Sooke now has an extreme weather shelter, located at the Juan de Fuca CRD building at #3-7450 Butler Rd, in the JdF building off Otter Point Rd, six kilometers from Sooke’s town core. A total of 12 will be available, starting tonight. Transportation will be provided, from the Sooke Crisis Centre on Church Rd. The shelter, when activated, will be in operation from 7pm-7am.
Jen Wilde, the regional coordinator of the Greater Victoria Extreme Weather Response Program acknowledged the many players involved in this effort, including BC Housing, Our Place Society, District of Juan De Fuca and the CRD. Juan de Fuca Director, Mike Hicks, has high praise for the staff at the Otter Point location.
“In the event that we have an extreme weather alert for the Greater Victoria region, the JDF Emergency Shelter will be activated tier one of the Greater Victoria Extreme Weather Response Plan and in operation at #3-7450 Butler Rd,” said Wilde. “An activation alert email will be sent out to all participants and our website and social media will be updated daily. We are directing individuals in the area seeking shelter to the Sooke Crisis and Referral Centre for 7:00 pm as a muster point for transport up to the shelter.”
CRD Director Mike Hicks had high praise for the staff at the Juan de Fuca location.
“I was sitting back watching,” Hicks said, as the upcoming cold snap was becoming increasingly apparent over the past week, “and then it was time to do something.” He first consulted with the JdF staff at Otter Point, asking what they thought of the prospect of doubling their location as an extreme weather shelter location. Without any hesitation, they were all unanimously on board.
All necessary parties were consulted for approval, including the Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department. Inspections were completed. The facility has a generator in case of a power outage. They even have three dog crates for people needing shelter who travel with animals.
Those in the community of Sooke (and beyond) who are interested in supporting these efforts are invited to contribute.
“We will be asking for community support in the coming days to ensure we are able to meet the needs of the individuals seeking shelter during this extreme weather alert,” noted Wilde. “Please follow our social media to learn how you can help.” The resources are listed below.
“There were many hands that contributed to the success of this operation,” said Wilde, “and I would like to express my gratitude to everyone that contributed their time, energy and resources.”
The group, Sooke Shelter Society, as also been instrumental as an advocacy and fundraising group.