SOOKE – Local News

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

  • District of Sooke Committee of the Whole. Monday January 22.  7pm. www.sooke.ca

 

CURRENT HEADLINES: SOOKE REGION

  


 

Sunday, January 21 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. Extreme winds have caused extensive damage and multiple outages for BC Hydro customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island, says the utility on their website this morning.

At present, about 65,000 customers throughout the south coast and island areas are without power. At 9 am, BC Hydro said that it expects outages to increase until the winds decrease.

“Restoration efforts are being coordinated in all regions and restoration times will be provided once full damage assessments are complete.”

On Vancouver Island, as of 9 am this morning:
> Vancouver Island South – 22 outages: 14,951 customers without power
> Vancouver Island North – 32 outages: 11,990 customers without power

Hard hit with the most customers out of power are the Gulf Islands including Galiano, Mayne, Ganges, Pender and Saturna.

In Langford/View Royal 764 customers are without power in the Atkins/Millwoods/Strandlund area. As of 9 am there are no outages in the Sooke region.

Other areas on the current list of outages: Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney, Victoria (Fairfield/James Bay 702 customers without power) and Oak Bay/Saanich (2,072 customers without power).

To report an outage, call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) or *HYDRO (*49376) on your mobile or report it online at www.bchydro.com


 

Hwy 14 road improvements announcement January 19 by Premier John Horgan in Sooke, introduced by Sooke Mayor Maja Tait. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Friday, January 19 ~ SOOKE. Premier John Horgan today announced ‘a start’ for the process of improving the travel conditions on Highway 14 (Sooke Road). With a $10 million expenditure in the mix, Horgan’s announcement kicked off the first of multiple phases of safety, transit and congestion improvements for highway that serves as an essential commuter corridor for residents of Sooke, as well as tourists who contribute to economic development of the Sooke area.  Specifically that will be:

  • Three bus pullouts on both sides of Highway 14 at the West Shore Parkway, Laidlaw Road, and Harbourview Road
  • A bus queue jump lane at Jacklin Road
  • New safety signs at three locations (Kangaroo Road, Gillespie Road, and Parkland Road)
  • A slow-moving vehicle pullout eats of Muir Creek, between Sooke and French Beach
  • A new rest area at the Sombrio lookout
  • A new two-lane bridge on Gillespie Road (at Roche Cove), which is an important alternative route to Highway 14 (when vehicle accidents and other incidents on the main highway block normal through-traffic)
  • Intersections currently without lighting that will receive new LED lights are: Awsworth Rd, Humpback/Woodruff (including one at the bus stop), Manzer, Laidlaw, Parkland and Impala.
  • Intersections that will have new LED lights installed to augment current lighting are: Kangaroo, Connie, Gillespie, Glintz/Polymede, Ludlow, Goodridge (with upgrade to the fire signal), Harbourview, Saseenos, Woodland, Winnipeg, Saseenos Elementary School (4 additional lights including two directly over each side of the crosswalk), Sooke River/Lazzar/Park-and-Ride.

At the Hwy 14 improvements announcement in Sooke, January 19 (from left): Beecher Bay Chief Russ Chipps, Langford Councillor Lanny Seaton (back row), Langford Mayor Stew Young, and Langford CAO Darren Kiedyk. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Horgan has a longstanding association with ‘all things Sooke’ — not only as the MLA since 2005 for what is now the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding (including Sooke to Port Renfrew), but having spent a lot of recreational time in the area.

Langford Mayor Stew Young has long sought improvements to Highway 14, as a way to help connect the rugged seaside forested area of Sooke to the services and growth of Langford which is now the fastest-growing city in BC (other than Surrey in the Lower Mainland). For Young this announcement was a good start, in that his vision for the west shore has included better road accessibliity to Sooke for about 25 years now.

“It’s better to put money into infrastructure than into more studies,” Mayor Stew Young told West Shore Voice News during the roadside media announcement today.  Noting the housing affordability of Sooke and similarly Langford, Mayor Young said that better, safer travel on Highway 14 will help link the two communities together to build a great community and a greater economy. The scale is good here. It help businesses. As Sooke grows, you have to make sure your construction keeps up with that. I know there’s going to be more coming, there might be widening. Today we’re hearing that safety and lighting improvements are first.

Langford’s Mayor was glad to hear today’s announcement. “Give them a year or two and see how much funding they have for more. Economic development is important here in the west shore region,” said Stew Young.

BC Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) chatted with youth during the Hwy 14 road improvements announcement [West Shore Voice News photo]

At the podium with Premier Horgan was Sooke Mayor Maja Tait who said Sooke and the surrounding region is connected by this single highway. “Residents and politicians and alike have been asking for safety improvements for commuters, transit users, pedestrians and everyone else who relies on this.”

Tait said that young people and retirees are being attracted to Sooke as a growing community “with proximity to large urban centres that afford us access to diverse employment opportunities, health care, educational programs and the like”. She acknowledged that Sooke relies on Highway 14 “to connect us to the west shore and Victoria.”

Horgan says his government’s budget in February will include more announcements for improvements on Highway 14, more to do with actual work on the road itself (in addition to the lighting and public transit-related announcements made today).

Over 100 people showed up for the rainy-day announcement held at 1 pm at the Park-and-Ride across from Edward Milne Community School (EMCS) on Highway 14 at Lazzar Road. In addition to politicians (including members of Sooke council, Langford Council, and BC Transit) and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure staff, there were many active members of the Sooke community including business and education leaders.

Two youth from EMCS said the impact of road closures on Highway 14 when there are accidents has meant that teachers cannot sometimes get to the school, and that when fellow students are injured on the road it affects the entire school community.


