Skip to content

MAYOR’S MESSAGE – Sooke addresses new legislation, infrastructure and budget priorities

Like all municipalities across B.C., Sooke is navigating new provincial legislation

Maja Tait | Contributed

To begin this month’s mayoral message, I am pleased to warmly welcome T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Larry Underwood and my appreciation to outgoing Chief Gordon Planes.

The district and the T’Sou-ke Nation have a special relationship as friends, collaborators and stewards of these lands on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish People that we are so proud to call home.

I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude for the support and kindness shown by many in the community for me and my family during the recent passing of my father. Your thoughts and care are very much appreciated.

With my father’s passing timing, I missed the previous Coffee with Council. Still, I eagerly anticipated hosting another opportunity to connect and engage in meaningful dialogue about the issues that matter most to you.

ALSO READ: Sooke’s Viewpointe Estates faces environmental scrutiny

Like many municipalities across the province, Sooke is navigating new provincial legislation. To help everyone understand the implications of these changes, the district has launched a new web page where you can find relevant information and updates.

One key aspect of this legislation, Bill 44 of the Local Government Act, pertains to public hearings for zoning bylaw amendments related to residential development. The province prohibits local governments from hosting public hearings where such amendments align with the official community plan and deliver predominantly residential development.

At the Feb. 12 council meeting, council discussed what this means for Sooke and how we best proceed to ensure residents’ voices are heard. Staff brought a report to the council meeting on Feb. 26 to share more information on this as we determine the next related steps for our community.

Another key aspect of Bill 44 is provincially regulated zoning for small-scale, multi-unit housing within the urban containment boundary and where there is a connection between the regional district water service and the district’s sewer service. In short, this legislation means that three units are permitted on single-family or duplex lots less than 280 square metres, and four units are allowed on single-family duplex lots greater than 280 square metres with water and sewer connections, unless otherwise exempt.

I’m pleased to announce that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure representatives will attend the April 8 council meeting to discuss ongoing and upcoming Highway 14 projects. Understanding the short-, medium-, and long-term solutions being considered will allow us to align our efforts more effectively as we work towards improving the quality of life for all residents.

Specific to local roads, the Church/Throup roundabout is making steady progress, and the project remains on track for substantial completion this spring. Not only will this assist with vehicle traffic, but the supporting pedestrian improvements are also considerable.

When travelling in the area, you’ll notice a four-metre multi-use trail emerging and vastly improved sightlines. This progress is the implementation of our transportation master plan in action!

If you still need to look at this plan, I encourage you. The plan outlines the road standards we are working to build in Sooke. This is important as new developments come forward. It explains to the prospective developers the frontage improvement we are asking for as part of their projects and investment in our community.

Work on another transportation investment is beginning as the roundabout approaches its final stages. Charters Road construction is underway.

In planning the timing of works with Charters Road, like the start of the Church/Throup roundabout, a significant consideration is “the fisheries window.” This window is when work affecting streams reduces the risk to fish and fish habitats.

Best efforts are always made to minimize the impact on residents; however, other considerations come into effect with road projects that affect construction times. The fisheries window is one such consideration.

These capital works are a significant component of the district’s five-year financial plan.

In updating our financial plan, council is working towards adopting the 2024 budget.

In November, council received the What We Heard Budget Report. In December, we heard about an asset management program and what this might look like for Sooke. Next, council will discuss a draft budget prepared by staff. A budget open house is anticipated to take place in March. Follow this conversation at

With your input laying the foundation of our budget development, we heard that transportation, including the ability to safely walk or bike around Sooke, traffic planning, management and road maintenance, is your number 1 priority. We also heard that other top priorities for residents are emergency response services (police and fire), parks and greenspaces (including care for the environment), health and wellness services, and overall community planning. I look forward to seeing how staff have captured your priorities in the draft budget and invite you to stay informed.

As with all public meetings, the meetings are live-streamed, and doors are open for the public to attend. A meeting recording is also available on our website and YouTube channel. We host meetings at various times to reach as many residents as possible. Of course, written correspondence is also welcome if you cannot attend a public meeting.

Finally, I express my gratitude to our dedicated team on council and among our staff, who have supported me through the past month’s challenges. Your unwavering commitment to serving our community is commendable.

I look forward to continuing progress on the many initiatives underway, fueled by a collective effort and spirit of collaboration, on our path to realizing Sooke’s potential.


Maja Tait is the mayor of Sooke. Email