The first Committee of the Whole (September 5, 2017) was attended by Mayor Tait, and Councillors Brenda Parkinson, Ebony Logins, Kerrie Reay, Rick Kasper and Kevin Pearson. Bev Berger was not there. The riveting nature of the single agenda item (a review of council motions to set staff priorities for the next year) was reflected by the packed house. Two members of the public attended, along with one media rep, and one youth.
Ultimately, Council reviewed and received the Council Resolutions Update 2015 – 2017 report. This report excluded items that were operational in nature. It didn’t include motions that were operational in nature. Through the review of this report, staff was seeking direction for the next year. This report essentially sets the map, with extra input required from Council on a few matter, which were discussed at the Tuesday Night Committee of the Whole meeting.
In presenting the report, staff drew Council’s attention to two big items that needed attention this fall: Sooke sewers are nearing capacity, and the conditions of Sooke roads.
- While not on the agenda, it was mentioned that the Official Community Plan (OCP), which was started well over a year ago, has recently put on hold due to resources.
- A communication strategy, which has also been in the works for well over a year, will be completed by October or (at the latest) November of this year.
Notable outstanding items, from the Report
- The Gateway to Sooke project has been put on hold.
- The bylaw on firearms was considered by Council but never passed. Staff is at a crossroads, having put a few iterations in front of Council but have not gotten agreement. Council noted that the bylaw that was presented was very complex and they had asked for it to be streamlined. When it comes back to Council, and will either pass or fail.
- The Climate Change Action Committee recommendations were identified as a lower priority. No action is required by staff at this time.
- Council will wait to hear from Rotary regarding the Community Sign Project.
- Alternate Housing Forum was viewed as a high priority item, and this needs to be linked in with the Official Community Plan (OCP).
- Language support a heritage bylaw proposed by the SCAC should also go into the OCP.
- Ebony Logins gave one her more strongest presentations in discussing the the Community Hall. She noted that the Community Hall currently does not meet all of the Community’s needs. Logins said they had three options: Do nothing, build, or to support community initiatives. With the community growing, that gap as a vital community resource also grows bigger every day. Both Councillor Logins and Mayor Tait both viewed this as the most important item on the list.
- There’s an RFQ going out shortly to conduct a feasibility study for a pedestrian bridge crossing from Sunriver’s Demaniel Creek Trail to the School District land or to the newly acquired SEAPARC land next to Journey Middle School.
- Kasper is looking to release historic in-camera (behind closed doors) documentation after 10 years. Kasper would like to see more information out to the public. CAO: Said staff is more than happy to provide historical information to the public. Reay had a different opinion, saying it’s onerous on staff. It’s fine to do when there’s time and resources, and currently that’s not the case.
- The Community Development Committee never formed. The issues that were to go to them should now go to Council.
- Dog Park: Still under discussion.
Sixty-six per cent of the members in the public galley shared their views. Indeed, both Ellen Lewers and Rob Pearce shared what was on their minds. The youth in attendance had nothing to add. At this time.
- Mrs. Lewers strongly supports committees. She asked to have them brought back. That’s how you find out what the community wants, she said to Council.
- Alternative Housing Forum is a great idea. People are not just looking for tiny homes, they are looking for land.
- Climate Action Change: the OCP language should allow for individuals to do this.
- Firearms bylaw was ridiculous. We have federal and provincial regulation already. Farmers should be a part of the discussion regarding crossbows and bow hunting.
- Lastly, Mrs. Lewers added that the OCP review should be done now. That is not something the District should put off, as this is a core document for planning and bylaws and all-things-Sooke.
Rob Pearce asked the simple question, Why are we making more rules when we don’t even look after the rules that we have? He was referencing the necessity of having to kill six bears who were attracted into human habitat because of careless human garbage management.
Requst that Sooke prohibit water-based salmon fishing
Councillor Pearson made the motion for Council to consider at the next regular Council meeting, that Sooke to prohibit water-based salmon farming.
Committee of the Whole meetings are less formal than regular Council Meetings. Resolutions are not passed at COW meetings, but recommendations can be made to forward items of discussion (for possible resolution) at regular Council Meetings.