  • Advance Voting is available in Langford at Belmont Secondary School, Four Points Sheraton, and Gordon United Church.
  • Advance Voting places in Sooke are at SEAPARC Leisure Complex and Sooke Community Hall.
  • Advance Voting for Esquimalt-Metchosin is at Colwood Pentecostal Church, Esquimalt United Church, Metchosin Community Hall, Songhees Wellness Centre, View Royal Town Hall, and West Shore Parks & Rec.

Ballots cast during Advance Voting will be counted on election night, after the main ballot boxes are counted on general election night May 9.

In this 2017 election, Elections BC has been promoting “you have 28 days to vote”, without vigorously clarifying that votes cast at District Electoral Offices that are open daily for 28 days will be counted in their home ridings (on May 22) after the paper ballots are distributed to the 87 ridings around the province.

However, if you can’t make it to an Advance Voting Station during May 3-6, these DEO offices make it convenient to vote on May 7 and 8 (as well as on election day May 9):

  • District Electoral Office for Langford-Juan de Fuca is at 111-2787 Jacklin Road in Langford. Inquiries: 250-952-5014.
  • District Electoral Office for Esquimalt-Metchosin is at 3-1905 Sooke Road in Colwood. Inquiries: 250-952-4408.

[Photo by West Shore Voice News: Voting Place in the arena at West Shore Rec in Colwood]

Tuesday. May 2 ~ SOOKE.  A public consultation for a new Sooke Library on Wadams Way will be held tonight Tuesday, May 2 at Sooke Community Hall (2037 Shileds Rd). The consultation will include presentations from Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) staff and the project architect, and will provide opportunities for the public to contribute their ideas and have their questions answered.

The session will start at 6:30 pm and run to 8 pm. The public consultation is open to everyone. There will be light refreshments.
VIRL has approval from its board to borrow a maximum of $6 million towards all costs of site preparation and construction, with the goal of building a 10,000 sqft facility. That’s an expansion well beyond the size of the current library (just over 3,600 sqft in leased commercial space on Anna Marie Rd).

In 2016, the District of Sooke purchased five acres along Wadams Way (referred to as “Lot A”), of which about one acre will be used by VIRL upon which to construct the new library, including parking.

At the VIRL board on March 18, Sooke Councillor Kerrie Reay and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks were instrumental in helping to produce the required unanimous vote to finally approve the go-ahead for a new Sooke library.

The VIRL manager for the library in Sooke as well as the library in Port Renfrew is Adrienne Wass.


Tuesday, May 2 ~ BC.  Where you vote does count, for timing! Ballots cast at Advance Voting stations (April 29 & 30; May 3 to 6) will be counted on election night, after the main ballot boxes are counted, toward the May 9 general election night tally and results.

The Advance Voting places in Sooke are at SEAPARC Leisure Complex and Sooke Community Hall. Hours of voting are 8 am to 8 pm, still coming up May 3, 4, 5 and 6.

However, any votes cast at the District Electoral Office (one central office for each riding) will get counted on May 22, toward a final vote announcement on May 23.

In this 2017 election, Elections BC has been promoting “you have 28 days to vote”, without clarifying that votes cast at District Electoral Offices that are open daily for 28 days will be counted in their home ridings after the paper ballots are distributed to the 87 ridings around the province.

The District Electoral Office for Langford-Juan de Fuca is at 111-2787 Jacklin Road in Langford. Inquiries: 250-952-5014

Monday, May 1 ~ SOOKE. There will be a few items of business on the District of Sooke Committee of the Whole agenda this evening, May 1, starting 6pm. That includes presentations with public input following each of these items: Mouck Marine Energy Productions Ltd – illuminate the way; TELUS mural presentation by Drew Johnston; and an exemption sought for a property on West Coast Road.

Following that, at 7pm will be a Special Council Meeting, regarding Council approval of a payment of $270,500 to the Sooke Community Association from the Playing Field Reserve Fund for purposes of the first installment of the Turf Field Project.