Editorial: Accommodate local businesses

Roundabout construction will impede tourists and local businesses

Decisions, decisions, decisions. The District of Sooke council is forever making decisions. Some of them are good, others not so much.

Take for example, the roundabout. Council is all for it and many residents are as well, but the business community is perturbed by the timing of the construction – right smack dab in the middle of tourist season. What consideration was given to that aspect of the project? Probably none, and if there was consideration it wasn’t serious enough.

That poor decision by council is a head scratcher.  We rely on our local businesses in many ways. There are, of course, the local jobs created. But it’s more than that. If you want a town to be attractive to live, work or play in, then you have to be willing to accommodate. If you want more businesses to locate or thrive here, make decisions to encourage them to locate here. Sooke needs growth in the commercial sector and council needs to extend a helping hand in any way it can. Businesses really do struggle in Sooke. A couple of months of delay on the roundabout shouldn’t make any difference one way or another to the project but it will make a big difference to our  business community. The commercial sector is also where more tax dollars can come from, but without a good business climate, there will not be any growth and we will remain a bedroom community with people shopping and doing business elsewhere. Is this the vision council has for Sooke? We also need to accommodate our visitors.

Sooke has grown an incredible amount even in the last 10 years, probably more in 10 years than the last 30. And the growth isn’t stopping any time soon. The infrastructure and the planning hasn’t kept up. Let’s face it, people still drive and many have to. Our transit system is not designed or large enough to accommodate all areas of Sooke. Cycling is a alternative but not everyone wants to get around on a bike, and it’s dangerous on our roads.

We need to make it easier for people to enjoy our beautiful area, not harder. Nothing needs to be written in stone, council does have the ability to reverse decisions for the good of the community. It’s not too late to get some chutzpah and do what is the right thing for our local business community. Council may not please the Ministry of Transport but they sure will please the locals – and that’s where their loyalties should lie.