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

Sooke RCMP are looking to add more members on their force, but they will have to seek approval from the District of Sooke before doing so. They say they need five additional members to accommodate 24-hour coverage of the region. (File - Black Press Media)
Sooke needs more officers to accommodate 24-hour coverage

District’s official community plan calls for 1 officer per 1,000 people

The Royal Canadian Legion kicked off its annual poppy drive in Sooke on Wednesday with the first poppies presented to Mayor Maja Tait and T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordie Planes. Legion representatives included legion president Richard Steele, second from left, and poppy fund chair Al Stuart, right. (Kevin Laird – Sooke News Mirror)
Mayor, T’Sou-ke Nation chief receive first poppies of 2020

Minimal Remembrance Day ceremony planned

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Witnesses report two-vehicle collision

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

Most Read