SOOKE – Current Local News


SOOKE STUFF TO NOTE [more events and details on EVENTS page] :

  • Monday, June 26 – District of Sooke Regular Council meeting & public input on the 2016 Annual Report  – 7  pm
  • Saturday, July 1 – Canada Day 150 – at Sooke Flats, Phillips Road. Pancake breakfast starts 9am, parade 12 noon followed by official opening.





Wednesday, June 21 ~ SOOKE.  For a sport that relies on the wind things are happening fast at Sooke Sailing in 2017.

For youth ages 6 to 14, one-week sailing programs/camps are available mid-July and 5-day lessons for ages 14 and up in two-person dinghy sailing are being held at the beginning of July (adults welcome too).

The younger sailors in training will be at Coopers Cove nearby the Rush Adventures/Stickleback spot once again this year. The older crew meets at Mariners Village right in Sooke. “We are sailing almost every Sunday year-round in two-person dinghies,” says Sooke Sailing Association president Gord Fulcher. “Whisper is our day sailor and Windborne our keel boat. That means fun is available for everyone.”

For adults and families there is a 26 ft keel boat available for fun-sail and learn-to-cruise excursions on Sundays and weeknights. Lessons are offered in Basic Cruising and VHF Radio. “Whisper is available weekdays and evenings with Robert Chouinard as the skipper if you want a unique view of Sooke from the Harbour, Basin or Strait of Juan de Fuca,” says Fulcher. “Robert has years of experience and loves to show the intricacies of sailing in an easy way while exploring Sooke waters.”

Also available is the Sooke Sailing Co-op for those that are interested in shared ownership of a boat to reduce cost and learn about sailing with others. Info and sailing dates: 778-425-4030 or


Wednesday, June 21 ~ SOOKE. Public input is being sought by the District of Sooke about their proposed Official Community Plan that is now under development. The municipality is offering several ways to provide input up to June 30:

  • Sooke Municipal Hall, 2205 Otter Point Road – in the lobby, 8:30am to 4:30pm – June 15 to 30
  • Submit comments by email:
  • District of Sooke booth at Sooke Country Market (Otter Point Rd at Eustace): 10am to 2pm on Sat June 24
  • Sooke Night Market (outdoors at the Sooke Region Museum grounds) on two Thursday nights (5:30 to 8pm): June 22 & 29
  • Sooke Library drop-in – 10am to 5 pm (on days the library is open).

What’s an Official Community Plan?

The Official Community Plan (OCP) is the District’s most important planning tool. Its vision helps to influence the way our community grows and develops by guiding how land is used. Land use and development decisions influence all parts of our daily lives, how our community looks and feels as well as where we live, work and play.

As a broad policy framework, the OCP guides planning and decision making about the future of our community, and works together with more detailed strategic action and implementation plans, such as corporate and financial plans, our Town Centre Plan, the Transportation Plan, the Parks Master Plan, and others.

Let’s Talk About Land Use

The first step towards the drafting stage of an OCP includes general descriptions for discussion purposes surrounding land use and Land Use Designations. (LUDs)

Based on feedback received from Council and the public engagement process in the summer and fall of 2016, staff has prepared the draft LUD maps and descriptions which were presented to Council in May 2017.  These are aimed to stimulate conversations and understanding about future land use in Sooke, which will assist with better decision-making, informed by an established planning theory.

What are Land Use Designations (LUD)?

The purpose of a LUD is to ‘match’ the lands in a Plan Area to land use and other goals, objectives and policies set out by the community in the Official Community Plan to help guide current and future decision making.

Find out more about the proposed land use designations at

Wednesday, June 21 ~ NATIONAL – from the west coast.   It’s finally the first day of summer, which seems to have taken longer to arrive due to a dreary long winter and a spring with much more rain than usual. It’s almost as if winter lasted right up until it became summer!

The summer solstice officially marks the first day of summer. This year the solstice arrived at 9:24 pm Pacific Time last night on June 20, making today June 21 the first full day of summer.

