Public Input started at 6pm. Mayor Maja Tait was there along with Councillors Kevin Pearson and Ebony Logins. Public is an opportunity for the public to have informal access to the mayor.
The mayor reminded those in the galley that the Public Input was established on a trial basis, and she is interested in hearing from the public about the value of these meetings.
- Asked about the Sooke River access path at Sunriver Way. Mayor Tait said that work was put on hold there as ancient human remains had been found, and that triggered a certain process. After that, weather has caused delays.
- Asked if the District had ever considered an annual free junk drive. Council said it would be something they could consider, though it was noted that statistically anyway, illegal dumping tends to continue.
- Asked who was responsible for community mail box placement in the community. It was up to Canada Post and the engineering division of the municipality.
- Asked about the Special Council Meeting that was held on April 29. She said that a reason must be given to host a special meeting, and that reason was missing. According to the minutes from that special meeting, the optics were such that they approved Regular Minutes as an excuse to do something, and then went into the in-camera section of the meeting. She also asked about notification, as she did not see printed notice on their board at. Staff responded that it was posted on their website.
- Asked about Public Consultation regarding the Financial Plan. Mrs. Hall noted that previous Public Consultations were held in less formal settings, where the public could walk about and ask questions directly to staff and elected officials. “The more you take away, the more you push us away,” she said, adding, “That’s why no one is here.”
- Presented on the importance of water, saying that everyone was currently drinking dead water. Water is the most important thing. He informed the mayor of an upcoming meeting he was having.
The next scheduled Public Input session will be in two staff meetings from now. If you wish to present an issue to the mayor, or to ask a question, this is the best place to do it. While it is a public meeting, the cameras are off and the meeting is not recorded.
Regular Council meeting: Bird’s eye view
The Regular Council meeting started at 7pm. Mayor Maja Tait was there along with Councillors Rick Kasper, Kevin Pearson, Kerrie Reay, and Ebony Logins. Absent were Bev Berger and Brenda Parkinson (medical).
Four Delegations were presented:
- Jeff Bray (Capital Public Affairs) from Freedom Mobile gave an update. They are moving from two towers to five in the Juan de Fuca / East Sooke / Sooke region, with one going on the roof of the Legion.
- Danny WIllis of JD’s Sunshine Jams and Such (Submitted Information) posed their dilemma to Sooke: They are growing and need a second kitchen, yet the bylaws are such that they must build an entire suit around this second kitchen. Staff was asked to look into options on zoning bylaw amendments and present a report at the next regular council meeting.
- Ellen Lewers of the Sooke Fall Fair – asked for Traffic Pattern Improvements (Submitted Information). She was requesting for access from Eustace through Gatewood to Grant. Staff will work with Mrs. Lewers to get a report together for Council consideration.
- John Saleski, the new property owner of 6717 & 6723 Ayre Road (Submitted Information) just purchased the lots a week ago, and then learned about the District’s remedial action. He said he has plans in place to clean up the lots and demolish the houses. A motion was made by Council to extend the remedial action period until May 31.
Public Question and Comment Period
- Terrance Martin spoke to the Sunriver Senior’s Village. The report has no rationale why the District is allowing a gated community to be built in Sooke. There’s nothing in the report that says it’s a gated community, but the gate is currently being installed. Provisions for sections 75 and 76 have not been addressed. He was concerned with public access to waterfront.
- Gail Hall spoke to the turf field project, nothing that the $400,000 funds that come from Sunriver are not designated for the Sooke Soccer fields. That money was specifically intended for Sunriver. That money cannot be used on the playing fields. The play fields have a 1981 restricted covenant making it unavailable to the public. Should we be putting public money into these parks if the lands are closed to the public. The staff report is a great report.
- Ellen Lewers asked about a Financial Plan open house that would be at the Rotary, as per an article in the print paper. She said that the two minutes allotted at the public portion of a meeting is insufficient for providing meaningful input on the Financial Plan.
Public Consultation relating to the Financial Plan
Before passing the Financial Plan, the public has an opportunity to present their concerns.
Ellen Lewers asked how was this “public input” section was communicated out to the public. She noted that Rotary would be a good place, and she said that the public consultation needs to be better advertised.
Staff noted that while Public Consultation is required, there is no prescribed form. The Public have been allowed to provide input during the Public Input sections at all meetings during the entire process. Also, there is no requirement to advertise this. It’s been on their website since March 31. Tait noted that unless you look at their website all the time, this information won’t get out.
Gail Hall spoke to five matters. She asked where the funds were for the required 5m buffer and fencing for the new development in Sunriver. She noted that $765,000 funds were taken from the Parks fund to purchase land that had not yet been designated a park. The Parks Fund can only be used to purchased Park lands. She wanted to know where credit card expenditures were accounted for in the budget. She was uncomfortable with a $150,000 contingency fund in the CAO’s office. And, regarding the soccer fields, she has an issue with District buying lands that the public are technically not allowed to access.
Mayor Tait noted that Contingency expenditures had to be approved by Council. She would request an update on the buffer and fencing from staff. Regarding the parks purchase, Pearson recalled a 2013 motion to move the land out of ALR; Council has to go through the motions of making it a park. Credit card expenditures are assigned to their particular line items in the budget.
No other comments from the public.
The Five Year Financial Plan carried.
All Contracts over $25,000 to be approved by Council
Following the approval of the Five Year Financial Plan, Pearson made a motion that staff bring all contracts of $25,000 or more to Council for review and approval. Staff noted that this would impact, among other things, the Purchasing Policy. Currently, the CAO is allowed to approve expenditures of $75,000 without bringing it to staff.
The motion (exact wording currently not available) carried.
- Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Legal Defence Fund Staff Report Carried.
- Turf Field Project Staff Report Motion moved, mic went off for the vote, so the results are unknown.
- Sunriver Seniors Village Staff Report Motion: THAT Council refer the matter regarding Sunriver Seniors Village subdivision, to the Approving Officer for response to Mr. Martin, in compliance with the public access as required by the legislation. Carried.
- Sooke Fall Fair Request Correspondence $125 and $40 requested donation Carried
- Woodwyn Farms – Request for Letter of Support Correspondence Carried
- Correspondence for Information Correspondence
- Capital Regional District Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw Dispute Resolution Process: RGS Dispute Resolution Process emails and CRD Board Report-RGS Dispute Resolution Process Sooke should have a seat at the non-binding dispute resolution process. Carried.
- Email from Louise Anderson will receive a response from the District directing her that it’s the province that deals with Highway 14.
Tait will continue to push for improved medical services
In her verbal report, Tait gave an update on her push for improved medical services in Sooke. Even Tofino has a hospital, as does Ladysmith and pretty well every other community on the Island. “We are under serviced,” she said, adding, “I cannot do nothing; I have to do something.”
“I thank the media for shining a light on this.” Media throughout the CRD has been buzzing about the mayor’s push for improved medical services in Sooke.
“I’m not giving up, as long as I’m sitting here,” she promised.