Happy New Year, Sooke! I hope you had a happy holiday season. I look forward to the year ahead and the many exciting things happening in our community.
Among these exciting things is a new initiative by the district council: we invite you for coffee! Drop in, say hello, enjoy a cup of coffee and a cookie, and let’s chat.
We want to discuss ideas, hear your questions and concerns, and provide another way for you to stay informed on district activities. In January, please join us in the council chambers at Sooke Municipal Hall on Monday, Jan. 23, at 1 p.m. In February, we look forward to connecting on Monday, Feb. 27, at 10 a.m. (once again in council chambers). In March, we’ll head to Broomhill Playground on Monday, March 20, at 10 a.m. to meet with families enjoying spring break at the park.
I recognize these current sessions may be limiting for those working during the day. We’ll also connect at the Thursday Night Market and the Sooke County Market on Saturdays this summer.
For a complete listing of Chamber Coffee and Community Coffee dates and locations, please visit sooke.ca/events. While there, also check out the numerous other local events, including Amber Academy’s Rock of Ages with two shows on Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., the Wounded Warrior One Day Run event on Feb. 5 at 10 a.m., Sooke Philharmonic’s Tea and Symphony on Feb. 12 at 2:30 p.m. and the Westcoast Sooke 10K on Feb. 26 at 9 a.m.
Regarding the Wounded Warrior Run on Feb. 5, please note it travels from the Sooke Legion to Highway 14 and along Highway 14 from Otter Point Road to the four lanes. From 10 a.m. to noon during the event, expect delays.
The Wounded Warrior Run raises funds and awareness for Wounded Warriors Canada, a charitable organization that provides life-changing and family-saving programs and services to members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, first responders and their families who have been impacted by operational stress injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder. On behalf of the council, I appreciate our first responders and their families and thank the community for their patience while we support this important cause.
Throughout the year, events, road work and other projects may affect traffic in your neighbourhood. As the district is notified of these activities, they are posted to the district’s website at sooke.ca/traffic-advisories. Please use this page as a resource if you are wondering what is happening on a street near you.
As a growing community, road work is inevitable and, I hope, a sign of positive change as work is undertaken to expand sidewalks, improve transit stops and repair potholes. If you see a road concern, please let staff know. Sometimes valuable feedback is posted on social media rather than shared with our team. Reporting concerns directly to the district allows us to respond more quickly. Report online at sooke.ca/provide-feedback or call 250-642-1634.
Resource allocation is critical in responding to a growing community’s needs. Our annual budget and five-year financial plan provide the pathway of project priorities to ensure we can appropriately respond to the needs of Sooke. The conversation for the 2023 budget is underway.
Last month, I let you know about community service agreements as the next step in the 2023 budget conversation (which began in the summer with the citizen budget survey). The budget conversation continues at the Feb. 21 committee of the whole meeting. Another opportunity for the public to provide input on Budget 2023 will occur at a spring budget open house. I will let you know as these details are finalized. To follow the budget conversation, please visit letstalk.sooke.ca/budget or subscribe to our monthly electronic mailing list.
As the year starts, I look forward to continuing to respond to the needs of a growing community. It’s challenging, rewarding and inspiring, thanks to the community members I have the honour of serving.
Let’s continue to connect: over coffee, at public meetings and at community events throughout the year. My goal is to listen, respond, and work with you to meet residents’ needs today while planning for the future.
Maja Tait is the mayor of Sooke. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.