Official Community Plan Feedback
Jeff Bateman, District of Sooke Councillor
7083 Briarwood Place, Sooke, BC V9Z 0T2
I appreciate this opportunity to submit feedback on the draft Official Community Plan. I've also contributed my thoughts via collective, multiple-author submissions from the Sooke Age-Friendly Committee and the Climate Action Committee. Here I will reiterate some of my contributions to those documents along with additional thoughts.
First, sincere respect and thanks to all involved -- DIALOG consultants, DOS planners, the OCP Advisory Committee and everyone in the community who contributed such meaningful input. An OCP is no small feat, and this one is, by and large, excellent according to my understanding of the requirements and intent of such plans. I'm sure it will effectively guide staff, the community, developers, and this and future councils in realistically, patiently and strategically building a smart-growth, climate-smart complete community as dictated by the CRD Regional Growth Strategy.
There are many reasons to applaud this OCP, and i'll cite some at the outset:
- The flow of content in understandable and logical -- eventually, with patience and repeat reads, it's true, but that's the nature of beasts this size. (This said, I agree with the OCP-AC that the document requires a "rosetta stone" infographic as a navigational tool more effective than that on pg. 33.)
- The vision, scope, incisiveness and inclusiveness of the 15 Goals for Sooke as distilled from a wealth of public engagement. Needed: Compelling, well-written, inspirational, visually oriented supplementary content to elaborate on the goals while also conjuring optimism, hope and enthusiasm for our shared future.
- Respectful recognition of government-to-government relations with the T'Sou-ke and a commitment to UNDRIP implementation through the Sooke/T'Sou-ke MOU working group.
- The dedication to developing an equitable community and ensuring all voices are heard at various levels of District engagement -- including applying a "justice, equity, diversity and inclusion" lens whenever possible and explicitly seeking participation on District committees from youth, elders, renters, BIPOC, low income, and unhoused individuals (in addition to current committee TOR requests for representatives from the T'Sou-ke and, first and foremost of course, specific fields of expertise).
- Adherence to the public's preferred (largely) Scenario B growth model in reaffirming the prime directive of earlier OCPs and the RGS -- i.e., density for our aspirational "complete community" is centred in the town centre with minimal slippage and sprawl outside of it apart from a potential Kaltasin/Billings Spit Neighbourhood Area Plan predicated on sewer expansion east across the river.
- New land-use categories that distinguish between Town Centre north, waterfront and transitional areas. The concomitant intention to update the Town Centre Plan (2010) as a short-term action is welcome.
- The contemporary best-practice Development Permit Area requirements combined with the detailed general and specific land-use summaries (pg. 42-57) are precise, minimal and effective (at least to my untrained eye). They are the crystal-clear foundation for collaboration between staff and the development community, and the development of a new Zoning Bylaw.
- The new designation of "employment lands" in Sooke's relatively minimal commercial and industrial zones. This paired with action item #1: "Initiate a Neighbourhood Area Plan process for the Billings/Kaltasin area in partnership with the T'Sou-ke First Nation." In addition to ensuring environmental health of the harbour and basin as well as somewhat stemming the tide of commuters through local job creation, this transitional area between Sooke/T'Sou-ke would allow us to deeply explore our aspiration to be a "model reconciliation community" in close consultation with all area residents, SD #62, industrial/commercial/ALR landowners and the community at large.
- Generally speaking, a suite of policies and actions that address Sooke's top challenges through the lens of other updated District plans: affordable/attainable new and infill housing (owner and rental); community economic development (social, environmental, economic); climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies led by 7% Solution building energy reductions (i.e, an accelerated Step Code timetable) and improved transit service and facilities; plans to address town-centre and residential parking; best-practice tree and urban forest management; signage and wayfinding (physical and electronic); waste management(including compost and yard-waste facilities); and advocacy for partnership with and funding from other orders of government.
Much else besides, but I'll bring this opening section to a close for now so as to turn to the rest of this appreciative critique:
1. OCP Objectives Analyzed
2. Miscellaneous Comments
3. Line item suggestions
OCP Objectives Analyzed
There is a danger (and I know this from personal experience) to expect an OCP to be a big, beautiful summation of our community's hopes and dreams. It can be that to a degree, but as I've learned it is properly viewed as a functional planning and land use guide. In that light, I'll look at the draft OCP via the seven objectives stated in the Request for Proposals that secured the services of DIALOG. (see pg. 10 of the April 7, 2020 RFP).
