OPINION SIG

MAYOR’S MESSAGE: Incredible community engagement guiding Sooke forward

Your monthly look at what’s happening at municipal hall

Thank you to the 1,200 respondents for providing rich input to guide Picture Sooke, the review of our official community plan (OCP)! Your insights are shaping the path forward for our young and growing community.

I am pleased to share that the phase two engagement summary is now available at picturesooke.ca. With your input, the development of a draft bylaw is underway. The public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft bylaw later this year.

The parks and trails master plan and the transportation plan are also shaping Sooke’s path forward. These plans resulted from 18-months of community discussions, and with council approving both in October, staff are working hard to implement them.

This includes the launch of a community consultation on a fenced dog park coming to Pond’s Park Corridor within our parks and trails system. This location was chosen to respond to the community’s keen desire for such an amenity in a fiscally responsible fashion. Staff will receive input until June 4 as they look to the community to assist with prioritizing site amenities. Our team is also listening to neighbour’s concerns to be mitigated during the site design phase of the project.

While details will not be finalized until the community provides their input, I am pleased to share that the site will include additional trees, thanks to a successful B..C Hydro ReGreening Grant. To provide your input and be kept informed on the project, please visit letstalk.sooke.ca/dogpark.

Progress continues on the sports box project at 2430 Phillips Rd. The development permit process is anticipated to take shape later this month, where preliminary design concepts of the sports box will be available to the public. Please find related project updates on the district website at sooke.ca/sportsbox.

Implementation of the transportation master plan continues with the design of several critical corridors. Staff are working towards a 75 per cent design completion of the Phillips Road Corridor, Charters Road Corridor and Throup Road Corridor projects by year-end. The intent is to develop shovel-ready projects that may best support our success with future grant applications.

The design of the Church Road Road Corridor project is approaching completion. Construction of phase one, Highway 14 to Wadams Way, is set to begin this summer. This project includes reconfiguring the road cross-section to include a bike lane and a turn lane to address long queue times at the intersection during peak hours.

The district is awaiting notice on its grant application for the Otter Point Road Corridor. If successful, the district will proceed with an active transportation network connecting Otter Point Road to Wadams Way. As an alternative to this application, the district has identified the project in 2024 of our five-year financial plan.

Regarding financial planning, the district will be issuing property tax notices later this month. Property taxes are the most significant funding source for the district. They support our core service areas, including fire services, park maintenance and greenspace acquisition, roads, legislative and development services, bylaw, wastewater treatment, and administration, including financial services.

Property taxes also support capital project development. For 2021, capital projects include Church Road design and intersection construction, installation of electric vehicle charging stations, design and construction of a fenced dog park, and design and construction of a multi-use sports box in coordination with SEAPARC.

Financial planning happens all year. To develop our municipal budget, we begin with a service-level review in the summer, followed by more specific budget conversations in the fall. Your feedback is critical to this process, and I encourage you to participate. Your early feedback aids the district in subsequent planning and ensures optimum use of your valued tax dollars.

If you have not yet already done so, please subscribe to district notifications on our website under the online services tab – subscribe. You can customize your preferences to ensure you are kept informed of district activities and receive information conveniently delivered to your inbox.

Of course, for residents who have limited computer access, please reach out to district staff by phoning 250-642-1634. They are happy to assist you with your queries.

I continue to look forward to an opportunity for us to connect once again in person. With vaccine dissemination reaching even more of the community, hope is certainly on the horizon.

•••

Maja Tait is the mayor of Sooke.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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