At the December 11 Regular Council Meeting, Sooke Council directed staff to issue letters of apology to all who had been sent earlier letters requesting continued donations for memorial dedications. The apology will come from the mayor and council. A separate letter will be issued inviting all who have memorial dedications to attend the first Committee of the Whole meeting in 2018, where Council will revisit the policy.
At the Public Input section of the meeting, six people came up and vehemently discussed their objections to regular installments for the dedications. The first to speak was former Mayor Wendal Milne, who was the mayor at the time that the 2014 policy was established.
“I think council screwed up when policy was passed,” Milne began, clarifying that he was the mayor on that fateful day of September 8, 2014, when the policy was passed. He noted that $2,000 to a Sooke family “that’s a lot of money.” He stated he was against renewal fees at that time, and he noted that renewal costs were not included in the original policy.
A donation is a donation, Milne said, and asking for more money becomes extortion. Unless there are repair costs, the District shouldn’t be asking for more money. He added that the donors purchased more than the plaques, they paid for the entire bench and its installation. The donated benches are a huge asset to the District.
“These donors have done their part,” Milne said. The renewal costs never came forth again.
Milne concluded with a final message: If staff aren’t clear, they need to go back to council for clarification. Those who received letters should receive apologies, immediately.
Councillor Berger had to remove herself from the conversation, as a family member had received a letter from the District. After she left, Mayor Tait began with a statement that acknowledged the angst that was created, adding that the angst was felt by all: the public, Council, and staff.
It was ultimately decided that staff would be issuing letters of apology as soon as possible (the CAO mentioned attention could be given to that as early as Tuesday, Dec 12), and the apology would come from Mayor and Council.
The policy would be re-addressed at the first Committee of the Whole meeting in 2018, which could happen in January or February. A separate letter would be issued, inviting all with existing memorial dedications to attend and provide their feedback to Council.
A memorial wall will be considered at that same COW meeting. Councillor Brenda Parkinson said she would provide a document from the former Arts and Beautification Committee, which looked at that matter at the time that the policy was passed.
The December 11 2017 meeting
- All elected officials were present: Mayor Maja Tait, Councillors Brenda Parkinson, Berger, Ebony Logins, Kerrie Reay (left early due to illness), Rick Kasper, Kevin Pearson
- December 11, 2017 Full Agenda
- Council to consider bylaw amendment in January, allowing mobile homes on residential lots
- Condos coming to Maple Avenue South
- Sewer continues to plague Sooke Council
- Public Hearing: Sooke narrowly approves another higher density rezoning application
- The notion of a perpetual business licence nixed for Sooke
- Want to do business with the District? Then a business licence from the District will be required
- Proposed Murray Rd staircase to Boardwalk replacement may cost taxpayers $75,000
- Sooke Council will issue apology letters, revisit Memorial Dedication policy early in 2018