1. "Develop an OCP with high degree of community input and that will be endorsed by the community"
- CHECK in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic; all credit to the OCP team, staff and the District's Communications Coordinator in soliciting public input, which has been greater (considerably so, I understand) on a per capita basis than other BC communities undertaking their own OCP reviews these last 18 months. The current final stage of OCP development is critical in ensuring endorsement by as large a sector of the community as possible.
2. "Develop an OCP that provides clear and consistent guidance and direction for Council, staff and the development community"
- CHECK in terms of clarity and direction in the policies, the Implementation Plan's 109 actions and the Development Permit guidelines. I recommend that the Implementation Plan's 47 short-term actions be prioritized in recommended order of action. One action logically follows the next in a cascading pattern of impacts. (This is also the issue with short-term actions in the Transportation and Parks & Trails Master Plans; while it's up to staff at council's strategic direction to execute masterplan recommendations, it would be helpful for decision-makers to know what our consultants and their DOS staff partners believe is the most practical, effective sequence in so doing.)
3. "Establish a user-friendly OCP that is easily understood by the public, decision makers and staff"
- CHECK to a considerable degree for decision-makers (recommended priority sequencing aside) and staff, but the plan could be better framed for general public consumption.
- An Executive Summary, as recommended by the OCP-AC, is essential.
- In an era of short-attention spans and visual learning, graphic support is needed. A glaring omission is an at-a-glance infographic that captures The Goals of Sooke (pg. 32), which are at this point presented as text only. The visual summary with "3 Big Goals" and "12 Key Directions" produced by District planning staff during the initial round of OCP public engagement in 2015/16 is a beautiful example.
- As I recommended at the Aug. 30 special council meeting, additional explanatory content based on Jennifer Fix's presentation that night should be added as sub-text for the 15 Goals for Sooke. This will better clarify how each goal is addressed in the OCP. (The introductory goals/objectives text for each of the policy areas is excellent; can it be distilled into content for this section as well?)
- To repeat, more graphic interest and content generally required in Part 2 - The Vision for Sooke. One reason I voted in favour of DIALOG for this contract was its work on the award-winning Abbotsford OCP (aka "Abbotsforward"). That plan's short Vision section includes an extra few pages of a kind that could be used in our OCP, i.e. the sub-heads, graphics and short paragraphs in the section titled "the following aspirations paint a more detailed picture of our vision."
- The Age-Friendly Committee has recommended the addition of terms that will allow sectors of Sooke residents to identify themselves in the OCP, i.e. "people of different abilities," "young families," "isolated seniors," "marginalized youth," and "expectant parents." This will further demonstrate that Sooke is indeed "a small town with a big heart." The fact that in 2019 Sooke became the 103rd community world-wide to be recognized as a "Compassionate City" by Charter for Compassion International could be mentioned.
- On pg. 25 under "Shared Community Vision" there is a reference to the Picture Sooke microsite, which I assume will continue in perpetuity and feature the public engagement reports, the Background Research Report and related materials. Inclusion of thumbnail images of these documents with links would be useful for OCP depth-divers. Here would also be the place to state that the electronic version of the OCP will include direct links to all the District plans and reports cited in the new plan.
4. "Achieve an OCP that defines and enhances the unique character of Sooke"
- UNCHECKED. The Mayor's letter and a recommended Executive Summary will ideally address this missing link, but apart from the photos there is something rather chilly and generic about the draft OCP. While effective as an elevator pitch, the 28-word vision statement needs to be unpacked. As the OCP-AC recommends, representative comments from the public feedback process could be included (in the Community Context section, not cherry-picked and scattered to multiple pages as is now the case).
Storytelling and narrative are increasingly recognized as powerful tools for municipal planners, and our OCP currently lacks this element beyond the vision statement. Both the 2001 and 2010 OCPs have more substantial, multi-paragraph text re: Sooke's aspirational character, and I would like to know in some detail about what this community might be like in 2030, 2050, or even four generations from now at the dawn of the next century. Have we been absorbed into a westshore megalopolis? Or have we found ways to build a complete Sooke Smart Growth community while retaining our Wild By Nature character? Imagine it, and we might act accordingly to get there.
5. "Improve development guidelines to achieve desirable form and character of future development"
- STRONG CHECK. This is the practical, working heart of the OCP. Five stars.
