Official Community Plans are written to be the vision of a community. They present a long tern vision, establish goals and objectives and reflect a community’s values. It’s the foundation on which planning and development rely.
Otter Point’s Official Community Plan is something just a little different. While it contains all of the usual bylaws, zonings and policies, it also contains an addendum comprised of the history of Otter Point.
Arnie Campbell said when they first began reviewing the OCP, they found the history to be out of date and Juan de Fuca planner June Klassen approached Campbell about taking on the project of updating the history. Campbell, is the former president of the Otter Point and Shirley Resident Ratepayers Association (OPSRRA). He enlisted the help of Elida Peers and they began the two year journey.
They put their heads together and started compiling the history of the area and in the process they discovered little bits of history they didn’t know existed.
They talked to people who still remembered the region in their lifetime and as a result a impressive booklet emerged. They scoured the archives at the Sooke Region Museum and they researched facts and fiction.
“They either corrected wrong information or gave us new stuff the museum was unaware of,” said Campbell.
“Did you know that the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church isn’t the first Catholic church in the area?” asked Campbell.
There was a St. Xavier Catholic Church on the corner of Kemp Lake and Otter Point Roads, kitty-corner to the present firehall. It was there in the 1960s but it never lasted more than a decade.
As the logging industry faded, so did the need for a church. It became a teacherage and then a private residence.
There was a horse race track on the Poirier Ranch and they found a map from 1894 showing its location.
The man who Kemp Lake is named after was a squatter on Crown land and there was a railway that ran from Tugwell Road to Robinson Road then to Poirier Lake onwards to DeMamiel Creek before it ended at the Sooke River. The railway hauled logs to Cooper Cove.
They also found a company drilled for oil at Muir Creek. They went down 1,200 feet without discovering any crude.
And then there are the accounts of Emily Carr…
Those are just some of the stories and bits of history included in the booklet. The booklet will be presented to those who contributed to it at a small private reception on February 26.
It took two years to complete and it is not a document which will sit on the shelf gathering dust. It is meant to be a document that can be reopened and added to and will be part of the OCP.
Arnie Campbell has written and edited the OPSRRA newsletter for many years and he will now be handing over the task to Marika Nagasaka. He’ll continue to be involved in smaller and smaller ways as he eases himself into some kind of “retirement.”