On the west side of Vancouver Island it was also quite a windy day yesterday, as if to usher in summer with a bang and with a reminder that the climate is not following stable patterns as it used to.

For health in summer, people are reminded to wear sunscreen for their skin when outdoors, and UV-protective eyewear. Remember to stay hydrated and wear a hat when exposed to sunlight.

Most people’s veggie and herb gardens are well underway already. But now that warm weather is assured it’s a good time for planting any remaining vegetable or herb plants as well as flowers.

On the national political scene, Prime Minister Justice Trudeau has renamed National Aboriginal Day — as recognized each year at the summer solstice —  as National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Tuesday, June 20 ~ SOOKE.  Last night about 20 members of the public attended the District of Sooke Committee of the Whole to overall voice concerns if not outright opposition to two new cell (wireless) monopoles being proposed by Freedom Mobile.

Freedom Mobile is owned by Shaw. They compete in the wireless market against the three big ‘giants’, i.e. Rogers, TELUS, and Bell. Presently, Freedom Mobile customers are clustered in Ontario, Alberta and BC.

In recent months Freedom Mobile had little difficulty in establishing a small non-obtrusive pole in an industrial area of Langford, to boost signals for their customers in that part of the west shore.

After some lengthy presentations from the public about health-related concerns, an impression was left in the room that exposure to transmission waves (radiation) from the towers would be almost likely be detrimental to the health of people in the immediate area of the towers.

The two proposed tower locations are 2614 Otter Point Road and 5154 Sooke Rd. Those are both private-owned properties in areas well set back from the town core.

The public presentations — some of them quite lengthy and repetitive — were non-interrupted by Councillor Bev Berger serving last night as the acting mayor. Councillor Kevin Pearson excused himself from the room during discussion about the 5154 Sooke Rd location (without specifying a reason). Councillor Ebony Logins came right out to declare her opposition to the two monopoles and that she would vote against them when the matter comes in front of Sooke Council on July 10.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was not in attendance at last night’s meeting.

The point made by some in the audience that there is “already enough cell coverage” in the area is to miss the point about facilitating business competition within the wireless industry. Business competition usually ends up benefiting the consumer.

Industry Canada is the authorizing body for where cell towers can be located. Municipal governments have no official say in the matter. However, the District of Sooke pulled out their “Communications Antenna Policy” from 2002, and based on that felt their role was to not only report on the meeting but to provide recommendations to both the federal agency (Industry Canada) and the applicant.

District of Sooke Councillors who were present at the June 19 Committee of the Whole asked for a staff report that will presumably summarize the evening which included presentations from Freedom Mobile as well as the public input and Councillors’ discussion and debate.

To allow time for compilation of that report, the July 10 Council meeting (the only summer meeting of Council) was targeted for receipt of the report. That will be 90 days from the applications made by Freedom Mobile. There is a 120-day window for applications to be received and responded to.

Advisory signage is now operating on Hwy 14 facing westbound traffic that is heading to Sooke. [West Shore Voice News photo – June 18, 2017]

Sunday, June 18 ~ ON THE ROAD TO SOOKE. The remote-controlled Advisory Signage is now operating on the 4-lane section of Highway 14 (Sooke Road).  Sooke commuters have been waiting for this!

The advisory sign faces westbound traffic that is heading to Sooke.

The BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure says the sign messages will provide “important and timely traveller information” regarding delays, road closures and current road conditions. The information will be provided from the traveller information system.

One of the reasons this signage has been long-awaited by regular Sooke commuters is regarding any road closures that may lie ahead. However, while there is a pull-over area just east of the sign, there is no area provided for traffic to turn around.  If someone were to try a U-turn on the 4-lane based on information on the sign about road delays, that could create some dangerous traffic havoc.

The message on the sign today on Sunday June 18 in good weather, was simply ‘Keep your Distance, Drive Safely”.


Saturday, June 17 ~ SOOKE. It’s grad season, and in Sooke the community is celebrating this year’s Grad Class of 2017 at Edward Milne Community School (EMCS).