 

Presentation January 9 by SD62 Principal of International Students Programs, Laura Schwertfeger [West Shore Voice News photo]

Monday, January 15 ~ WEST SHORE. The International Student Program is a significant revenue-generator for Sooke School District 62 (SD62). Students come to study for one or more years of public education in the west shore, paying for tuition and accommodation.

In a presentation January 9 by SD62 Principal of International Students Programs, Laura Schwertfeger (at an Education Committee of the Whole meeting) addressed trustees, staff, and stakeholder reps about international students, ELL/English Language Learner students (formerly ESL) who stay as  part of the community, and overall supports for welcoming.

Schwertfeger — who most recently has travelled to Switzerland to promote the west shore as a progressive place to get an English-speaking education — said students are presently in SD62 schools from about 20 countries. Most of the students attending in SD62 are from China (about 30-40%), Germany, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil. There are also students visiting from Vietnam, Russia, Austria, and Australia. The greatest number of International Students are in Langford-area schools “which speaks to housing availability”, said Schwertfeger.

There are 40 visiting students at Belmont Secondary, 20 at Ruth King Elementary, and several at Spencer Middle School. SD62 aims to balance the numbers from a range of originating countries. Most International Students come for language development but also from English-speaking countries like Australia for a short-term cultural experience. Vietnamese students are often here long-term, for 2 to 4 years. The number of Russian students has increased recently and more are coming from Iran.

The program team has visited about 30 different countries. Agents and partners to do most of the presentations, while SD62 staff personally attend areas of “significant potential”. In Switzerland “the appetite to come to Canada is significant compared to going to the US,” said Schwertfeger.

Last fall about 1,600 participants attended her presentations in Switzerland over two days.  Another aspect of the International Program is “moving to an intercultural mindset” with cultural diversity supports offered to teachers, staff, students and community.

SD62 Secretary-Treasurer Harold Cull says there are 280 full-time-equivalent International Students in SD62 this year.  Tuition per student is $12,500 per academic year for all school levels.


Monday, January 15 ~ WEST SHORE. Opportunity for Parent & Community Input (SD62 – Langford, Colwood Sooke).

While discussion of the Strategic Plan was kept tight and short at SD62’s Education Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday evening, January 9, the document itself is fairly extensive, as will be the impact of its implementation throughout schools in Langford, Colwood and Sooke over the next several years.

Parents of students attending SD62 schools will have received an email in recent weeks, asking for their input. Busy families — if they haven’t already — might want to at least read the Strategic Plan document to be up to speed with the ideas, whether or not they have the time or inclination to send an email with comments.

You can see and download the SD62 Strategic Plan at http://www.sd62.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2017/12/Strategic-Plan-Version-1-as-at-December-2017.pdf

Comments may be emailed to info@sd62.bc.ca and the deadline is now end of the day Thursday, January 18 (extended from January 12). The board could approve the Strategic Plan as soon as January 23.

The current SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge will be retiring at the end of July 2018, with a new (yet to be hired) Superintendent filling his much-accomplished shoes. The current board is comprised mostly of long-term trustees, some of whom may not run again in October 2018.

The Strategic Plan is in part a legacy document to try and ensure that the many accomplishments of the 2014-2018 board in particular will be preserved into the future.

SD62 is the fastest-growing school district in BC, with about 500 more students expected to register into schools in Langford, Colwood and Sooke each year during the next five years.

Summary SD62 STRATEGIC PLAN
> Vision: honour student voice and choice through engaging, purposeful and experiential learning in a safe and respectful community
> Values: Relationships, Choice,
> Respect, Integrity, Trust, Safety
> Mission: to develop informed, literate and resilient citizens and sustain a safe, respectful and responsive learning community.
> Goals: Learning | Engagement | Growth


 

Highway 14 (Sooke Road) westbound to Sooke. {West Shore Voice News photo – January 2018]

Sunday, January 14 ~ SOOKE.  BC Hydro will be doing some roadside work on Highway 14 (Sooke Road) this week, which they anticipate will cause some traffic delays.

As Highway 14 is pretty much the only way in and out of Sooke, the pre-advisory is helpful to commuters who rely on the provincial highway. Work will be done 9 am to 3 pm on two days:

  • On January 16 it is pole work that would include equipment replacement in the 5500/5600-block stretch (Goodridge Road to Laidlaw Road),  expect delays 9am to 3pm.
  • On January 18 the work is a pole replacement. Expect delays just east of Kangaroo Road, 9am to 3pm. Traffic through the work zones will be reduced to single lane, alternating traffic, says the utility’s Vancouver Island – Sunshine Coast Community Relations office.

Highway 14 (Sooke Road) eastbound toward Langford. [West Shore Voice News photo – January 2018]

These are just two portions of the poorly lit, poorly sight-lined provincial Hwy 14 where vehicle accidents frequently occur.

A few months ago, Premier John Horgan (MLA for the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding through which Sooke Road intersects) sent back a traffic plan to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for considerable revision because while it addressed bus transit and overall driver awareness issues, it lacked solutions for real problems that face motorists on Highway 14.

 


 

Kelz Bakery at 6716 West Coast Road in Sooke.

Sunday, January 14 ~ SOOKE. Kelz Bakery at 6716 West Coast Road in Sooke will be closed January 16 to February 12 for some holiday time.

Shop owners Kelly and Yvonne will be opening their popular bakery and coffee shop again just in time for your Valentine’s Day treats!