6. "Provide a professional, aesthetically pleasing and legislatively correct OCP"
- CHECK in terms of "professional" and "legislatively correct." As stated earlier, I'm not so sure about the draft's aesthetic pleasures. No question the layout and text is clean, direct and on point.
7. "Build organizational and community capacity to continuously improve and implement OCP goals."
- UNCHECKED. The 2010 OCP "suggested" (rather than recommended) an OCP Implementation and Monitoring Committee that "may involve interested, dedicated citizens in local government decision-making." While it is the job of staff at the direction of this and future councils to implement the OCP, oversight from an Implementation and Monitoring Committee might have ensured that more than 18 of the 2010's many action points were enacted over the current plan's lifespan. It would be logical to include representation from one or more current OCP-AC members on this committee.
Timing of OCP Release
As the OCP Advisory Committee noted in its feedback, the new OCP "needs newer numbers." Population and dwelling count results from the July 17, 2020 census will be released on February 9, 2022. As I'm sure is already the plan, I suggest that these numbers be incorporated into the final OCP. (Release dates for further census information here.)
Context with previous Sooke OCPs, CRD Area Plans and current plans/reports
This OCP is the latest in a line of planning documents. The DOS has previously adopted OCPs on Aug. 12, 2001 (Bylaw #86) and May 17, 2010 (Bylaw #400). Both should be mentioned along with reference to earlier CRD plans of our area (five of these Village Area and Settlement plans starting with the CRD's 1976 Sooke Area Settlement Plan are listed on pg. 7 of the 2001 OCP). This context could be added under 1.1 Purpose of the Plan.
A visual display of some of these plans could be presented along with several paragraphs of text explaining how the new OCP echoes their main themes -- namely environmental protection, prevention of urban sprawl through focused density in the village core, waterfront public access, and a dedication to preserving rural areas within and outside the urban growth area (as it was known in the 2001 OCP).
Primarily, the reader needs reassurance that Sooke's previous OCPs, created at considerable expense and with broad-based public input, have been closely consulted, referenced and respected in the creation of our new plan.
I also suggest that a page be created to list the District plans and reports that align with this OCP. Short descriptions of each would be helpful.
Population Growth through 2050
Like others, I am concerned that the OPC does not establish guardrails for community growth over time apart from decade-by-decade estimated housing starts. I value the smart-growth vision of town centre density, but how do projections match up against the very real limits to Sooke's continued, effectively unchecked, growth?
Wrote the consultants in their Aug. 12 report to the OCP-AC: "The OCP is agnostic to whether population growth should be seen as positive, negative or neutral; it neither creates population growth targets nor creates policies to explicitly encourage or prevent the population from expanding."
I recognize that official Regional Growth Strategy projections (as approved every five years by CRD municipalities) must be used as the foundation for OCP planning. This said, I would like the OCP to also explicitly state that the District of Sooke and its elected councils have the ability to challenge, reject and re-envision these numbers.
The CRD's Emily Sinclair and Kevin Lorette state the following in their "CRD Fact Check on RGS Population Projections" (June 18, 2021): "Projections provide planners with a possible scenario of the future size and demographic cohorts of the population. The scenario is based on factors including future migration levels, births and deaths to be considered against government policy, economic development, land use and zoning."
Calculating (as it logically must) using CRD and Colliers projections, the OCP pinpoints (pg. 20) the need for 1813 new residential units by 2030 if we're to accommodate this so-far unchallenged anticipated growth (this includes the minimum 1200+ approved units that are legally approved for development in the District.).
A further 1,567 units are anticipated during the 2030s and another 1,658 in the decade of the 2040s. That's 5,038 additional units in total over the next 30 years, double our current inventory.
The CRD's 2019-2038 Population, Dwelling Units and Employment Projection Report (April 2019) anticipates a ratio of 2.3 people per Sooke dwelling unit in 2038 (compared with 2.41 today). On that basis, an additional 11,587 individuals will be added to Sooke's population roll by 2050. (i.e., 1,500 or so more than the OCP currently predicts for that year.)
The critical question for future community discussion is whether Sooke can accommodate this level of growth given the challenges we currently face. To repeat: The District is not beholden to CRD projections and this license to determine our own future should be noted in our OCP.
Seemingly the most significant challenge we face, as the OCP-AC noted in its submission, is vehicular congestion, the #1 concern in public engagement. It will only become worse with the projected population growth. A nightmare scenario is routine rush-hour near-gridlock driving on #14 -- at best case free-flowing bumper-to-bumper traffic; and, at worst, a Sooke crawl or full stop whenever there are minor hold-ups and extended stoppages on accident days.
