Looking Back: Jan 23
Jan. 23, 1985
Taxes going up
Taxpayers in Sooke and the surrounding unincorporated western communities will face a four per cent increase in taxes, and a 15.8 per cent increase in planning costs in 1985, Sooke regional director Ray Nestman said last week.
Electoral area directors of the Capital Regional District approved a tax levy of $569,380 Jan. 7, an increase of $77,510 over 1984.
The increases are due to the provincial government’s withdrawal of financial support.
Community planning programs previously covered by provincial grants now must be paid out of the local taxes. The increase is largely due to the province rejecting a planning grant application for $43,000 to cover settlement plan reviews in the western communities.
Mr. Nestman said the 1985 tax bill for Sooke, Langford, Colwood and View Royal “is a more realistic figure as it reflects more the true costs of planning.”
Jan. 20, 1993
Harbour plan to go to vote
Sooke residents will have the final word on whether the controversial Sooke Harbour, Basin and Inlet Management plan will be implemented.
About 150 residents, mostly waterfront property owners, voted almost unanimously in favour of putting the final draft of the plan to a plebiscite vote of all Sooke ratepayers before it is sent to the CRD directors for approval.
Many at Wednesday evening’s standing room-only meeting at the Community Hall dining room felt a plebiscite was the only way they could make sure concerns about the plan are addressed.
This, despite assurances from committee members, regional director Lorna Barry and senior CRD planner Yoon Chee that public input would be adhered to.
“Your concerns will be listened to, I can guarantee you that,” Chee said.
Over 750 property owners singed a petition opposing a number of aspects of a draft plan, drawn up by a citizen’s committee with the assistance of a CRD planner.
Jan. 20, 1999
East Sooke APC chair under fire
The chair of the East Sooke Advisory Planning Commission is under investigation after he was discovered counselling Silver Spray developer Michael Thornton on how to get his controversial rezoning application approved.
In an Nov. 2 email correspondence obtained by the Sooke News Mirror, Alan Strickland tells Thornton that he has “to stick by my instincts as a communicator and counsel you that the best spin here is to appear to cooperate with (regional director Diane) Bernard’s request for an environmental review, and to acknowledge it publicly, in order to start working on getting her feeling ‘comfortable’ with a decision to approve.”
The correspondence was sent from Strickland’s Ministry of Finance office where he is employed as a communications manager.
When contacted by the News Mirror about the correspondence, Strickland asked to be a faxed a copy of the email before commenting. He then failed to return repeated calls by the News Mirror.
Jan. 26, 2005
Sooke says ‘no’ to borrowing for roads
The people have spoken -- twice.
That’s the thoughts of many on the prevailing side in Saturday’s District of Sooke referendum. The municipality’s quest to borrow $2.6 million for a pair of road projects was thwarted by 1,608 electors casting “no’ ballots.
On the other side, 1,312 voted in favour -- a difference of 296 -- of borrowing for Highway 14 upgrades in the downtown and phase one of the parallel connector.
“Sooke residents rejected a poorly considered road plan in Saturday’s referendum, with the covenant on the golf course representing the real heart behind the ‘no’ vote,” said Jen Smith, a representative of the Sooke Area Residents Association, alluding to the proposed road going through the John Phillips Memorial Golf club property.
“I only hope that in the next golf course rezoning (public hearing) on Jan. 31, the mayor and council finally decide to listen to the majority.”