Sooke population drop raises questions

Survey shows population in Sooke needs access to more services

Mayor Maja Tait

Mayor Maja Tait

Octavian Lacatusu

Sooke News Mirror

A recent survey shows Sooke lost just over a hundred of its citizens in the last year, while Langford gained more than a thousand. This isn’t by any means startling, but the odd question remains:

Where have all these folks gone?

Well, they certainly weren’t abducted by aliens; at least, we hope not. In fact Sooke Mayor Maja Tait believes the reasons behind the township’s minor drop in population are evident: lack of easy access to services could be a deterrent for some considering to live here.

Or, as she notes, “do we have enough?”

“Finding daycare was a challenge for young families in Sooke… is that still a problem, well, I’m not entirely sure,” she said, adding that proximity and cost for locals to important services could play a big role in all of this. “Geographically-speaking, seniors with health challenges may also find it difficult because we’re far from readily-available medical services.”

And it’s not just the basics, Tait says; given all the natural wonder on the island, making it easier for both citizens and locals to see and travel around is equally an important factor. In Langford’s case, this could very well be true.

“Langford has done extensive work to create a liveable community in terms of recreation services, parks and trails, so I think sometimes it can go beyond just an affordable house when you have parks and trails right outside your door,” she said. “We should consider doing this as well, because we do have an abundance of unique areas – like redeveloping the bike park, for example, or remediating the playing field. We need to promote all the wonderful things about our community.”

In retrospect, the numbers aren’t all that bad: Sooke’s population was steady at 12,390 in 2013 and dropped to 12,257 in 2014 by -1.19 per cent decrease. Comparatively, Langford bloomed by 3.99 per cent, bringing its total of 33,390 in 2013 to 34,677 in 2014.

Others like local real estate agent Shayne Fedoshyenko, say that it is more than just the lack of comfy amenities that are scaring potential citizens away from Sooke.

“It’s the taxes. They are way too high,” he said. “People ask, ‘why would I come out here in Sooke and be 35 minutes away if I can buy a house closer to Victoria with the same price and not have to deal with Sooke Road or any of the commute.’”

Fedoshyenko notes that while houses can be bought for almost the same kind of money, there is something to Sooke that is rather special: its vast availability of space and nature.

“From East Sooke Park to Port Renfrew, each person averages around two and a half acres of parkland with all the trails accessible right from their own back yard,” he said. “Where else around here would a regular buyer be able to afford such a thing?”

Just Posted

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read