Highlights from the year end reports:
Sooke Fire Rescue Service
In his annual report to council, Fire Chief Steve Sorensen outlined the steady growth of calls for service and the goals for 2012-13.
The reports states that there has been a 10 per cent increase in call volumes, totaling 873 calls in 2011. The majority of the calls were for medical aid (398), complaints of all kinds (170), false alarms (82), MVI & Rescue (75) and fires — all types 68.
The fire rescue service has put in 6,000 of training for firefighters. There is a shortage of volunteers currently and Sorensen states he is pleased that the federal government has allowed a $3,000 credit on income tax for volunteer firefighters who contribute 200 hours.
He stated that arson fires were a problem with 42 confirmed arson fires in the past four years. Of 68 fire calls in 2011, 10 were deliberately set.
Goals for 2012-13 include:
• recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters;
• educational and training needs;
• investigate options for additional career firefighters, possibly a joint position with a mechanic or public works employee. The need for a full-time fire inspector;
• investigate installing a computer system for front line apparatus and the fire inspector vehicle;
• work towards a fire station at Sunriver;
• refine the fire department’s apparatus replacement plan and have it adopted by council;
• recommendation of placing the Community Wildfire Protection Plan into the OCP.
Emergency Services would like to establish a proper Emergency Operations Centre and budget for emergency/disaster equipment.
The department’s report includes the 2011 Local Government Election. the adoption of 37 bylaws, most notably the Sooke Zoning Bylaw. Amendments were made to various bylaws and drafting was begun on the Development Cost Charges Bylaw and the Council Procedures Bylaw. Policies adopted in 2011 include the Code of Ethics Policies (6) and the Latecomer Policy.
The Community Grant Review Committee allocated $67,000 funds to 15 different community organizations.
The Bylaw Enforcement and Business Licencing departments were kept busy with slightly more complaints than in 2010. The most common complaints were for illegal parking, private property general and unsightly premises. In 2011 there were 540 business licences issued.
Activities in 2011 included adoption of Bylaw No. 500, Sooke Zoning Bylaw and the Sooke Sign Bylaw. A Secondary and Small Suites Bylaw was endorsed by council in Nov. 2011 and work on a Sooke Agricultural Plan has begun.
A Sooke Housing Options Forum was held with another scheduled for 2012; and new Development Procedures and Development Applications Bylaw s were adopted; Development Application fees totaled $74,456 for 2011.
The Approving Officer approved 174 new lots in 2011, 19 subdivision plans, 31 new building strata lots in five townhouse projects, a one lot subdivision and 112 new subdivision applications were received.
The Engineering Department is responsible for the maintenance of the district-owned assets such as roads, sewer, drainage. In 2011 they constructed the public boat launch, removed the Florence Filberg and four other wrecks. Preliminary design work for the first phase of the Grant Road Connector is underway as is work for the Hwy 14/Waterview Street roundabout. Townsend Road intersection improvements were made, sharrows painted on Rhodonite and improvements to Maple Avenue.
Parks and Environmental Service Department
Initiatives in 2011 included designs for the Sooke River pedestrian crossing at Soule Road; revitalization of Pineridge Park; hosting the Sooke Subaru Triathlon; clean up campaigns, Starlight Cinema; hazardous tree and misc. enquiries. Other works include park permits, bike racks, interpretive signs, Communities in Bloom conference and involvement and various other tasks. Environmentally the department completed Rainwater Management Plans, worked with the Ministry of the Environment and the CRD in various capacities.
The overall permits for 2011 were down from 2010. Permits for residential units totaled 145, down 35 from 2010; others including commercial and industrial were 101, down from 118. Total new units created in 2011 was 188, compared to 228 in 2010. Permit revenues in 2011 were $438,669.37 down $138,000 from the previous year.