Personal evidence tells us how weekend traffic in both directions has also grown exponentially in recent years. Build-out of the TMP's connector road bypass will help in time, however additional stoplights on the Sooke Road at Charters and perhaps also Idlemore will create further Sooke Rd. congestion.
As much as the OCP is admirably dedicated to transportation mode shift and smart-growth planning to encourage 10-minute walk/roll-ability in the town centre, we can nonetheless anticipate a growing tide of vehicles based on the OCP's projections (over 9,000 more cars by 2050 based on current vehicle ownership levels in Sooke; there were approx. 1.9 cars per local household according to the latest 2017 data from the CRD.) (Edit add: The 7% Solution, BC Transit's Sooke Area Transit Plan implementation and local job creation will take cars off the road, but we are likely to remain a Motor City given the convenience & personal freedoms cars provide paired with their need in our penturban setting .)
The lack of reference to Highway #14 in the draft OCP is somewhat understandable given that it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. However, the fact that #14 is already at or near capacity (even with the addition of the four-lane stretch) must surely be mentioned in the OCP as the prime consideration for District staff and councils in growth planning.
Neither is there a mention of the need (likely as a mid-to-long-term action) for a second bridge crossing of the Sooke River nor the importance of continuing to explore alternate routes out of Sooke in the event of emergency.
Highway 14 is referenced substantially from what I can see in just a single two-paragraph section on pg. 44 of the Transportation Master Plan. It concludes by noting the "importance of collaboration between the two organizations (DOS and MOTI) in addressing local transportation challenges." Continuing advocacy and consultation with MOTI needs to be added as an ongoing action in the Transportation section. (Alongside actions #4 and #5 focused on BC Transit.)
Bigger Picture Framework
There are a number of holistic frameworks that guide community ambitions in BC and elsewhere. Two such approaches now adopted by the District are those of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network and the ACT Team at Simon Fraser University (Low Carbon Resilience co-benefits).
It was a missed opportunity, I believe, that our own OCP is not rooted in, nor makes reference to, any of the other available options. To do so may have arguably been an example of scope creep, but perhaps a short list of these celebrated frameworks could be cited in the OCP so as to inspire their use in future community planning.
- DIALOG's "Community Wellbeing Framework" - described as "an evidenced-based methodology to design for community wellbeing." (This is another reason I was excited about the prospect of DIALOG as our OCP consultant, and I'm surprised there is no reference to it in the draft.)
- The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (as utilized in the Victoria Foundation's annual Vital Signs report)
- Kate Raworth's Donought Economics (as adopted by the City of Nanaimo)
GHG Reduction Target
At the Aug. 30 presentation of the draft, council reiterated that it wanted to see a 50% reduction target by 2030 as it endorsed earlier on April 26, 2021 (excerpt from minutes.) This aspirational target is consistent with numerous other timetables -- the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the BC Municipal Climate Leadership Council included.
APRIL 26, 2021
2021-158 MOVED by Councillor Tony St-Pierre, seconded by Councillor Jeff Bateman: THAT Council receive the following recommendation:
• THAT the Committee of the Whole recommend to Council that Sooke’s emissions reduction target be set as follows: a 50% cut from 2018 GHG emission levels, by 2030 or 7% per year. This target should be in effect until supplanted by an equivalent or stronger target in the OCP.
CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY In Favour: Mayor Maja Tait, Councillor Jeff Bateman, Councillor Al Beddows, Councillor Dana Lajeunesse, Councillor Ebony Logins, Councillor Megan McMath, and Councillor Tony St-Pierre
"Tertiary Employment Market"
Given the "employment lands strategy" and the possible future sewer servicing of industrial & commercial land east of the Sooke River, I'm surprised to see the statement (pg. 19) that "Sooke is expected to continue being a tertiary employment market consisting primarily of locally serving industries." "Secondary" (i.e., light manufacturing) and even "primary" (value-added raw materials) businesses could be established in a serviced Sooke business park and other appropriately zoned areas in the District. Citing the cooperative model as a desired outcome for some businesses might help inspire new Sooke-owned start-ups while also aligning with Community Economic Development and Low Carbon Resilience co-benefit aspirations.
