Committee of the Whole meeting for Oct. 3, 2011.
Transition town — Michael Tacon of the Sooke Transition Town Society gave a presentation to council defining the STTC organization and how it can work together with the District of Sooke to make the town “a more resilient and sustainable community.”
He defined resilience as the key ability to absorb change, such as energy depletion, climate change and economic instability. The idea of starting a transition town in Sooke came last June and official status happened in November.
Tacon, retired, moved to Sooke in 2004 and said he was “pumped by all the good things going on in this community.” He mentioned the solar plot and allotment garden as indications that there is already “slight movement in the community towards (becoming a transition town).
Coun. Maja Tait said when the district adopted the Official Community Plan there were talks about similar visions. She suggested the possibility of STTC having open houses for different projects and to weave it into the OCP. “It would help with collaboration,” she said. Coun. Dave Bennett confirmed the overlap and said there was already a housing options forums where matters like affordable and interim housing were discussed. He agreed with the idea of working together.
Slow food cycle — Lee Hindrichs, director of the Sooke Slow Food Cycle, talked about the future of the event that took place last Sunday. She explained her hopes that the bike ride could extend beyond the boundaries of Sooke into Port Renfrew, but before that can happen repair work needs to be done.
“The road between here and there is a suicide path,” she said.
Hindrichs also said cycling provides an economic benefit and suggested the idea of building community-based multi-use trails that would make Sooke more tourist friendly.
She asked council to waive the fees for the various permits that will be needed for Sooke Slow Food Cycle, as well as for the rental of vests and cones. She also requested use of the contingency fund to rent bikes and provide admission for the youth volunteers. Council recommended this be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
Stephen Hindrichs spoke on behalf of the Juan de Fuca Cycling Coalition and asked whether the district was applying for a portion of a $30 million provincial grant for things like bike lanes.
Bennett said council would have to determine exactly what criteria is needed to apply. Coun. Berger said a municipality can only back one project at a time, but said electoral areas like Juan de Fuca can apply for several and encouraged Hindrichs to speak to director Mike Hicks. Tait said the deadline to apply is from Oct. 14 to Dec. 28 and urged any ideas to be emailed to council and staff as soon as possible.
School District 62 long range plan — Superintendent of schools Jim Cambridge gave an update to council and also talked about the projections of movement trends done by a commissioned study in 2007.
“We are expecting more families in the Sooke area than anywhere else, even Langford,” said Cambridge, attributing the growth to increasing families being raised in high-density housing like apartments and townhouses. That means increased pressure on schools in the area, many of which will be overcapacity in years to come unless schools are expanded or new ones built. The advent of full-day kindergarten has also put strains on classrooms.
“We’re growing by 300 students a year, it’s like adding a new elementary school every year for the next 15 years.”
Coun. Bev Berger said the district submits a capital plan every year to the provincial government for funding. Cambridge replied that SD62 puts their name on the list and hopes for the best, but doesn’t know what will get approved and what will not. Tait suggested school district requests should be made to council next September so they can be brought up with the ministers at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities meeting. Council made a motion for the recommendation of building additional schools at the next meeting.