 

Friday, January 12 ~ SOOKE.  A pair of keen Realtors are taking a new slant on serving the public with real estate services in the west side region of Vancouver Island.

Clive and Kirsten Greenaway opened their independent Greenaway Realty office in the hub of Sooke town center back in September 2017. The high-profile location at 2044 Otter Point Road (corner of Sooke Road) is attracting attention. This people-oriented husband-wife team is focussed on not just selling real estate (specializing in being the buyer’s agent), they offer property management services too.

Being a buyer’s agent means the Realtor is working for the person seeking to spend money on a property purchase. Listing Agents, by comparison, essentially work for the interests of the seller.

Property management is not about fixing leaky faucets or mowing the lawn. With the Greenaway team as licenced property managers, there is a full service for the owner of a rental property, including valuation of an accurate rental rate, marketing, showings, tenant screening/selection, security/rent collection, lease renewals, inspections as well as maintenance.

“We are excited to be serving a wide range of buyers and property owners in Sooke, Colwood and Langford,” says Clive Greenaway. “We keep our clients informed of changes in real estate law and practices, we’re a professional service,” says Kirsten Greenaway who is the agency broker. Their properties for sale and rent are posted at www.greenawayrealty.com


BC Premier John Horgan and his brother Pat Horgan.

Thursday, January 11 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier John Horgan is “very much in family mode this week”, upon the passing of his oldest brother, Pat Horgan on January 6.

The Premier’s office announced the news today, January 11: “It’s with great sadness that we announce that Pat Horgan, Premier John Horgan’s brother, passed away on Saturday, January, 6, 2018. Pat passed away from cancer at the age of 71. He will be deeply missed by his family and friends.”

A service will be held in Pat’s home community of Port McNeill on February 10, 2018. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the BC Cancer Agency in support of lung cancer research. Messages to the family can be sent by email to: shirpath04@gmail.com

According to the Premier’s staff, John Horgan, 58, looked up to brother Pat Horgan as a father figure. John Horgan has another brother and a sister. His mom passed away about nine years ago. John Horgan was born in Victoria, the son of Pat and Alice Horgan, who had four children. Horgan has been heard to say that he has no memories of his father, who died when Horgan was quite young. But based on stories from his family, he apparently takes a lot after his dad.

John Horgan has been the MLA for what is now the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding (including Sooke), since 2005.


An attempted break-and-enter occurred in the drive-thru area of the TD Bank in Sooke. [West Shore Voice News file photo – 2017]

Wednesday, January 10 ~ SOOKE. At the TD Bank branch in Sooke there was an attempted break-in, through the wall at the drive-through area behind the building at 6670 Sooke Road.

Early in the morning of Thursday January 4 the attempt had been made; at 7:27 am Sooke RCMP received a call regarding the discovering of the potential break-and-enter.

Sooke RCMP says officers attended to find damage to the area around the drive-through ATM. The garbage can and deposit slip holder had been ripped off the wall, A hole about 6 inches wide was found cut through to the inside of the bank. Entry was not gained.

Investigation resulted in Gregory John Cunningham, 34, of Sooke, was arrested and charged with Break and Enter, Possession of Housebreaking Instruments, and Possession of Methamphetamine. Cunningham was taken into custody and is scheduled to appear in court January 18, says Sooke RCMP Detachment Commander S/Sgt Jeff McArthur.

This is the only significant crime incident at the Sooke branch since it opened in 2012.


 

Saturday, January 6 ~ While pretty much all the other Mayors in the CRD have declared they will be running again in the October 2018 municipal elections, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait told media that she is as yet undecided, that there is plenty of time with the election being 10 months away.

Elected in November 2014, Tait is in her first term as Mayor of the District of Sooke. Many of the mayors of other CRD municipalities are in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th terms or more.

Tait sits as a VP on the board of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), a position she could only retain if re-elected as mayor of a municipality.


Mike Hicks, Director, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area [West Shore Voice News File Photo – July 2017]

Friday, January 5 ~ GREATER VICTORIA. Fought for long and hard by Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks, recently-concluded mediation by the BC Government sees the extension of CRD piped water services made available to residents of JdF areas, including Otter Point to Port Renfrew (East Sooke and Malahat are also in JdFEA).

Until the mediation that concluded Jan 5, seven of the 13 municipalities within the CRD (Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich, View Royal, Highlands, Colwood and Esquimalt) had rejected the idea of piped-water extension by rejecting the overall Regional Growth Strategy (RGS).

Over the past year or two, Hicks had the continued support of Langford as well as the neighbouring Sooke municipality. Hicks’ pitch to Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-JdF) helped move things along, with Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson then extending the mediation deadline from Nov 30/17 to January 15.

CRD Directors will vote on the mediated solution at their board meeting on Wednesday January 10. If approved by the CRD Board, the RGS goes back to municipal councils for final approval.

The RGS is used as an overall guiding tool for regional development including transportation, land use, water, waste management, environmental services, arts and recreation, hospitals, planning strategies, and protective services.


 

Vehicle crash on Hwy 14 (Sooke Road) on Fri Dec 29. [Photo source: Facebook]

Wednesday, January 3 ~ SOOKE.  RCMP have identified a Sooke man as the person killed in a two-vehicle crash last Friday, December 29 in the 5900-block of Sooke Road (Provincial Highway 14).

Police said Drew Ripley, 48 — driver of a grey Dodge Caravan heading westbound on Sooke Road — was pronounced dead at the scene. A woman driving an SUV heading eastbound was taken to hospital, but later released. Police said yesterday that no charges will be laid.

