OPINION SIG

MAYOR’S MESSAGE: Several major projects planned for Sooke this year

Affordable housing projects expected to open in 2022

Maja Tait | Sooke Mayor

While 2021 remained challenging, there is so much for us to be grateful for. Reflecting on the last 12-months, much has happened, and more is set to take shape in the coming months.

As a community, we continued to support each other through the pandemic, and we rallied during weather events.

We saw ground broken on several housing projects, including 75 affordable rental homes on Charters Road (occupancy for this modular build is anticipated later this year). B.C. Housing also began construction on 170 homes for many people with varying incomes on Drennan Street. The building is expected to open in fall 2023.

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Progress was made on the community multi-use sports box at 2430 Phillips Rd. and the Stickleback Dog Park at Pond’s Park Corridor (named for its location on the Stickleback Urban Trail) – both of these park amenities are anticipated to open this spring. Also opening this spring – the Sooke branch of the Vancouver Island Public Library on Wadams Way.

The Bluff’s Staircase project was completed in November, and the Brailsford Road Connector opened in December to help create a more connected community.

Significant progress was made on the Church Road Corridor and Otter Point Road Active Transportation Corridor projects, with significant roadwork completed throughout the fall and into December. Weather delays caused landscaping and street lighting to roll into the new year. It is anticipated these projects will be complete in the coming weeks (late winter/early spring).

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We received several grants – from B.C. Hydro’s Tree Regreening Grant to $4.6 million in funding for the wastewater treatment plant to $1.8 million for the Otter Point Road Active Transportation Infraststructre to $500,000 for the Church Road Corridor Project and another $494,270 to create more efficient development approval processes and support economic recovery during the pandemic.

This work, identified as priorities in the respective master plans (Parks & Trails Master Plan and Transportation Master Plan), are examples of how our community is moving forward with your voices informing plan development and Council prioritizing work to see the plans through to fruition.

Your voices informed 2022 budget development with projects identified for 2022 to include:

• Roundabout at Church Road/Throup Road;

• Rural Road Paving Project (Connie and Manzer);

• New bus shelter on Otter Point with electric vehicle charging infrastructure;

• Continuation of significant road work design including conceptual planning of the Otter Point/Wadams Roundabout/Realignment Project; Charters Road coordinator; Phillips Road Corridor; Throup Road Connection;

• Master Traffic Impact Analysis Study;

• Employment Lands Strategy and;

• Whiffin Spit and Town Centre Parks Master Planning.

Timelines for these projects will be shared, once available, through the District website and at letstalk.sooke.ca. I will also keep you informed.

Work will continue on the Official Community Plan (OCP) review during the first half of 2022.

I would like to, once again, thank the community for their tremendous input with the OCP revisions. The OCP Advisory Committee is reviewing a revised draft. After Council receives a recommendation from the committee to adopt the OCP as a bylaw, it will proceed to first reading (or introduction to Council). After the second reading (Council’s discussion in principle on the bylaw), a public hearing on the OCP Bylaw will occur. This is another opportunity for the community to provide input.

Following the public hearing, public participation in the bylaw will close. The bylaw will proceed to the third reading (final Council discussion including any changes made along the way) before adoption.

Your input on bylaw development and amendments is welcome and appreciated. We are pleased to have all council meetings available on the District’s YouTube channel and have made receiving meeting notifications more accessible with an option to subscribe. Visit sooke.ca under “online services” to find our digital subscription options.

For residents who may have limited computer access, please reach out to district staff by phoning 250-642-1634. They are happy to assist you with your queries and keep you informed.

As we commence a new year, I would also like to express my appreciation for the incredible work of the Committees of Council. The district has five committees (Climate Action, Community Economic Development, Land Use and Development, Official Community Plan Revisions and Sooke Program of the Arts), citizen volunteers who make recommendations to Council. Several committee members completed terms in December, including Anna Russell, Michael Tacon, Cassandra Schostek, Jessica Prieto, Lori Kirk, and Diego Narvaes. Thank you for your significant contributions to the community!

As we turn the page on our calendars, an exciting year awaits.

I wish you and your family all the best for the year ahead. Stay well, Sooke.

•••

Maja Tait is the mayor of Sooke. Email mtait@sooke.ca.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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