In July 2019 Sooke Council announced a “Climate Emergency”; yet, in the upcoming Official Community Plan (OCP) Council seems to have ignored their own words and have asked for an OCP of development over Climate.
The “urban containment” area in Sooke extends to all Sooke borders, meaning that developers can proceed with pulling down trees and building residential housing with little chance that Council will object. The current Council is saying that it is saddled with bad development approvals from the previous council and they are helpless to stop them.
But if the current Council wants to change course, why have they not put consideration of the Climate as their fundamental core principle for the future of Sooke?
Council can lead by speeding up their change to the BC step code, which sees Sooke set to make new buildings “solar panel ready” by 2029. If Council seeks to become “carbon neutral” in its own words by 2030, then surely we need to speed up the development of renewable energy in order to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
According to the CRD, Sooke will experience a 110% increase in population by 2038. If that means a 100% increase in the number of cars and pollution on our roads, then we need to do more than just “encourage” the use of Electric Vehicles.
Building codes controlled by Council could require that all new residential housing is required to have solar panels and EV chargers.
To deal with the vast amount of rainwater lost to the land, through development of housing tracts, the drying out of our aquifers and streams, and the increasing wildfire hazard it may lead to, Council can require that all new residential houses come with rainwater catchment sufficient to hold 3000 gallons of water. Water that can be released slowly throughout the summer, can reduce the amount of piped-in water we use and pay for, and can provide a resource for fire suppression.
Not moving forward with Climate as our first thought would be “reckless development” indeed.