RCMP, Sooke Fire Rescue and the BC Ambulance Service were called to the two-vehicle collision at about 4:20 pm on Sooke Road, between Parkland and Woodlands Roads. The BC Coroner also arrived on scene shortly after that.

The woman who had been driving the eastbound green Jeep SUV had to be extricated by Sooke Fire Rescue using their hydraulic equipment.

“The investigation is ongoing. However, it appears from initial witness reports that the Dodge Caravan was travelling westbound when it crossed over the double solid line, colliding with the SUV travelling in the eastbound lane,” said RCMP Cpl. Joe Holmes in a press release.

Road conditions were wet and the sky was almost dark, near dusk. There were no passengers in either vehicle.

The collision caused major traffic delays, however, it occurred in an area where traffic could be diverted around the closed portion of the Highway. The vehicles were removed around 10:15 pm on the night of the crash but the road remained closed as BC Hydro and road crews cleaned up the area.


 

BC Premier John Horgan, Dec 2017 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Sunday, December 31 ~ VICTORIA.  Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement in recognition of New Year’s Day 2018:

“The new year brings new beginnings and new opportunities. It is a chance to look back at the challenges we have faced, and to resolve ourselves to overcome obstacles in the year to come.

“From addressing housing affordability to tackling the opioid crisis, and the ongoing recovery from last year’s devastating wildfires, we have no shortage of important work to do in the coming year.

“On New Year’s Day we are given the opportunity to think about where we are and where we have to go. It is a day to consider the path ahead and to set our minds to meet our goals.

“In 2018, we will be working hard to create a strong, sustainable economy that benefits everyone, to make life more affordable for families and to improve the services people rely on.

“On behalf of the government of British Columbia, I wish you a safe, healthy and happy new year with many more to come.”


Vehicle crash on Hwy 14 (Sooke Road) on Fri Dec 29. [Photo source: Facebook]

Sunday, December 31. The BC Coroner has confirmed that a man in his 40’s was killed in the MVI on Sooke Rd on Friday night, December 29. RCMP have not yet released any further official information. A roadside memorial was already in place December 30 in that poorly lit section of Highway 14 just east of Saseenos Elementary School.

===> PREVIOUS POST: Friday, December 29 ~ SOOKE. Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is closed this evening in both directions at Parkland Rd in Sooke due to a serious vehicle collision that occurred around 6:34 pm PST.

Traffic both eastbound and westbound on Sooke Road is blocked. However, a short local-area detour is available via Parkland Road to Blythwood Road to Woodlands Road. The provincial highway is estimated to reopen around 11 pm.

Reportedly the incident was a head-on collision involving two vehicles, with reportedly at least one fatality.

Road surfaces are wet today due to heavy rainfall most of the day.

Rescue crews from both Sooke Fire Dept and Langford Fire Dept have attended the crash.   More to come.


 

Sunday, December 30 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. As you ring in the new year tomorrow night, those who are politically inclined and civic minded are already well aware that 2018 is a big municipal election year in BC.

Elections BC says that the municipal and school board election period starts January 1, 2018, even though election day isn’t until October 20. That’s a lot of months of preparation for exposure to the community!

Candidates for Mayor, Council, and school trustee seats across BC may submit nomination papers starting September 4. The official campaign period begins September 22.

West Shore Voice News will in particular follow the campaign action all year in Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Sooke, Juan de Fuca and View Royal (and school district 62 on the west shore) as candidates shuffle into place.

In our nearly 10 years of covering political and community news of this region, West Shore Voice News (formerly Sooke Voice News) election coverage has proven to get broad readership and good advertising traction.

This is the first municipal/trustee election after a 4-year term. Previously in BC, municipal and school board terms were for three years.


 

Vehicle crash on Hwy 14 (Sooke Road) on Fri Dec 29. [Photo source: Facebook]

Friday, December 29 ~ SOOKE. Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is closed this evening in both directions at Parkland Rd in Sooke due to a serious vehicle collision that occurred around 6:34 pm PST.

Traffic both eastbound and westbound on Sooke Road is blocked. However, a short local-area detour is available via Parkland Road to Blythwood Road to Woodlands Road. The provincial highway is estimated to reopen around 11 pm.

Reportedly the incident was a head-on collision involving two vehicles, with reportedly at least one fatality.

Road surfaces are wet today due to heavy rainfall most of the day.

Rescue crews from both Sooke Fire Dept and Langford Fire Dept have attended the crash.   More to come.


Blood donation service at the Sooke Legion (April 2016). File Photo: West Shore Voice News

Monday, December 25 ~ NATIONAL. Last week, Canadian Blood Services was calling on eligible blood donors to help fill 35,000 appointments by January 6 to ensure that Canadian patients continue to have access to the blood and blood products they need over the holidays.

The next blood donor clinics coming up in the west shore area are on Monday January 15 at CFB Esquimalt, 1575 Lyall St (9 am to 4 pm); on Monday January 22 at Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Ave, Colwood (12 noon to 7 pm); and on Monday, February 12 at the Sooke Legion, 6726 Eustace Rd (11:30 am to 6:30 pm).

New and existing donors are welcome and walk-ins are usually accepted. Some of the usually temporary impacts of giving blood include bruising, continued bleeding, dizziness, light-headedness and nausea. After giving blood, donors are offered juice and a cookie and are monitored for a while on site before they leave.

“The holiday period always presents challenges for us as we work to ensure we have enough blood and blood products to meet patients’ needs,” says Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ Chief Supply Chain Officer. “We know that Canadians are busy with travel and activities over the holidays, and we hope that they will make time to save a life and give blood. Canadian patients’ lives depend on them.”

