The Sooke District Committee of the Whole (C.O.W.) absorbed a January 17 presentation on the topic of regional sustainability.
The item was one of three on the agenda for the regularly scheduled meeting, and was delivered by Marg Misek-Evans, senior manager with Capital Regional District Regional and Strategic Planning.
She began by pointing out the importance of regional growth strategies and how they are customarily up for review every five years. Something which is now in the formative stage is a document called a regional sustainability strategy.
The highly detailed sort of plan, to be successful requires willing participation from municipalities within the CRD.
“What role does Sooke see itself playing over the next quarter century?” asked Misek-Evans as she made the powerpoint presentation.
“Are Sooke’s plans consistent with the region’s?”
Without going too deeply into the complex study, Misek-Evans directed the group to the CRD’s website – www.crd.bc.ca/sustainability for more detailed material.
Mayor Janet Evans declared that much of the information the CRD spokesperson referred to is already contained in the district’s Official Community Plan.
Councillor Maja Tait asked Misek-Evans if any contradictions had been found while feeling out municipalities on the growth-strategy subject. She heard that “not all municipalities are expected to respond equally.”
Councillor Ron Dumont was next to speak, saying he was “a little disappointed” with the growth strategy process he felt was to have been short-term, “but had been going on for a long time.”
“Now the CRD is controlling to the west of us,” said Dumont, “allowing subdivisions that affect us tremendously, using our roads, etc. We don’t have a say.”
Misek-Evans invited Councillor Dumont to bring those, or any other concerns to the attention of the CRD Board.
Citizen Rick Bates posed a hypothetical question after stating he was “unclear about how municipalities and the regional district fall in line on this… toward sustainability.”
He wondered aloud what the CRD could do, for example, if Central Saanich decided to get rid of farms?
This point was noted by the presenter who, prior to her conclusion, heard a comment/question made by Terrance Martin on the subject of lands being bought by CRD Parks.
Misek-Evans said she had “no cost-benefit analysis of these measures” although they were likely part of CRD Parks Management’s strategic plan and, as such, “had gone through public process.”