Which approach to community growth is followed in Sooke will be resolved at the ballot box. (file photo)

Which approach to community growth is followed in Sooke will be resolved at the ballot box. (file photo)

Growth emerges as main issue in Sooke byelection

Platforms vary widely on the issue

Eight candidates are challenging for Sooke’s vacant council seat and the issue most driving the candidates’ campaigns is the community’s growth.

Mayor Maja Tait said the emphasis on how growth is impacting the community is only reasonable given that the District of Sooke is one of the fastest-growing communities on Vancouver Island.

“We know we’ll be growing, but how and where the community grows is the question,” Tait said.

RELATED: Ten candidates will run

A review of the candidates’ platforms demonstrates that there are several schools of thought on that “how and where” question.

Lorraine Pawlivsky-Love said growth is inevitable but has emphasized that the region needs an economic development plan to make that growth a positive factor.

“We have a lot of alternatives for business in Sooke; a whole tech industry is possible here given that we have fiber optics in the community,” Pawlivsky-Love said.

“We don’t have to stop growth, but right now we have a runaway wagon and we do have to bring it under control and set a direction.”

It’s an approach consistent with both Britt Santowski and Dana Lajeunesse.

Santowski has written that the OCP needs to create a “vibrant, picturesque and sustainable future” by creating a drive-to and not a drive-through economy.

Lajeunesse is more specific, calling for a broader array of industries in Sooke.

Then there are the pragmatists.

Kevin Pearson, for example, doesn’t so much weigh in on the question of whether growth is good or bad, but rather on the issue of the capacity of the community to service growth.

“What should be driving growth is capacity. Health care, transportation, and the ability to service has to match the growth,” said Pearson.

To accomplish that, he, too, advocates economic development that will shift the tax burden off residential properties and onto the industrial and business sectors.

Tax rates are also on Jeff Stewart’s mind.

ALSO READ: Candidates emerge

For Stewart, the issue isn’t so much the community’s growth, but the cost of that growth to people of the district.

“The rapidly rising cost of Sooke’s municipal governance is the main issue. That governance will lead to a projected 30 per cent tax increase over the next five years,” Stewart said.

“I think the biggest issue for the next council is to deliver value for our property tax dollars.”

But perhaps the biggest divergence in opinion emerges when comparing the campaigns of Herb Haldane and Christina Schlattner.

Haldane is a vocal proponent of increasing the size of the community saying that the community really has no choice but to keep building.

“If you shut down the Sooke (real estate) market, prices will skyrocket,” Haldane said.

“Some of the people saying that we need to stop growth are the same people who moved here in recent years. Who are we to say that we can pull up the drawbridge now?”

But Schlattner says that opposition to growth is reasonable.

“We have to respect what the people in Sooke feel about it (growth). We have nature all around us and the ocean at our door. It’s why people came here,” said Schlattner.

“I’m not against growth entirely, but the developers and speculators should have to make concessions.”

Only Mick Rhodes has largely stayed away from the debate on growth, preferring instead to focus on his dream of a waterside park as his main priority.

Voting Day is Saturday (Sept. 28) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Edward Milne Secondary School, 6218 Sooke Rd.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Greater Victoria teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

One year in, teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressure from families

Richard Pierce is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Unsung Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Navy veteran helping others cope with post-traumatic stress disorder

Rich Pearce is the West Shore 2021 Unsung Hero

The value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020 (Peninsula News Review)
Value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020

New figures also show 25 per cent increase in number of new secondary suites

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read