Platelets pose a particularly difficult challenge. Patients with serious bleeding or those undergoing cancer treatments rely on platelet donations, but with a shelf life of only seven days, the need for platelets is pressing and ongoing.

Canadian Blood Services manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all the provinces and territories (excluding Quebec). Their integrated, pan-Canadian service delivery model includes leading an interprovincial system for organ donation and transplantation.


 

BC Premier John Horgan, Dec 2017 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Sunday, December 24 ~ VICTORIA. Premier John Horgan has released the following statement in celebration of Christmas:

“Dec. 25 is a special day for Christians around the world. It is a day set aside to recognize the birth of their Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to give thanks to God for the gift of salvation.

“For people of many backgrounds, Christmas is an opportunity for families to gather together and celebrate warmth, good food and good company.

“It offers us a break from the worries of the everyday world and a chance to focus on things that really matter – the people we love and the communities we care about.

“It is also a time to reach out to people in need, and work in a spirit of generosity to help and support each other.

“We hope that British Columbians throughout the province have a safe and joyful Christmas season.

“On behalf of the Government of British Columbia, Merry Christmas.”

To see Premier John Horgan’s interview in West Shore Voice News, click here: December 15, 2017 issue


 

Sunday, December 24 ~ SOOKE. Today at SEAPARC Leisure Complex there’s a $2 Christmas Eve Skate, from 11:15 am to 1pm. It’s a lovely time of year to share the ice with family and friends.

There will also be a $2 New Year’s Eve Skate on Sunday December 31, from 11:15 am to 1pm. www.seaparc.ca


Friday, December 22 ~ SOOKE.  The Evergreen Shopping Centre in Sooke town centre was jam-packed with shoppers today. You know the scene, where you have to wait with your flasher on for a parking spot.

Shoppers Drug Mart was seeing steady customer flow as well as Western Foods. And of course the BC Liquor Store. And the newest tenant Bosley’s was busy with pet-supply shoppers.

There is no news update yet on who the new commercial tenants will be in that area at the front of the mall with great Sooke Road frontage (where the old RBC Bank used to be before it burned down in July 2013). But the pad area is cleared and ready. Mall owners Partners REIT are actively in the search for great new tenants.

 


EMCS Principal Pat Swinburnson will retire Dec 22, 2017 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Thursday, December 21 ~ SOOKE. Friday December 22 will be Patrick Swinburnson’s last day on the job as the principal at EMCS.

It will also be his last day with SD62 and in his public education system career … 36 years! Retired! 

“I have loved the opportunity to have my own school and to try to make a difference. As principal, you can set the direction and tone of a school, and if you do it well and set off on the right path, lots of good things can happen,” Principal Swinburnson told West Shore Voice News this week.

See a full feature article exploring the highlights of Principal Pat Swinburnson’s impact at Edward Milne Community School — in the December 22, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News, page 3.


Old forest growth cleared on land owned by T’Sou-ke Nation, for future commercial development. [West Shore Voice News photo – Dec 18, 2017]

Tuesday, December 19 ~ SOOKE.  Big changes to the Sooke landscape! 
Regular commuters often feel they have ‘arrived’ back in Sooke when heading westbound home they see that tall stand of old trees along Sooke Road just east of Edward Milne Community School.
So it kinda takes your breath away to see the proud old trees having been cleared away this week. For future land development.
 
We hear there will be a Tim Horton’s coffee shop and a gas station on the land there on Edward Milne Road as owned by T-Souke Nation.
 

Reportedly a future Tim Horton’s and a gas station will be built here next to the EMCS high school [West Shore Voice News photo – Dec 18, 2017]

That will significantly impact the livelihood of little coffee shops in Sooke town centre, as well as the busy little gas-fillup trade of Chevron and PetroCan stations in town centre.
 
For years, teens and others in the community have frequently wished for a Tim Horton’s to come to town. It’s always been a matter of economics to bring a large franchise operation to a small town.
 
More to come on this breaking news story.

 

The Westhills view of snowy roads and hills today, Dec 19. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, December 19 ~ WEST SHORE. It’s a snow day! Schools are closed for instruction in the west shore area (SD62) including in Langford, Colwood and Sooke. However, the buildings are open and staff are in the schools. Updates for tomorrow (Dec 20) will be posted on Twitter @SD62_Sooke

For general driving conditions, MAINROAD SOUTH ISLAND says: Drive with care today. Winter driving conditions. Expect snow, slush and slippery conditions. Use winter tires and be prepared to chain up, if needed. Please be aware of snow plows and snow clearing operations. Updates on Twitter: #DriveSafe

In Langford, the CITY of LANGFORD ENGINEERING said this morning: The City of Langford is asking all traffic to please avoid steep slope areas as we work to clear our roads. In particular please avoid Bear Mountain Parkway. Road clearing priorities mimic most other municipalities – we are clearing major collector roads, bus routes and steep slopes first. Please be patient as we make our way to the smaller local roads.  If you do not have to go out, please remain at home. Visibility coming in from the Highlands is very challenging for any drivers coming in from the District of Highlands, several abandoned vehicles Millstream Road at Millstream Lake Road and in the downhill lanes southbound Millstream Road approaching Millstream Lake Road. Snowfall is much more significant in the Highlands and in Langford at the higher elevations.

A portion of Highway 14 (Sooke Road) was blocked to through-traffic for a while this morning, due to a tree falling across the road.


 

Sunday, December 17, 2017 ~ Randall Garrison’s seasonal constituency open house will be held on Monday, December 18 from 4 to 6 pm at the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke constituency office, 2904 Tillicum Rd.  Here is Garrison’s seasonal letter to constituents:

“As the year comes to an end and the holiday season begins, I would like to extend my warmest wishes to all residents of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke and their families.

