Those hopes are fourfold as I think of them now ...
1. Updated, line-edited, creatively retweaked versions of the current plans that reflect the full range of needs, wants and bright ideas of citizens, council, District staff and our top-drawer consultants.
2. A set of practical short, medium and long-term action points, each costed out in 2019 dollars and ranked by priority so that we have consensus and direction to slide them into future five-year financial plans and tackle each in turn as dollars and opportunities arise.
3. Funding strategies and reality checks to manage expectations (the current PTMP does this nicely; the Transportation plan, on the other hand, had an overly ambitious timetable for what it predicated would be an extensive set of roundabouts, stop lights, crosswalks and one east-west connector in place by now. This said, it is a fine, substantial document with much to recommend it.)
4. Affirmation that the District has and continues to move forward strategically at a realistic, best-possible pace with its various parks, trails and transportation initiatives.
[Re: point #4 ... Our transportation priorities as outlined in the 2018 Five-Year Plan are the five-year secondary road improvement program; new sidewalks (Otter Point Road to the Hope Centre ... then the long-awaited West Coast Rd. stretch from Maple to Brooks Rd. on the north side as a solution to boat-trailer congestion across the street); a $700k makeover of Charters Road (currently budgeted for this year); a rainwater infrastructure program; and modest expenditures on streetlights and transit stop enhancements.
As for Parks, the team led by Laura Hooper and Jessica Boquist are focused on a number of fronts, including a wayfinding trail signage and trailhead program in collaboration with the JDF Community Trails Society. In the works this year, budget willing, are the creation of kayak access spots at Prospect Point and the end of Kaltasin Road; construction of a retaining wall at Ed Macgregor Park; and a replacement for the aging untreated-wood staircase in our (the Batemans) favourite, still surprisingly secret, local beauty spot -- the pocket park at the end of Austin's Place with its sweeping ocean views (proving the world is indeed round) just 10 minutes walk from where I sit here in Whiffin Spit.
On the order-and-install list is a vault toilet at the northwestern edge of John Phillips Memorial Park (near the Municipal Hall). The parks department has some equipment to purchase in keeping Sooke's green spaces trimmed, clipped and collected. Looking ahead, the 2020 Capital Plan pencils in money for a dog park/run and a replacement of the vault toilet at the end of the Spit. The big spend ($150k) currently planned for 2021 is a new splash park at the Broomhill playground. (All of the above is subject to change based on priorities in the new Parks Plan.)
Beyond these four points, I intend to enjoy creative, collaborative engagement with a hopefully sizeable number of informed locals as we dream large while also keeping feet, tires and wheels rooted in the realities of terra firma.
Is it time for a second Sooke River crossing? More parks or raw land acquisitions? Should we be making and doing more with what we've already got? Encouraging transportation mode shift? Improved street cycling infrastructure? Development of more beach combing, sea-level waterfront access? Wayfinding signage and maps for residents and a new wave of tourists who visit, stay and play here in town? Whatever the case, may it all resonate with the established principles of #SookeSmartGrowth.
It's been fun already tinkering with the consultant's survey apps for each plan ~ you'll find them here (Parks) and here (Transportation). Feel free to submit a second survey if you get fresh brainstorms about items or locations you overlooked at the first attempt. I've particularly enjoyed the Map It! app, which allows one to zoom in on a particular Sooke street or neighbourhood to indicate exactly where you'd like to see a trail, green space, playground, crosswalk, through road, sidewalk or amenity.
I didn't save my input for the transportation survey, but for whatever it's worth, at the end of this page you'll find the unedited stream of views and opinions that I pumped into the parks survey last night. Much is based on what I've read over the years in the current plan but it also reflects the grounded, far-seeing perspectives I absorbed on a recent daytrip in the SEAPARC bus visiting Sooke's natural assets with (speaking of which) our hosts, the estimable Ms. Hooper and Ms. Boquist along with their department colleagues and our afternoon driver, SEAPARC's Steve Knocke.
District of Sooke pages
~ Parks & Trails Masterplan
~ Parks & Trails
~ Parks & Greenspaces
~ Dogs in Parks
~ Urban Forest
~ Parks & Trails Advisory Committee (RIP for now)
* Map My Ride ~ local cycling routes
* Galloping Goose/Sooke River Road connector (2015)
* Harbourview mountain biking trail network
* Walks In the Juan de Fuca & Sooke Area (compiled by Rosemary Jorna for The Rural Observer)
* Map My Walk guide to Sooke walking routes
* Hiking Trails ~ Sooke Region Tourism Association
* JDF Park Watch
~ Galloping Goose Trail
~ Sooke Potholes Regional Park (CRD) + BC Parks guide + Victoria Trails guide
~ Ayum Creek Reserve + Land Conservancy page
~ Millennium Park
~ Viewpointe Estates
~ William Simmons Park Otter Point
~ Seagirt Ponds Community Park East Sooke
~ Devonian Park
~ Matheson Lake
~ Roche Cove
~ East Sooke Regional Park
~ Priest Cabin Community Park French Beach
~ Sandcut/Jordan River
~ Whiffin Spit to East Sooke Park
~ Dog Park Public Hearing, Feb. 2015 submissions
~ Off-leash on the Goose? (Times Colonist article, fall 2018)
~ Citizen Canine's guide to off-leash in Greater Victoria
~ "Off-leash dog options are shrinking" ~ PocketNews, July 2018
~ City of Victoria's "Paws In Park" page
~ Guide to dog parks in BC
~ CRD "Poop and Scoop" enforcement