Sooke staff, council and consultants working hard to draft the official community plan. (File - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke staff, council and consultants working hard to draft the official community plan. (File - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke’s OCP highlights growth, affordability and climate action

Rough draft of the plan expected in June

Sooke’s new official community plan (OCP) is being compiled into a rough draft after almost a year’s worth of public input and consultation.

The top issues raised by Sooke residents include the rate of growth and development, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental targets, and regional transportation.

Coun. Al Beddows, council’s representative on the OCP committee, calls it the most important planning document Sooke will have for the next 10 years.

Creating land-use guidelines and policies that will guide the next decade is a big job, especially without a crystal ball, Beddows quipped. The project is already taking more work than allowed in the district’s budget, but he’s confident the district will complete it on time.

The climate action committee, chaired by Bernie Klassen with Coun. Jeff Bateman as council’s representative, has recommended a seven per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions every year to achieve a 50 per cent cut from 2018 levels by 2030. Council accepted that motion at its May 10 meeting.

READ MORE: MAYOR’S MESSAGE: Incredible community engagement guiding Sooke forward

The Capital Regional District calculates estimated greenhouse gas emissions for the region, and Bateman said Sooke fell short of its target to cut 33 per cent by last year.

Two impactful ways Sooke can reduce emissions are through home heating and shifting away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

The province’s Energy Step Code that council adopted for new buildings will incentivize builders to make more energy-efficient buildings – to reach net-zero energy codes by 2032, and they’re also advocating for PACE (property assessed clean energy) that would help homeowners retroactively upgrade energy systems by financing through property taxes.

Energy-efficient homes aren’t exactly more affordable, Beddows said. “It will make it more expensive for a house, God help us, but they’ll be efficient.”

Along with super-fast growth, land value and housing prices are rising in Sooke, making affordable housing a priority in the OCP. What kind of housing stock Sooke wants and where it will go are first answered by zoning and land-use plans.

READ MORE: Transition Sooke calls for slower growth rate

“If you don’t have housing stock here, it’s going to be a community of the very rich. We’re trying to have a community that’s open to everybody. We can’t just have the people who sold their million-dollar homes and moved here. We need young families. We need a viable community,” Beddows said.

The public will have another chance to review the plan this summer before it’s finalized. The OCP committee and city staff will get the rough draft in early June, and Beddows expects it will still need a lot of work to get it ready for council and the public. The new OCP is expected to be adopted in full by the end of the year.

Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

SookeWest Shore

Just Posted

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
8 old-growth logging protesters arrested in Fairy Creek watershed Friday

A total of 214 people have been arrested as of June 11

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read