It is an honour to represent you. In the New Year, I am committed to continuing to work for a fairer and greener Canada. As your Member of Parliament, I know that many of you are struggling with the housing crisis, affordability issues, and that you want our environment to be better protected.

I will continue to advocate for improvements to housing, Pharmacare, childcare, and affordability. I will also continue to stand with the majority of my constituents in their opposition to Kinder Morgan.

I hope that your holiday season is joyful and that the New Year brings you success and happiness.”


 

Saturday, December 16 ~ SOOKE. The amazing array of gifts and collectibles at B&K Jewelry & Gifts is something not to be missed in the holiday season!

The store at Sooke Centre Mall in Sooke town centre is open daily up to Christmas Eve, December 24. That includes Sundays.

Kathy and Brett co-own the upbeat, jam-packed gift shop. “We always try to have something unique and different,” says Kathy.

Brett makes custom jewelry. That’s especially popular ahead of Christmas.

Open 9:30 am to 5:30 pm daily to Xmas Eve, at 106-6661 Sooke Rd.


Tuesday, December 12 ~ SOOKE. Coming up this Saturday December 16 is a festive Community Appreciation Day at the Sooke Family Resource Society Thrift Shop. Everyone is welcome for coffee and cake, particularly volunteers, staff, customers and donors.

“Without the donors and their overwhelming generosity we don’t have a store,” says SFRS Thrift Shop coordinator Bev Lewis.  “What better time of year than the holiday season to say thank you to all who support us,” says Bev.

Busy in her shop this week, as always, people are pumped up and excited about the holiday season.

About those donors: “People are always downsizing. If their kids don’t want it, the stuff often ends up here,” Bev told West Shore Voice News between handling customers at the busy store that is run by staff and volunteers.

On both Friday December 15 and Saturday December 16 everything in the store is half-price. The store is open 10 am to 4 pm, located at 6715 West Coast Road.


 

Celebrating the new artificial turf at Fred Milne Park in Sooke (from left): T’Sou-ke Chief Gordon Planes, Langford Mayor Stew Young, Sooke Councillor Kevin Pearson, Premier John Horgan.

Friday, December 8 ~ SOOKE.   Last Sunday, December 3, a gathering of Sooke sport enthusiasts and VIPs celebrated the new artificial turf on the ball field at Fred Milne athletic park. Last Sunday, December 3, a gathering of Sooke sport enthusiasts and VIPs celebrated the new artificial turf on the  ball field at Fred Milne athletic park.

Sooke Councillor Rick Kasper said afterward that “the leadership of Sooke Community Association and Sooke Soccer has created a lasting legacy our community can be proud of.”

The $1.5 million project saw $1 million sourced from Gas Tax Funds through the District of Sooke and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area; the rest was provided by community groups and in-kind donations.

The City of Langford donated the turf (removed from their now-upgraded Westhills Stadium field). At the event in Sooke, Langford Mayor Stew Young commended everyone’s contributions. “The turf field is good for the region,” Young told West Shore Voice News this week. “All the work of volunteers built a great facility.” At Langford Council on December 4, Mayor Young said: “In a wet island region, the field will allow more opportunities for more kids and adults to get involved in activities without having cancellations due to bad weather.”

The outdoor event last Sunday was also attended by District of Sooke Councillors Ebony Logins, Brenda Parkinson, and Kevin Pearson; T’Sou-ke Chief Gordon Planes and T’Sou-ke spiritual leader Shirley Alphonse; Premier John Horgan, MLA, Langford-Juan de Fuca; and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks.

“This was an incredible partnership between the Juan de Fuca residents, District of Sooke, volunteer trades, Sooke business and Sooke Community Association that resulted in a beautiful playing field for our kids,” said Mike Hicks. For years he has seen Juan de Fuca and Sooke youth heading into Victoria and beyond to take part in soccer games. Now they can stay in Sooke.

Councillor Pearson told TV media on Sunday: “It’s absolutely a huge day for Sooke and said “the real heroes are the volunteers”.


 

Friday, December 1 ~ VICTORIA.  November 2017 saw the highest number of property sales of any November in the Greater Victoria area since 1996 — 671 in total (12% more than sold last November). The number of active listings for sale dropped 7.4% in one month from October to November.

The Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) predicted last month that buyers might accelerate their purchase timeline to buy a home ahead of ‘stress test’ rules set for January 2018.  Overall in Greater Victoria there were 307 single family home sales in November selling at a raw average price of $902,985.

It should be understood that VREB’s data-adjusted HPI figures show $693,200, which means people are paying far above what most people hear as the selling price.

In the west shore, the real price of a house in Langford last month was $696,933 (61 sales) while the HPI was given as $593,800. In Colwood there were 15 sales averaging out at $725,290 while the HPI was $658,100. In Sooke there were 18 house sales in November at a real average sale price of $509,418 while the HPI was $483,300.

So that’s almost a million dollars in overall Greater Victoria for a house and over half a million in Sooke where housing is considered to be affordable.

Condo sales rolled in like this: 219 in Greater Victoria averaging $437,822; Langford 26  sales averaging  $330,298; Colwood 5 sales averaging $396,900; and one sale in Sooke at $229,000. All stats: www.vreb.org


 

Sunday, November 26 ~ SOOKE.  The Sooke Community Choir ‘goes classic’ this holiday season! You won’t hear jingle bells or any traditional pop culture Christmas tunes at the Sooke Community Choir holiday season concert this year.