The grad names were listed in the June 9, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News (page 3). The EMCS Scholarship and Bursary recipients are listed in the June 16, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News (page 5) — in total over $100,000 was received by EMCS students this year toward their continued education in post-secondary.

The 2016-2017 academic year has been a significant one for the school itself. Back in October 2016 the 20th anniversary of the school was celebrated. Then in January 2017 EMCS was the first school visited by BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, to kick off her all-BC-schools tour for Canada 150. Also, this is the final full year for Pat Swinburnson as Principal at EMCS; he will retire part-way through the 2017-2018 academic year, at 2017 year-end.


Thursday, June 15 ~ VICTORIA/Vancouver Island. A recall of Island Farms milk products is open to all affected consumers. Products can be returned with or without a receipt. the recall also applies to products with the brand names Lucerne and Natrel.

Today June 15, the manufacturer — Agropur Dairy Cooperative — initiated a voluntary recall of numerous items in BC that were produced at the Victoria facility. The company said foreign material had been found in some of the products. No injuries or illnesses have been reported. The company said the recall is a precautionary measure.

Customers are advised not to drink the milk and are being asked to return the products to the store for a full refund.

The voluntary recall comes three days after Foremost-brand four-litre milk jugs from two Real Canadian Superstores on Vancouver Island were recalled due to sharp metal objects being found in the milk.

These are the affected Agropur products:

Brand Product Format UPC Distribution
Island Farms 1% Partly skimmed milk 2L 0 57726 00203 0 British Columbia
Island Farms 1% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 57726 00139 2 Vancouver Island only
Island Farms 2% Partly skimmed milk 2L 0 57726 00202 3 British Columbia
Island Farms 2% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 57726 00119 4 Vancouver Island only
Island Farms 1% Chocolate partly skimmed
1L 0 57726 00166 8 British Columbia
Island Farms 3.25% Homogenized milk 2L 0 57726 00201 1 British Columbia
Island Farms 3.25% Homogenized milk 4L 0 57726 00109 5 Vancouver Island only
Island Farms Skimmed milk 2L 0 57726 00204 7 British Columbia
Island Farms Skimmed milk 4L 0 57726 00129 3 Vancouver Island only
Lucerne Skimmed Milk 2L 8 21954 07890 3 British Columbia
Lucerne 1% Partly skimmed milk 2L 8 21954 07892 7 British Columbia
Lucerne 2% Partly skimmed milk 2L 8 21954 07894 1 British Columbia
Lucerne 1% Chocolate partly skimmed
2L 8 21954 07898 9 British Columbia
Lucerne 3.25 % Homogenized milk 2L 8 21954 07896 5 British Columbia
Natrel 1% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 64420 44115 7 Vancouver Island only
Natrel 2% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 64420 44317 5 Vancouver Island only
Natrel 1% Chocolate partly skimmed
1L 0 64420 00199 3 British Columbia
Natrel 3.25% Homogenized Milk 4L 0 64420 44117 1 Vancouver Island only
Natrel Skimmed milk 4L 0 64420 44417 2 Vancouver Island only

Wednesday, June 14 ~ SOOKE.  The number of students in sport academies in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) has been steadily increasing. Registration is still open for most programs.

In the past three years, numbers have increased from just over 500 to an expected 800 participants this fall, says Wayne Kelly, Vice-Principal, Sport Academy Programs.

“Academies help keep students connected to their school,” says Kelly. “There is a high level of interest among students and parents. As the number of students in the district grows, so does demand.”

There are additional credits for graduation through the sport academies. Sometimes doors get opened to opportunities for post-secondary scholarships.

New this year is availability of the Golf Academy at all three highschools in SD62: Belmont, Royal Bay and Edward Milne. Click on ad for more details. Other details and online registration form at

As first published in the June 9, 2017 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News (page 4).


Monday, June 12 ~ SOOKE. There will be an Annual Report Meeting held by the District of Sooke on Monday, June 26 starting at 7pm in council chambers.

