Alternative Energy Production
Peter Mouck presented on independent energy infrastructure upgrades, and was looking for a letter of support from the District. He provided Council with some copyright definitions, and gave some background on his energy proposal. He was invited to follow up with staff for possible further presentation to a formal Council meeting.
Drew Johnston presented on Telus murals.
Did you know the plain white building between CIBC and the Academy Dental building belongs to Telus? They are currently considering an up-to-three-wall mural (front/side/side), which can cost up to $10,000. The District’s only responsibility would be posting the competition for artists. More details to follow when more is known.
ALR lot at 6912 West Coast Road
Stephanie Davidson presented on behalf of a land owner of 6912 West Coast Road. She said she was seeking a letter of support from the District to move this land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve, noting that the land was low quality. Davidson said that the elevated development on Tominny had caused further erosion of their land.
Kasper responded vehemently that he philosophically does not support any exclusions. He never has for the past 35 years and he never will. He went on in this vein in some detail and for quite some time. Davidson attempted to interject. Voices raised. The mayor intervened. Davidson apologized. Kasper accepted. Then Kasper re-articulated his stance.
Pearson, on the other end of the spectrum, noted that pressure was on Sooke to develop. He noted that the Official Community Plan (OCP) needs to match this growth, and appeared to be open to the idea. Reay and Berger both asked for more information, saying that there is a process that needs to be followed. They also noted that with the OCP currently in review, a final decision on this matter may have to wait until the OCP is complete.
It was noted that application first has to go the ALR, to which Davidson responded that if she could get a letter of support, it would be a part of the initial application. Ellen Lewers noted that all farm land is marginal and has to be worked and maintained. Lewers also noted that there should be some onus on the Tominny developers for remediation. Lastly, Lewers noted that a feedlot would wreak havok on the land, nevermind what it would do to the animals. Gail Hall pointed out the Land Commission still has not approved the 2010 OCP.
Reminder issued to Council
Lastly (and most notably), Ken Ebbs-Canavan issued a reminder Council. He noted that Council should have an open mind to whatever issue anyone brings before them. Their job is to listen to the presentation, engage in discourse, and then make a decision. Presenting to Council can be nerve-wracking. While rules and procedures may be very familiar to the elected officials, they may not be known at all by the person presenting. Open ears and open minds should greet a presenter, not a pre-determined opinion.
Davidson was invited to present her findings to staff, with the recommendation that the issue be presented at a regular Council meeting for more formal consideration.
Official Community Plan
The work-in-progress of the current revisions to the Official Community Plan was presented to Council.
The OCP is supposed to be a road-map into the future (50 years from now) against which current policies, procedures, bylaws and other decision are made.
Collectively, the politicians at the table (all were there except Ebony Logins and Brenda Parkinson-medical) agreed that the 2010 OCP was contradictory and inconsistent. It is too long, and lacks clarity. There are over 900 goals and objectives in the 2010 document, making it too big in scope to have much meaning. The point of the OCP is to provide leadership and direction to both the current Council and future ones. Sooke is growing, and the 2010 OCP needs to be revamped.
A few members of the public presented, and spoke to the need for food security and community gardens, water and the development of consciousness in today’s youth, and the importance of clarity and access of procedures for developers.
The document as presented was received by Council.
The next step will be for the creation of a formal draft document, which will then go to Council for input and probably revisions. When the revisions are done and approved, the document will then be presented for Public Input at a town-hall type meeting, probably to be held at the Sooke Community Hall.