This year it’s “all about beautiful music that isn’t attached to Christmas but gives feeling of this time of year,” says Sooke Community Choir artistic director Bruce Ruddell. That will include Bach’s Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring and what Ruddell calls Handel’s ‘rock tune’, that being Messiah, For unto us a child is born.

Of the modern vintage, you will hear Let There Be Peace on Earth which Ruddell feels applies at any time of the year. “This is all really beautiful music that I can’t imagine the world existing without,” enthuses the creative and dramatic choir director who has devoted his energies to the Sooke Community Choir coming up now five years.

Ruddell and his family live in Victoria. He makes the regular trek to Sooke for rehearsals and of course the concerts. Rehearsals have switched in recent months from Sooke Community Hall over to the Christian Life Assembly church on West Coast Road. The grand piano is set up and ready for every rehearsal. “This is a choir of singers who love to sing. They really make me feel great. We make music every Wednesday night. It doesn’t get much better,” mused Ruddell.

Concerts this season will start at the grand Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Victoria on Friday, December 1 (7 pm) where up to 350 can be seated. Then three concerts the following weekend in Sooke at Sooke Community Hall on Friday/Saturday December 8 & 9 (7:30 pm) and Sunday December 10 (2 pm) where the seating capacity is about 250. Tickets are $20 at the door ($15 seniors/students) and at various retail outlets.

Accompanying the choir for these concerts will be cellist Rachel Capon and violinist Hollas Longton as well as pianist Kathy Russell. “Small bits” of the concert will be taken to the Ayre Manor seniors residence during the holiday season, says Ruddell who is happy that the choir is helping out in the community.

There are 60 singers in the Sooke Community Choir. “There’s a bit of a waiting list, which is great,” said Ruddell last week during a chat with West Shore Voice News. “There are more men this year – we’ve got a great bass and tenor section. That balances out the choir. The rest are sopranos and altos,” he outlined.

Last year’s Christmas season concert had a Celtic theme. Ruddell hopes that this year’s Christmas concert will “put that audience in a very special mood… contemplative and meditative”.

=== Article by Mary P Brooke ~ as first published in the November 24, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News


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

Friday, November 24 ~ SOOKE. When it comes to hot topics around Sooke, one of the most heated is Highway 14 (Sooke Road). So it was a bit surprising to hear not too many new ideas or any momentum for action during the Transition Sooke evening presentation on Monday November 20.

Called “Rethinking Traffic as Usual”, the presentation by guest speaker Eric Doherty to about 40 Sooke residents gathered in the second-floor library at Edward Milne Community School was mainly a pitch for more bus transit on the provincial highway. The same old arguments about more roads or further road expansion leading to more congestion somewhat fell on deaf ears.

There were the same comments one always hears about unsafe driving conditions on Hwy 14 (notably lack of lighting and lack of simple instruments such as reflectors). Some good news — as first published on page 1 in West Shore Voice News on November 17 — is that Premier John Horgan (who is MLA for the Langford-Juan de Fuca area through which Hwy 14 runs) has asked Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (MOTI) staff to go back to the drawing board with more safety improvements for the road. [See pg 1 in the November 17, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News  ]

While public transit is essential and important and should of course be more frequent along Highway 14 between Langford and Sooke, Horgan is among a growing number of active business people and community leaders who realize that motor vehicle traffic flow and safety on the road to Sooke is the key ingredient to opening up the region to economic development.

The main reason Hwy 14 is so heavily travelled (in addition to tourist traffic) is the daily commute for people heading to Langford, Victoria and beyond on a daily basis for employment.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait herself admitted to fellow directors at the November 8 board meeting of the Capital Regional District that a lack of jobs in Sooke is a problem without any sort of immediate solution and that the situation therefore requires improvements to commuter transportation from Sooke to the main urban areas.

Widening the highway to four lanes all the way from Langford to Sooke seems rather unaffordable given the mountainous terrain and the amount of private property along the highway that would need to be purchased to make it possible. If four lanes are considered by proponents to be one and the same as unfettered accessibility between Langford and Sooke, there could be a better clarification… like passing lanes (i.e. a 3rd lane in the middle) and more left turn lanes in obvious locations (like at the 17 Mile Pub curve).

A group of Sooke-based businessmen promoting “Divided by 14” are not generating positive traction among the Sooke population with that Twitter-based moniker that was first launched in Langford-Juan de Fuca during the 2017 provincial election campaign.

After the Monday night presentation at least one long-time Sookie asked with puzzlement: “why Divided”? There is still the sentiment in the unique Sooke culture that being separate and apart from the mainstream is part of what makes Sooke special or at the very least protects the natural beauty and environment that Sooke relies upon for tourism economics.

Even District of Sooke Councillor Brenda Parkinson — who openly admitted to speeding above the limit on Hwy 14 — said on Monday night that she likes the road the way it is.

Bottom line is that without more jobs in Sooke, the highway will become even more heavily travelled. Bus service and carpooling while good tools for transit do come with restrictions on scheduling. The idea of “one person in one vehicle” being a negative thing is oftentimes short-sighted, in that flexibility for small business and heading to appointments, services and shopping (including storage capacity of a vehicle) cannot always be accomplished by public transit.

Almost no one ever seems to discuss the carbon imprint of large buses that oftentimes run empty at non-peak hours, not to mention the staffing and equipment costs. Also, individual vehicles are becoming increasingly efficient (including the use of electric vehicles).