New Development in the Town Centre
The pace of town centre development is accelerating. I'm delighted to see Action #64 (188.8.131.52) calling for coordinated High Street urban design. In the critical case of Brownsey Blvd., to cite the first of what will be other examples, developers on both sides of the road must be encouraged to collaborate with District planners in creating a streetscape that is synergistic, complimentary, functional and appealing on multiple levels for residents, businesses and the general public.
There are just four long-term (10-year plus) items among the Implementation Plan's 109 actions. Considering the brevity of the vision statement, the OCP is left without a sense of what we might reasonably expect for Sooke in the decades ahead. Mention of more distant actions identified in the TMP, PTMP and other plans would help us all picture Sooke as it might one day become. One potential action for inclusion: A long-term (not OCP-length) community planning exercise in collaboration with the T'Sou-ke.
Line Item Details
(some substantial, but primarily copy editing nit-picking)
- Pg. 12: Thank you for informing readers about the Te'mexw Treaty lands of intent. I'm sure the e-version of the OCP will have a link to the Te'mexw website. I found the map somewhat confusing, however, and perhaps it could be swapped with this one from the BC Treaty Commission or this one from Te'mexw.
- Pg. 13: Out of respect, and in service to promoting greater understanding of our neighbouring local government, I suggest that reference be made, with permission, to the T'Sou-ke's own Comprehensive Community Plan (2015) and its vision statement presented in that document in the shape of a tree: "Our vision is for a safe and healthy community. We see ourselves as self-governing, accountable stewards of our lands developing a sustainable and resilient community with economic development generating a respect and understanding for our people's culture and heritage. United ... Educated ... In sobriety ... to provide opportunities for all generations to come."
- Pg. 16: The use of "Time Immemorial" is respectful and right. It is cited for a first time on pg. 13 and twice more on pg. 16 (including the pull quote) and several more times as the OCP unfolds. For the sake of some potential variety, however, please note that the provincial government's Welcome BC website states that First Nations have inhabited the west coast for "more than 10,000 years." The oldest archeological evidence of first peoples (on Calvert Island 100km north of Port Hardy) dates back 14,000 years.
- Pg. 17: According to my written notes from the T'Sou-ke presentation at the National Energy Board Kinder Morgan pipeline hearings in Victoria in late 2015, Chief Planes stated that T'Sou-ke fish traps in the Sooke Harbour were first taken down and replaced by settler traps circa 1850. (The current text notes the formal federal ban in 1902). He also said that the T'Sou-ke inhabited 10 traditional village sites in the area circa 1850. I have been unable to find an NEB transcript to verify my notes.
- Pg. 18: Population and Demographics: i) the 2016 census set Sooke's population at 13,001 (not 13,060 as has been cited consistently in OCP preliminary documents to date.) The District's website home page has the correct number. ii) In the second paragraph, the use of "substantial" is unnecessarily vague -- the OCP Background report (pg. 24) projects that the over-65 demo will represent 34% of Sooke by 2050 (compared to 17% today.) Yes, that is "substantial" but precision matters.
- Pg. 19: Given the town centre's rapid (still potential pending issuance of DPs) growth, I wonder if the 80 new jobs per year prediction is low.
- Pg. 20: What is the source of the Sooke Housing Demand Projections? (Likely Colliers, but please say so.) Additionally, a source for "Future Residential Demand" is required. (PS In answer to my question at the Oct. 13 council meeting, the Urban Systems rep presenting the Development Cost Charge revision said that his population growth projections to 2040 were "a conservative estimate" -- i.e., 1,173 new residential units by 2030, and a 20-year total of 2,345 by 2040. That is a difference of 1,035 units between his calculations and the 3,380 units projected in the OCP.)
- Pg. 21: i) As per the OCP-AC recommendation, the Climate Change and "Journey to Net Zero" (no hyphen) pages need to be rewritten to better reflect Sooke's declaration of a climate emergency and the promise to meet climate change boldly and "head-on." ii) The stated 1.55C median increase in temperature differs from the "average annual warming of about 3C in our region by the 2050s" as stated on pg. 2 of the CRD's Climate Projections for the Capital Region (2017). I'd rather we used official local statistics in this critical matter. iii) Perhaps it's just me, but i have trouble interpreting the chart from the Climate Atlas of Canada.
- Pg. 22: i) In the third paragraph, it should be noted that GPC Basic + accounting focuses primarily on transportation and building heating/cooling. It does not capture emissions from other sources that are not yet formally tabulated by the province (food, travel and tourism, embodied carbon, etc.)
