COLUMN: It is time to cash in on Sooksquatch Conspiracy

Coming up with something ludicrously extravagant may just be the flare Sooke needs.

Now that the shiny new roundabout is inching toward completion, making us the envy of every town our size that doesn’t have a million dollar traffic circle, it’s time for a concerted effort to entice more people to spend their time and money in Sooke.

While a walk on Whiffen Spit, some of the best fishing in the world and the Sooke Philharmonic attract a certain demographic from throughout the Capital region and beyond, we need something decidedly more mainstream, with curb appeal guaranteed to attract the unwashed masses.

I think the solution is right here in our own backyard, stands about seven feet tall, is covered with fur and lives somewhere in the Sooke Hills. With a little help from locals eager to buy into a good scam, we can orchestrate a plan that will have gullible people from all over the globe coming to Sooke to see our Sooksquatch.

First, we cajole the local chamber of commerce into coughing up enough coin to create a costume. It doesn’t have to be too elaborate, just something that looks somewhat believable in a blurry photo shot from a distance that we post on a website. We can use some of the tallest members of Edward Milne School’s basketball team to play the part of Sooksquatch and add more pictures from various locations that highlight our locale. I’m sure we can find a chambermaid at the Prestige willing to play along with an early morning Sooksquatch sighting and a couple of sleep deprived teens working the drive through at McDonald’s to say “It was really dark and raining pretty hard, but it sure looked like Sooksquatch wolfing down a burger in the back of that Ford F-150 at 4 a.m. last Thursday.”

We could utilize the local theatre troupe to stage some sightings we add to the website to convince out of towners that there’s a good chance you’re going to run into someone who’s had a close encounter with Sooksquatch if you spend some time here.

Setting up a couple of encounters on the same day would establish the notion that there may be even more than one of these friendly beasts in our midst. If we can convince our First Nation friends to buy in by concocting an ancient legend that ties into Sooksquatch with a well-placed wink, nod or nudge, it will boost our international street cred considerably.

Then we organize a contest, under the direction of the Sooke Fine Arts Society, to design a unique Sooke toque featuring a furry Sooksquatch patch that we sell at local businesses. The profit from the toques will immortalize the brand and finance a slush fund to cover legal fees if our conspiracy is exposed on CNN.

Then, with all the money we squirrel away during the heyday of Sooksquatch, we can proceed with plan B to put Sooke on the map by building a casino where we shepherd in another flock that loves to be fleeced.

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Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist.