Prior to the 2014 election, I was led to believe that as many as 4,000 "doors" had been pre-approved for construction. I was curious to know how far that total has shrunk during the building boom of the last four years in tandem with how many new approvals had been added to the tally since then.
Candidates for municipal office can request information from the District during the campaign period. If available, it's shared with all candidates. (I asked for a meeting with Fire Chief Kenn Mount last month, and his notes from that hour-long chat were made available to us all; you'll find it along with my thoughts about our first-rate emergency response services on my Facebook page dated Oct. 3).
My latest request (for which I developed the summation of current activity below) was denied on the understandable grounds that i) it would burn up too much limited staff time; and ii) the numbers will be compiled for baseline use in the creation of next year's update of the Transportation Masterplan (recently awarded to the BC consulting firm Urban Systems along with affiliated work on our next Parks & Trails Masterplan.)
I asked because It strikes me that we need to be aware of how much potential growth is incoming (and where) before we can effectively consider further new development applications. Each "door" is liable to house one or two adults plus x number of children and an additional cohort of renters occupying any potential secondary suites. And each of these doors represents a likely minimum of one, or perhaps two or even three vehicles that will add volume to an already busy Hwy #14 and our secondary road network.
Good to know, however, that staff recognize that we already must factor in more than 2,500 more residents once these homes are built-out, taking our current 13,001 residents (2016 census; link to Sooke page) to a number approaching 15,600 and beyond as we reach official city status.
I trust our next council is equally aware of what's coming before it approves additional upzoning in response to development and market pressure while also honouring the spirit and letter of our Official Community Plan.
* 133 Aragon Properties homes and townhouses at the northwest corner of Wadams Way & Church
* 42 Knox Vision Society affordable rental units at southwest corner of Wadams Way & Church
* 31 apartment units at West Wind Harbour Cohousing on the waterfront west of Mariner’s Village
* 16 single-family lots 6829 Grant Road/Stone Hearth Lane (R3 zone)
* 34 units total of duplex, cluster dwellings or town homes at 6829 Grant Rd/Stone Hearth Lane (RM2 zone)
* 36 units/three stories stories of seniors’ cohousing rentals above the multi-use community centre on Lot A
* 10 townhouses on Ayre Road
Otter Point Rd. North
* 41 single-family homes in phase 1 of West Ridge Trails (Burr Road at eastern edge of Broom Hill)
* 72 single-family homes in phase 2 of West Ridge Trails
Sooke ~ East of Otter Point Rd.
* 22 townhouse units at Grasslands (2119 Charters Rd.)
* ? homes on bare land at northwest corner of Drennan/Sooke Rd.
* 60 more single-family homes to build-out at Woodlands Creek
* 50+ more “patio-style homes” to build-out at RiversEdge Village/Sunriver
* ? more single-family homes to build-out of Sunriver (its website references “a community of 715 homes”)
Sooke ~ West of Otter Point Rd.
* 24 (?) town homes between Brailsford and Melrick Place
* 137 single-family homes planned for the remaining phases of Viewpointe Estates
* 34 single-family homes in phase three of Stone Ridge Estates
* 22 single-family homes in phase four of Stone Ridge Estates
* 10 single-family homes in phase seven of Heron View
* 14-lot potential at 7057 West Coast Road
* ? single-family homes to build-out in future phases of Erinan Estates
* ? rezoning on southside of Grant Rd. west of Maple
* 6 single-family homes on southside of 6000-block West Coast Road,
across from Sooke Harbour Resort
* 127 building sites
PS It's also important to recognize what we've approved and where it might fit on BC Housing's continuum of housing types. Developers in Sooke have seemingly been focused on market demands for single family detached dwellings, of which there were 2,290 in the District according to the 2016 census. (FYI, we also have 350 units in five low-rise apartment buildings; 335 semi-detached homes; 245 row homes; 340 flats or apartments in duplexes; and 170 movable dwellings, i.e., mobile homes, houseboats, RVs.)
* As Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute pointed out in the Victoria Times Colonist this summer, there's a growing need for the "missing middle" in housing options for those who can't afford big ticket homes. Affordable, smaller-footprint homes and rentals are in demand.
* Sooke is home to a number of first-rate mobile-home parks, including Lannon Creek (Blythwood in Saseenos), Rustic Acres (off Grant and Henlyn Rds.) and Woodside Estates (adjacent to Woodside Farm on the West Coast Road). All provide affordable alternatives to traditional single-family homes in attractive settings. More please!
* Housing is dealt with in section 4.7 of the 2010 Official Community Plan (pp. 45-48). Its goals:
~ Provide a variety of housing options and densities for diverse populations;
~ Create a population that supports a range of businesses and cultural activities in the Town Centre;
~ Ensure residential development reflects the small-town character of Sooke;
~ Develop housing that has a minimal environmental footprint.
* Councillor Ebony Logins' Affordable Housing Committee is off to a strong start these last four months. District of Sooke staff produced a white paper for its first meeting in July. It included complete copies of the CRD Regional Housing Affordability Strategy (2018) and the District of Sooke Housing & Social Housing Policy (Policy #13.2, adopted Oct. 9, 2007, not available online). The latter, by the way, anticipated much slower population growth in Sooke than we're now experiencing. It projected a 2026 population of 14,730 (based on 11 percent growth between 2001 and 2006).
* Transition Sooke's Ecohome Tours have demonstrated the range of possibilities for alternative, natural (cob, straw bale, rammed earth) and micro housing. One tour highlight the last two years has been the Harmless Home, an East Sooke aerie built by local company Ridgeco Developments with revolutionary, lego-like blocks made of a durable, highly energy efficient (R-40) blend of hemp fibre and lime. Also involved with the project is Nanaimo's Jack Anderson, who is currently overseeing construction of an innovative "cluster home" development on the site of the former Quamichan Inn near Duncan that will use these same JustBiofibre blocks. Might this Calgary-based company be wooed to Sooke to start-up a Vancouver Island division? We'll need to develop light industrial land before we make the pitch, of course.
* Advocacy groups like the Tiny Home Alliance of Canada and the Tiny House Advocates of Vancouver Island are championing true alternatives for 21st-century micro lifestyles.
* Sooke PocketNews "Affordable Housing" archive
* Link to Canada's National Housing Strategy