Here are the SPN takeaways of tonight’s meeting, at which all six Councillors and Acting Mayor were in attendance. The media table was empty. The social media table, strangely, was non-existent.
Disclaimer: My notes are done to the best of my ability. Errors and omissions are entirely my fault. The final correct-and-accurate document will be the approved minutes from the District, and will contain the exact wording to any motions and revisions to motions made. Overall, this is how I experienced the evening.
Overall: The room was packed. I thought I missed something. I didn’t. I just didn’t pay full enough attention to the Agenda. It was all there.
There were at least 30 Sooke residence in attendance, several of which (just under 10) were children (all under 10). The parents and kids were there to support a Report about and by Christine McGuinness, of Steps to the Future Childcare Society. McGuinness was seeking support to establish her non-profit daycare at 6038 Sooke Road.
More about that later but for now, my full admiration goes to the parents who sat with their children during “adult time,” and I hold equal admiration to the children who sat quietly for well over an hour before McGuinness got to speak.
- Rates of criminal activity is on the increase.
- Most of the vehicles that were broken into were unlocked.
- Wednesday nights seemed to have the most activity.
- Sooke RCMP Cpl. Andrew Baylis received a promotion to Sargent and will be re-locating. [SPN Ed: Congratulations Cpl Baylis!]
- Sooke is on a priority staffing list, and the replacement for Baylis should be seamless
- An additional RCMP person will be hired in the fall.
- Councillor Pearson asked if the increase in Mental Health related issues could be attributed to provincial downloading.
- S/Srt McArthur noted that one Mental Health associated call can take up to eight hours, meaning that the increase in these calls puts a strain on staff.
- Acting Mayor Kasper noted that the District had a savings plan in the Financial Plan to support increased future policing costs.
- Bylaws No. 633 (Staff Report) and 637 (Staff Report) both dealt with zoning amendments for adjacent properties located at 7105 and 7109 Grant Rd respectively. Presentations were given by staff, and the first and second readings were passed. Public Hearings are to be scheduled.
- Bylaw No. 635 (Staff Report) deal with the sewer at those same properties on Grant Rd. The staff recommendation was passed, first, second and third readings.
All reports considered this evening received favourable consideration from Council
- Parkland Dedication Requirement for proposed subdivision on Helgesen Road. Council agreed to direct staff to consider a park dedication and cash-in-lieu for the remainder of the required 5% parkland dedication requirement. Read the full recommendation here.
- Covenant Amendment for ALR Buffer – 6978 West Coast Road, staff was directed to work with the landowners as per the recommendation. A public meeting will be required for this at some point. Read the full report here.
- Non-Farm Use in the Agricultural Land Reserve – 6038 Sooke Road. This was the item for which all the young children were in attendance, to lend their support for Steps to the Future Childcare Society in its quest to find its “forever home.” Council whole-heartedly agreed to forward this request to the Agricultural Land Committee. Read the full report here.
After this item, the room emptied out. About three members of the public (if I counted right) remained for the duration.
Recommendations from Climate Change Action Committee March 17, 2016 meeting: * Local Yard Waste Composting Facilities. This was presented by Councillor Logins. In its entirety, the recommendation reads: “That Council direct staff to investigate opportunities for local yard waste composting facilities and/or programs.” Check my spelling here. Passed.
Reports for Information
- RCMP (see top of article).
- Councillor Berger gave the dates of the SEAPARC information sessions. (SPN Ed: FYI, we have them here.)
- Acting Mayor Kasper noted that this year’s tax increase will be 0.85%
- CAO Sullivan noted that the lighting in the municipal’s parking lot was an issue and will be looked at.
- Council Reader File (SPN Ed: I have no idea what that is) – received.
- Correspondence dated March 18, 2016 from Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce RE: Chamber Supports SEAPARC Land Purchase – received.
Not renewing EPCOR Service Agreement
- Councillor Pearson excused himself from this portion of the meeting.
- The final outcome as directed by Council: Effective tonight (Mar 29), EPCOR would be given notice that their Service Agreement would not be continued this fall.
- This is not a reflection of the quality of their work, but rather a desire for savings by the District. From the Findings in the Supplementary Information: “The CAO and Director of Finance conducted a review and found the District of Sooke could save $225,000 per year by conducting the operations and maintenance aspects of of the wastewater treatment system itself.”
- Councillor Reay called attention to g) and i) from the Findings. Item g) spoke to the timeline, binding a decision to be made this evening in the case that council decided to not renew; item i) spoke to the requirement of voter approval (via referendum) in order to renew. This referendum would have cost around $30,000 and would have taken at least three months to complete.
- Councillor Reay thanked the CAO for her dedication to this report.
Adjourned shortly before a quarter to nine. Everyone ultimately and eventually left the building.