Council invites the public to provide comment by telephone or written submission regarding the District of Sooke 2016 Draft Annual Report. Contact: Tel: 250.642.1634 Email:

The 2016 Annual Report includes the 2016 audited financial statements, a schedule of 2016 tax exemptions, and information on services, objectives, and measures used to determine the District’s success in meeting the objectives.

The full report is available for download at

Sunday, June 11 ~ SOOKE.  Last weekend the Edward Milne Community School (EMCS) Grade 12 Graduation Ceremony was held at the Farquhar Auditorium at the University of Victoria.

Check out the list of all EMCS grad names in the June 9 issue of West Shore Voice News — you’ll find that feature on page 3.

Next week in the June 16 issue all the scholarship and award winners will be listed. They tally to about $100,000. The EMCS Awards Night will be held on Thursday, June 15 in the theatre at EMCS, starting 7pm.

Injured flagger lifted by first responders from ditch on Sooke Road June 8. WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS photo.

Thursday, June 8 ~ LANGFORD. Today around 12:15 pm West Shore RCMP responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a single vehicle and traffic flagger on Sooke Road and Luxton Avenue.

Initial reports from witnesses were that the flagger was attempting to stop a vehicle travelling in the east bound lane when she was struck by a small grey hatchback.

The impact of the collision sent both the vehicle and flagger into the ditch.

Emergency personnel including BC Ambulance Service and Langford Fire Department attended the scene and facilitated the rescue of the flagger who was transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries but which included a broken leg according to Langford rescue personnel.

This incident is a reminder to all motorists to take extra caution in construction zones and highway projects where flaggers and work crews are working, states Corporal Chris Dovell, spokesperson for the West Shore RCMP.

This collision remains under investigation by the West Shore RCMP Traffic Unit and Worksafe BC.

[Photo submitted by a West Shore Voice News reader, thank you!].

Construction continues along Hwy 1 for the McKenzie Interchange. [Photo May 23, 2017 by West Shore Voice News]

Thursday, June 8 ~ VICTORIA AREA. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has issued a traffic advisory about McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 construction closures coming up next week.

Between Monday June 12 and Friday June 16, travellers are advised of overnight closures, detours and delays on McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 as part of the McKenzie interchange construction.

The following closures will allow crews to install the Galloping Goose Trail bridge over McKenzie Avenue and the temporary pedestrian/cyclist bridge over Highway 1:

> Monday, June 12, from 11 p.m. to Tuesday, June 13, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
Tuesday, June 13, from 11 p.m. to Wednesday, June 14, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
> Friday, June 16, from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Highway 1 will be closed between McKenzie Avenue / Admirals Road and the Helmcken interchange.

MOTI says that every effort will be made to open these routes as quickly as possible, as soon as it is safe for both the construction crews and the travelling public. The work schedule may change due to weather and other conditions.

All travellers including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are advised to plan alternative routes and to allow for extra time. Please also obey traffic control personnel and construction speed limits, and watch for workers and highway message boards. For up-to-date traffic advisories:

The interchange, when complete, is expected to improve travel times between core areas, Saanich and the western communities of Colwood, Langford and beyond to Sooke.

Monday, June 5 ~ SOOKE. As Sooke’s population grows, so does the demand for various modern services. And mobile wireless services are certainly an integral part of modern living.

As part of the growing market for affordable wireless, Freedom Mobile Inc is proposing two monopole type telecommunication towers for the Sooke region. The first is a 50 m tower for installation on private property at 2614 Otter Point Road in Sooke west of the town core. The other is 45 m in height, proposed for placement on private property at 5154 Sooke Road, east of the town core. The proposed structures would provide wireless coverage for the community of Sooke within a few kilometres of the proposed location.

The proposals will be presented by Freedom Mobile reps at a District of Sooke Committee of the Whole meeting, coming up June 19 (7pm in Council Chambers).