- Pg. 23: Revise the targets for a 50% reduction by 2030. Opportunity here to explain and list the specific "policies, actions and guidelines required to achieve these targets (that) are integrated throughout this OCP."
- Pg. 25: Mention where the Picture Sooke engagements took place -- i.e., John Muir Elementary School, local coffeshops, Whiffin Spit, etc. (identifying local places will give the OCP more Sooke personality)
- Pg. 26: Nearly exact replication of text from pg. 14. Instead, you could expand here on the CRD's Regional Growth Strategy(which logically should be the title of this page) and list some of the taxpayer-supported services the CRD supplies to Sooke (i.e., SEAPARC, Animal Care Services, Sooke Region Museum, Stormwater Quality Management, Regional Parks, Parks Land Acquisition, Traffic Safety Commission, Fire Dispatch, etc.)
- Pg. 30: "Hundreds of residents" is understating the volume of input. "More than a thousand" is more accurate, I understand.
- Pg. 31: "Eclectic" remains in the vision statement re: arts & culture scene. I believe this was challenged by the Sooke SPA committee. I see that "dynamic arts & culture scene" is used in the goal statements.
- Pg. 36: The 2010 OCP cited "Sooke Smart Growth." Why not use this locally meaningful term here and elsewhere?
- Pg. 37: "Future Neighbourhood Planning" -- add at end of sentence "in association with the T'Sou-ke First Nation, Sooke School District #62, residents, landowners and the community."
- Pg. 61: Revise GHG target. Mention of 7% Solution's mode-shift ambitions?
- Pg. 68: i) Action 184.108.40.206. Consider adding "Saseenos" (longer-term) to the CRD planning guide's list of recommended EV charger locations in the DOS. The guide also generally notes that municipalities can determine their own "opportunity sites," which are defined as "locations that are typically under municipal control including public parks, libraries, recreation centres, parkades, park and rides, on- street (i.e., curbside locations), etc." (pg. 27). (This year's Dunsky EV Infrastructure Roadmap prepared for the CRD states (pg. 7) of Sooke: " The 2020 Transportation Master Plan indicates that the District has pending plans for 6 additional Level 2 charging stations, but there is no installation timeline. The Plan also suggests EV-Ready requirements for new residential and commercial buildings."
ii) Action 220.127.116.11. Remove "the" from fourth line, i.e. "what risks and mitigation exist" + program is formally known as "Active Transportation Pilot Projects."
- Pg. 73: Second paragraph, second line. Suggested add: "Local governments term this work Natural Asset Management."
- Pg. 79: i) Action 18.104.22.168 ... "sea-level rise" (not seal-level, as much as i adore that phrase); ii) As I read on, I find I'm having trouble with the random, space-filling inclusion of pull quotes from the 80,000+ words in the engagement materials. As much as I like the one on this page myself, these quotes present singular opinions in what must be a document for the entire community.
- Pg. 82: i) I don't understand what the "common trees-in-a-field approach" means. Please provide examples of these post euro-colonial design languages. ii) REQUIRE not "promote" the planting of native species; iii) last line of page: "to figures associated with colonialism, racism ..."
- Pg. 85: Further on the use of pull quotes, how about citing Sooke facts & figures in these spaces instead? i.e., total acreage of Sooke parks, types of trees in our parks, linear kilometers of trails, etc.
- Pg. 92: i) Action 22.214.171.124 Add examples of "green infrastructure interventions" (failing this, the digital OCP might include a link to a certified and legitimate source for these examples; i.e., a BC or Canadian version of this.)
- Pg. 94: i) Given the repeated use of "holistic" in this document, a definition is needed for this term early in the OCP. In fact, a glossary of frequently used terms would be ideal
- Pg. 99: Action 126.96.36.199. Remove "consider" -- "Create a food and agricultural advisory body" (a top recommendation of Sooke Food CHI, the 2021 Sooke Region Food Security Report and Sooke's 2012 Agricultural Plan). Creation of a Food Policy Council should be a short-term action, not mid-term.
- Pg. 101: Policy 188.8.131.52. Thank you for referring to this best-practice guide. Many other provincial, UBCM, LGLA, LGMA and other BC guides to key OCP topic areas exist and could/should also be referenced throughout the document.
