MAYOR’S REPORT: SEAPARC, pandemic and taxes come to forefront

No tax increase expected for most taxpayers in Sooke

Maja Tait | Contributed

Sincere thanks to the Sooke News Mirror for these opportunities to keep readers updated. This time around, I’d like to address a few issues that are at the forefront of our community as June gets underway.

First, good news about SEAPARC. Its summer camps are opening this month and staff are developing COVID-19 safety protocols for the relaunch of fitness classes and use of the pool.

The facility was closed immediately on the province’s declaration of a state of an emergency. That created the opportunity to transform the arena into a temporary shelter for the unhoused. This use will end on June 21 to permit SEAPARC’s re-opening to the public.

RELATED: Sooke temporary homeless shelter packs up early

I am proud that Sooke lived up to its status as a compassionate community by supporting our vulnerable population. Of course, closing the SEAPARC shelter will create challenges for those continuing to need support. The District will continue to work with service providers to find solutions.

The district reopened playgrounds at the beginning of this month. We know that active play is very important for children, so we decided to give families the freedom to visit playgrounds at their own discretion. As Dr. Bonnie Henry has reminded us so often, it’s vital to keep everyone healthy with repeat hand washing–a life skill that will serve all of us well over the rest of our lifetimes.

Canada Post last week delivered evidence to 6,682 Sooke property and business owners that one thing remains certain in this year of unexpected surprises: taxes. They’re the lifeblood – necessary evil, some might say – by which municipalities fund policing, emergency services, road networks, sewers, street lights, planning documents, parks, playgrounds, district salaries and much more.

RELATED: Sooke eyes more budget cuts due to COVID-19 pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, Sooke council quickly sought to provide what fiscal relief it could by rolling back a projected tax increase to zero per cent in 2020 (down from an approved 4.01 per cent).

The zero percent applies to residential properties whose B.C. Assessment value this year increased by the Sooke average of 3.4 per cent. If your property value jumped by more than that, you’ll see an increase in municipal taxes. If less, then they will decrease accordingly. Tax increases in Sooke have historically been framed using this median average, and this year is no different.

For those properties in the sewer service area, the parcel tax that funds the sewer had a scheduled increase for 2020. The sewer parcel tax expires in 2026 at which time the district will move to a full cost recovery model.

It’s important to remember that the district receives 51 per cent of the bottom line total on your tax statement. We also collect payments for other service providers – the Capital Regional District, Sooke School District, B.C. Transit, the Vancouver Island Regional Library, the Municipal Finance Authority and B.C. Assessment – and promptly redirect revenue to each in turn.

With Canada officially in a recession, local governments are naturally concerned about revenue flow this year. It was encouraging that more than 500 residents dropped by the Municipal Hall in the first week of its reopening to pay property taxes ahead of the July 2 deadline. The COVID-19 safety measures developed by our corporate services and human resource divisions worked effectively and proved why they’ve been adopted for use across the province by the B.C. Municipal Safety Association.

Closing with best wishes from all of us at the District of Sooke. Stay well and keep healthy, Sooke!


Maja Tait is the mayor of Sooke

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sooke council

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

Just Posted

Metchosin to test tsunami notification on Thursday evening

Approximately 80 to 100 residents in tsunami-zone

Public tips lead to arrest in alleged random assault on Victoria bus

June 19 incident was recorded by onboard camera

Sooke Crisis Centre closes doors

Services previously offered to be dispersed throughout community support groups

New affordable homes on the way in Sooke

Eight new affordable rental homes to be built at Hope Centre

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

VIDEO: Victoria’s Raging Grannies call for end to public funding of for-profit senior homes

Organizer says COVID-19 has made senior home issues more apparent

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Most Read