As we turn the page on the pandemic, our hearts are heavy with activity overseas.
The Ukrainian flag is flying at Sooke Municipal Hall as we stand in solidarity with all impacted by the current event. Those wishing looking for how best to help may reach out to donate to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal or consider lending a hand with the Grouse Nest Ukranian Safe Haven project.
Residents, Brian and Sharon Holowaychuk, are working with the community to provide more than 100 Ukrainian refugees with a safe and peaceful place to call home. To learn more about their project and how you can be involved, please go online to www.ukrainiansafehaven.org.
Another topic in the community is traffic. Many residents have been dealing with long commutes. I understand your frustrations and the impact the extended travel time has on you and your families.
The district is working with numerous stakeholders to help solve this problem, including the province and School District 62.
I am pleased to share that the forcemain construction for Charters Road remains on schedule, reopening slightly sooner than anticipated. Signage remains, directing northbound vehicles to yield to ongoing southbound traffic. This traffic flow pattern will remain until repairs can be completed in full. Design for this work is approaching 90 per cent, and the district continues to work with the province to secure potential funding.
Development and growth in Sooke certainly go hand-in-hand with transportation infrastructure. Most of our transportation systems are built to rural standards, and bringing corridors up to urban standards takes time and resources. One of the resource tools is Development Cost Charges (DCCs), or funds collected from developers to contribute to the costs of infrastructure required to service new growth in the community.
DCCs are regulated through the Local Government Act and are a vital tool for local governments to facilitate and finance development in their community sustainably. Updates have been made to the district’s DCC Bylaw, which is currently with the province for approval. Once approval from the province is received, the bylaw will return to council for final reading and adoption – this is anticipated later this year.
Last Friday, the district met an exciting milestone with the opening of the Stickleback Dog Park. This long-anticipated community amenity is a welcome asset, providing an excellent opportunity for residents to connect with their four-legged friends! A grand opening celebration will take place this summer after installing a pavilion and additional dog agility equipment.
Another exciting milestone on the horizon is the opening of the sports box in Sunriver. The facility’s soft opening is anticipated in May, and a grand opening event is planned for June. Weather delays impact the floor pour for the facility, which is now scheduled for April 6.
Speaking of key dates, please mark your calendars for several upcoming events:
Pemberton Homes Easter Egg Hunt at Ed Macgregor Park on April 16 at 10 a.m.
Considering a Heat Pump: Free Webinar on April 21 at noon
Community Clean-up Event at Broomhill Playground on April 22 at 9:30 a.m.
Sooke Country Market Opening Day on April 23 at 10 a.m.
Stay tuned for a new date for the Sooke Library grand opening ceremony, which has been delayed due to the current labour action.
Additionally, the district is preparing another open house specific to the official community plan. Council is keen to continue to consult with residents as we enter the final stages in preparing this document which guides land use in Sooke for the next 10 years.
Council’s discussion with the community on the draft OCP is the next phase in the plan development after the OCP advisory committee has completed its work over the last 18 months. I want to extend my appreciation to the committee for their efforts in bringing the draft plan to its current state and acknowledge the work of this team: Helen Ritts (chair), Norman Amirault, Coun. Al Beddows, Terry Cristall, Steve Grundy, Ellen Lewers, Linda MacMillan and Siomonn Pulla.
The date of the OCP open house has not yet been finalized; however, the district will communicate this information once available. Please connect with us on the draft plan. As a critical guiding document for the district, we must hear your concerns and understand where there may be trade-offs to help us realize our community vision.
I will keep you informed on district activities and invite you to subscribe to the district’s monthly newsletter as a great way to stay connected or call us at 250.642.1634.
Maja Tait is the mayor of Sooke. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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