- Pg. 106: Action 184.108.40.206. Might this action (or a stand-alone additional action) prioritize pursuit of the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) and the subsequent launch of destination marketing for Sooke?
- Pg. 112: Action 220.127.116.11. This, i believe, and the pg 130 reference to the Accessibility plan are the only actions dedicated to updating particular District plans. Why these two only? Why not also Agricultural Plan, the Age-Friendly Action Plan, the Town Centre Plan, the Liquid Waste Management Plan, etc. as stated without actions on pg. 205 of the Implementation Plan?
- Pg. 113: Action 18.104.22.168. reference to a "colonial audit model" confuses me. Please explain for your readers. (Google's one reference is to a City of Vancouver Parks Board meeting.)
- Pg. 116: Action 22.214.171.124. Mayor Tait has noted that the fed and provincial governments should be referred to as "other orders of government" not "senior government."
- Pg. 117/118/120: Pull quotes again as space fillers. How about some highlight data from the Housing Needs Assessment? Generally, however, BRAVO! for these housing policies & actions.
- Pg. 129: I appreciate the regular mention of the T'Sou-ke, however you might also want to note the long-standing Sooke desire to "leave no citizen in our community behind."
- Pg. 130: i) "Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada reports" (correct title + lower case 'r'); ii) Action 126.96.36.199, full title is An Accessibility & Inclusiveness Study for the District of Sooke; iii) Action 188.8.131.52, proper title is TogetherBC: British Columbia's Poverty Reduction Strategy. iv) Might JEDI training also be available to community groups and individuals as per the intention of Action 184.108.40.206?
- Pg. 145: Pausing to say these DPAs rock ... or, rather, they heavy timber, rammed earth and hempcrete. Exceptionally well done to all responsible!
- Pg. 157: Appreciation for this: "and the proponent has taken all opportunities available to avoid the SPEA by varying other setbacks or requirements without seriously compromising site use or neighbourhood character."
- Pg. 171/180/: "Provide electrical vehicle charging connections." Question: Is this intended for every residential unit, parking stall and commercial business stall, or is this at the developers' discretion? I ask because, increasingly, the new municipal normal in Canada is to require 100% EV Ready standards for new multi-family and commercial buildings. (See Dunsky, pg. 7, for south island examples)
- Pg. 193: No reference to electric vehicle charging connections in 6.10, 6.11 and 6.12 that I can see. Charging connections will be in garages at Wadams Farm, I believe, thus ensuring that garages will be utilized as such and alleviate parking issues.
- Pg. 199: "Minimize opportunity for hiding places to support safety and security" ... I don't believe that Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles been mentioned in the OCP? These were used in design of the library. Should this be recommended for all DPAs?
- Pg. 200: General Planting - should there be a prohibition on use of artificial grass to minimize Langfordization?
- Pg. 205: Implementation Plan.
i) The second paragraph states that "the following neighbourhood and other plans do not exist and would further support the vision, policies and regulations of the OCP." No list of recommended plans follows.
ii) As strongly recommended by the Climate Action Committee, a Climate Action Plan is an early-adoptive must for this list.
iii) Also meriting inclusion are the PTMP-recommended master plans for John Phillips Memorial Park and Whiffin Spit, among TBD others.
- Pg. 205: Plans to Update.
i) I wonder if these plans are listed in priority order? Sooke's Zoning Bylaw is an immediate legislative requirement following any new OCP, so it belongs where it is at the top of the list.
ii) I agree with the OCP-AC that it should be followed quickly by a revised Town Centre Plan.
iii) Should a review of the Liquid Waste Management Plan be on this list?
iv) The submission from the Sooke Age-Friendly Committee calls for inclusion on this list of the Sooke Age-Friendly Action Plan(2015).
- Pg. 207: Action Item #4 (220.127.116.11). The "Island Highway" is the four-lane route along Vancouver Island's east coast. Replace with "Highway 14" or "Sooke Road."
Finally, a credit page with generous appreciation to all involved - Sooke engagement participants, the OCP-AC, Cllr. Beddows, District staff and DIALOG and its team. Thank you all, job almost done. :-)
Also from this blog:
~ OCP Update (Sept. 2021)
~ Masterplanning Sooke's Smart Growth (Dec. 2019)
~ Team OCP (Aug. 2020)
Image: Main goals and themes from the first wave of public engagement last year, all addressed in their various technical ways in the draft OCP as well as the related (many newly updated) plans and reports that it aligns with.