Can a working farm in Sooke work?

Letter

It’s become apparent recently that many Sooke citizens would like to see their tax dollars utilized in support of some form of unionized public works department, as opposed to the outsourcing of services.  Now, I know for a fact that many services which are outsourced, are being outsourced to small, locally based businesses, which I think is pretty cool.  I know some of the people who are taking care of elements of our community infrastructure on a contractual basis, and they are doing a great job.  But this letter is not intended to discuss the relative merits for and against outsourcing, I simply wanted to mention that outsourcing is done in our District, and that it can work really well for everyone if done mindfully.

Over the past couple of years, the concept that Sooke could purchase Woodside Farm and maintain it as a community owned, working farm has floated about.  Personally, I think this is a wonderful idea, however, the practicality of paying a mortgage on this property through profits made on the farming component seems dubious to me at best. Namely because farms these days don’t seem to be able to generate any profit, unless they are of the ‘factory’ variety, or well positioned as tourism-based entities. Woodside Farm has potential to generate economy in other respects, like tourism and the like, and I for one would love to see that property preserved and owned by our community, but there’s a lot of work to do to get it up to speed. But if there is vision and desire, I bet it could fly.

When one looks at this property through the right lens, one might even see farmed land sharing space with solar power generating cells. T’Souke is becoming recognized as leaders in the field of solar power, (no pun intended) and a partnership between the District and T’Souke First Nation, could raise this property to a whole other level. I find myself constantly amazed by the adaptability, innovation and progressive nature of this land’s indigenous people. What they are doing is inspiring, to say the least. It behooves the District to do everything it can to coordinate efforts with the First Nation to bring clean power and sustainability to all people who call Sooke home.

There has also been interest expressed in developing a composting facility in Sooke, which could potentially service the entire South Island region. To place such a facility nearby to our sewage treatment plant makes a lot of sense, and it is quite possible that the profits made in running this composting facility could go toward paying the mortgage on Woodside Farm. The operating costs would include wages for employees, and if it makes sense to start building a municipal works department, this might be the opportunity we’d need to get going on that, without putting the environment at undue risk. The solar cells could provide clean power for this facility, creating a sustainable, valuable community asset kept up by generations of Sookies.

This idea is not my idea. I’ve heard it mentioned many times during EDC meetings, and I always felt it was a great idea just waiting to be discussed, however it just hasn’t really come up. Which is why I’m writing this letter.

Don Brown’s concept of community-owned, coop-run public service utilities I think has merit, however I don’t personally feel that something as crucial to our environment as a sewage system is the best place to start experimenting with this.  Perhaps a composting facility, and a municipally-owned farm with solar power generation can be our community experiment. It could be a gateway to discovering new ways of building sustainability and cooperative spirit into our community.

Lorien Arnold

Sooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

Saskatoon resident liajah Pidskalny poses with his bike near the University of Victoria after putting on thousands of kilometres to raise awareness of the overdose and mental health crisis. (Courtesy Iliajah Pidskalny)
Saskatoon cyclist winds up mental health and overdose awareness ride in Victoria

Iliajah Pidskalny braves prairie winter conditions to get word out to communities

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Most Read