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Sooke’s top online stories of 2021: traffic, weather, wildlife

Flooding, deer diseases and endless traffic
Flooding and bank instability closed the south and northbound lanes of the Malahat past Westshore Parkway on Nov. 15. (Courtesy Emcon)

To quote Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, 2021 was “an exhausting year.”

While COVID-19 dominated 2020, 2021 brought with a whole host of new challenges to face like heat domes, atmospheric rivers and figuring out what an NFT is. But through it all, Tait said Sooke’s sense of community shone through.

“What always shines for me is that throughout all of this, there are incredible acts of kindness,” she said. “Folks looking out for one another and finding ways to care for each other. You see small gestures occurring every day. I find that to be truly remarkable.”

These are the Sooke News Mirror top 10 online stories of 2021:

1. VIDEO: Flooding, mudslide hampering travel through southern Vancouver Island

An atmospheric river dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on many parts of the province on Nov. 15, with the Island no exception. The flooding that ensued caused damage and road closures all over, including along Sooke Road, East Sooke Road, on Salt Spring Island and along the Malahat.

2. Fast-spreading disease baffles wildlife experts

Deer have also had a tough year. After Sooke resident Susan Renaud noticed two dead deer on her property, tissue samples were sent to Canadian and United States laboratories for testing. The culprit? A fast-spreading virus in deer somewhat similar to COVID-19. Hundreds of deer were reportedly killed by the virus.

3. Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and started reaching out to the community in March for feedback before they begin designing the development.

4. OTHER VIEWS: Sooke’s road to Nowhere

Long time Sooke resident Derek Lewers wrote this opinion piece, questioning the long-term impacts of the B.C. government’s $85-million Sooke Road highway project.

5. Parking complaints on the rise in Langford

From traffic to parking, the increased number of cars on the road is causing problems throughout the West Shore. In Langford, the city was dealing with a surge in complaints of people parking in front of their houses without proper permits.

6. Sooke institution Jenny’s closing after 20 years

After 20 plus years in business, Jenny’s Country Pantry and Tea Shoppe had to close its doors in November. But owner Jenny Crandall said she hoped to find a new space to open in the new year.

7. White crab found off Sooke coast is never seen in Canada

Fishers catching crab off the coast of Sooke found a rare sight in May, a white coloured Dungeness crab. The odds of the crab’s random leucism mutation are as low as one in six million.

8. VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 was shutdown for a major police incident one Friday night in May, which turned out to be a shooting in Metchosin. Police said they believed the shooting was a targeted incident.

9. Sooke homeless shelter must relocate by end of March

The Sooke homeless shelter had to find a new home in March after their lease expired. Amy Bell, the Sooke Region Communities Health Network’s shelter operations manager said as the only homeless shelter on the West Shore that they had helped residents get their lives settled. “We know we’ve done a good thing here, and we can’t wait to keep it growing.”

10. ‘Unprecedented’ weather causing Sooke Lake reservoir to fill up

Heavy rain saw the Sooke Lake Reservoir fill up a month earlier than usual, with extra water left to spill over the sides and into the rivers below. Experts worried about the impacts this could have various species’ habitats, including the annual salmon run.


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