Comments from those present at the Monday evening discussion included “call Hwy 14 what it is… a rural road” (as in lack of proper highway travel conditions). The Sooke region is fortunate that the premier of BC has himself for years traveled Hwy 14, and that in turning back the Hwy 14 improvements report to MOTI staff for another go-round is going to probably produce better results in the mid-to-long-term.

After the presentation, the speaker admitted to have excluded the economic argument, having wanted to focus on a push for better bus transit. However, omitting the economic factor out of the equation is to hobble on one leg.


2015 Red Jeep Wrangler ended up in the forest after careening off Sooke Road on Nov 23, 2017 [RCMP photo]

Friday, November 24 ~ SOOKE. Sooke RCMP are seeking witnesses to a high-speed driving incident on Highway 14 westbound involving a man driving a red 2015 Jeep Wrangler yesterday (Thursday November 23). Reports starting flooding into 911 at about 1:20 pm.

One witness reported that the vehicle reached speeds in excess of 180 km/h in the four-lane section of Highway 14 in Langford.  “So many calls were received on 911 it overwhelmed the South Island Operational Communication Center,” says Sooke RCMP Detachment Commander S/Sgt Jeff McArthur.

The vehicle was reported to be passing vehicles on the double solid line, driving at a high rate of speed.

RCMP say that at 5800-block of Sooke Road the vehicle went off road to the right, running over a bench at a bus stop, gouging a telephone pole, knocking out a fence,  severing trees and coming to rest down a ravine.  “The driver, surprisingly, sustained only minor injuries.  The vehicle was completely demolished.  A search of the area where the vehicle came to rest on its side yielded alcohol and a loaded handgun,” says McArthur.

A 42-year-old man from Duncan who is “well known to police” was treated at Victoria General Hospital for minor injuries then transported to the Sooke RCMP detachment where he remains in custody.  He is facing charges of Possession of an Unregistered Restricted Weapon, Impaired Driving, Refusing to Provide a Breath Sample and Dangerous Driving.

The Sooke RCMP are asking that anyone who witnessed the manner in which this vehicle was being driven to contact Sooke RCMP between 8 am to 4pm at 250-642-5241.

[Photo is a sample of a Jeep Wrangler, not the actual vehicle involved in the November 23 incident]


 

Sid Jorna of Team Sooke/JuandeFuca

Wednesday, November 22 ~ SOOKE / Juan de Fuca.   A new family will soon be in Sooke! Team Sooke/Juan de Fuca has recently announced that the Iraqi family of four (mother, father, and two daughters now age 21 and 13) who they are sponsoring has completed all the required steps for immigration. The family is expected to arrive in Sooke in early December 2017.

The group is now focusing on finding accommodation. They’ve been looking for at least two bedrooms, preferably in the Sooke town core on the 61 bus route. But they will consider all options! If you have any ideas or leads phone Howard Taylor at 250.642.0908.

“We’ve been working with the family for a year and half to help them get ready,” said lead organizer Sid Jorna this week.

The group’s fundraising goal has been met, but they continue to welcome donations to help furnish the family’s home. All monetary donations are 100% tax-deductible.

Team Sooke/Juan de Fuca has received two grants from the District of Sooke. One of the grants last year was for bus passes so that transportation to services in the west shore and Victoria are accessible.

About 14 people have kept the Team Sooke/Juan de Fuca group running for over two years, preparing for the arrival of the new family.


Tuesday, November 21 ~ SOOKE. The 24th annual “Santa Run” will take place on Saturday, December 9 starting at 5 pm. Presented by the Sooke Firefighter’s Association and IAFF Local 4841, the annual Santa Run is a well-loved holiday tradition in Sooke.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of firefighters from the District of Sooke, Otter Point and East Sooke, much-needed cash and food donations are collected in support of the Sooke Christmas Bureau and local families in need. Decorated with bright and colorful Christmas lights and playing festive holiday music, four trucks loaded with Santa and helpers will be driving through neighbourhoods to collect cash and food donations.

This event is the capstone of the firefighters annual Fill-a-Fire-Truck campaign (collection of non perishable food items and cash in front of the grocery stores and Shoppers in Sooke during December). Last year over $100,000 in food and cash was donated by caring residents.

“This tradition of giving, and helping our neighbours is really what Sooke is all about,” says Sooke Mayor Maja Tait. “Council extends much appreciation to our community – the firefighters, staff, volunteers and residents – who contribute to the Santa Run and foster the true spirit of the holidays.”

How to participate:  • Watch for your bag – delivered to homes in the town core on November 29 and bags can also be picked up at the Sooke Fire Station after November 29.• Check out the four routes on the bag and determine closest location to you.• Place non-perishable donations in the bag.• Follow the fire truck routes online via the live “Santa Tracker” www.sooke.ca/santa on the day of the run.• Listen for the music and look for the firetruck sirens and lights. • Meet Santa en route with your donation bag.

Donations can also be dropped off at the Sooke Fire Hall at 2225 Otter Point Road on the same day (Saturday, December 9). Updates on social media:  Facebook: SookeFireRescue   Twitter:  @SookeCa and #SookeSanta


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 https://www.shaw.ca/ShawTV/Victoria/

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: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/217/2017/09/Cannabis-Legalization-and-Regulation-in-BC_Discussion-Paper.pdf


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 www.shakeoutbc.ca/register


 

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:
https://www.crd.bc.ca/about/careers/current-opportunities/job-description?id=972


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):

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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. www.safars.org/events

 

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: sookefoodchi.ca

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 www.sookefoodchi.ca 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 www.sookefallfair.ca


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: sooketransition@gmail.com


 

SOOKE LOCAL NEWS – ARCHIVE