Freedom Mobile Inc (formerly Wind Mobile) is owned by Shaw. It is the fourth largest mobile provider in Canada, with presently over one million active users that are presently clustered in urban areas of Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Of the more than 30 million wireless users in Canada, 90% are served by ‘the big three’ providers: Bell, Rogers and TELUS.

Freedom Mobile is known for its uncomplicated flat-fee pricing, no data overage, and straightforward renewal policies. They take pride in claiming to be keeping wireless costs under control. Canada has among the highest wireless charges in the world, in large part due to the infrastructure costs to serve a relatively sparse population over a vast geographical area.

This article was first published on page 5 in the June 2, 2017  issue of West Shore Voice News.

Friday, June 2 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is announcing new initiatives this summer, in recognition of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. VIRL’s Read for Reconciliation offers a curated list of titles by indigenous authors that stimulate awareness, foster discussion, and facilitate a culture of learning.

June is National Aboriginal month and VIRL branches are hosting a range of programs and events in recognition and celebration of the vital role of indigenous communities. VIRL is also running a social media campaign, with the hashtag #Read4Reconciliation, as part of the campaign.

“As community hubs, libraries have an important role to play in both celebrating all that makes our country great, and in the healing and reconciliation that must occur so that we can all move forward under a common umbrella of understanding and unity,” said VIRL Executive Director, Rosemary Bonanno. “VIRL is committed to embracing and learning from our indigenous communities. We are also very excited to be part of the celebrations that are sweeping the country on Canada’s 150th anniversary.”

For Canada’s 150th, VIRL is launching a booklist of 150 titles from across the country and a mobile library that is travelling to events across Vancouver Island to promote library services. The mobile library will allow people to sign up for a library card, check out library materials (from the Read for Reconciliation and Canada 150 lists, and materials related to each event), purchase library swag, and test out VIRL’s new Virtual Reality.

At the mobile library, everyone will have an opportunity to be part of an exciting oral history project that aims to tap into and curate the rich tapestry that is our Island, and celebrate the stories and histories that unite us all. We will be recording 150-second stories at the community events and at all 39 branches.

The VIRL mobile library will be at the following events:

  • Port Alberni – Farmer’s Market – Saturday, June 17 – 9am–1pm
  • Nanaimo – Multiculturalism Day (One Community: Our City. Our Stories) – Tuesday, June 27 – 7–9pm
  • Downtown Duncan Day – Saturday, July 15 – 10am–6pm
  • Vancouver Island Exhibition – August 18, 19, 20

The complete Read for Reconciliation Booklist is available at and the Canada 150 materials are available at .

DeMamiel Creek Golf Course is owned and operated by SEAPARC.

Tuesday, May 30 ~ SOOKE.  DeMamiel Creek Par 3 Golf Course in Sooke is a 9-hole course. “Most everyone plays it twice, or 18 holes,” says SEAPARC Chair Mike Hicks.

The fee to play the first 9 is $15, and then $10 for the next 9 (repeating the course for a second time): total $25 for 18 holes.

And the seniors rate $15 for two rounds or 18 holes, Monday to Friday, says Hicks. That decision was made by the SEAPARC Commission at their May 18 meeting, after seeing that the initial Mon/Wed offering was popular with seniors.

By offering the discount to senior (age 60+) golfers on weekdays, SEAPARC hopes to spread out the volume of course usage. Youth are getting into the act too! Students from both Journey Middle School and Edward Milne high school were utilizing the course for golfing programs.

Hicks says the course is in beautiful shape: “All systems are go and it is tremendous to see the great enthusiasm and support from the seniors, schools and residents throughout the Sooke and the Capital Region.”

Bookings & more info:

Tuesday, May 30 ~ SOOKE. Children and families can be active throughout the summer at SEAPARC Leisure Complex in Sooke!

The summer splash pass is one of many ways SEAPARC provides affordable recreation options for the community and children to be active. Only $31.50 for two months — July 2 to September 4, for youth ages 7 to 18. The pass provides unlimited drop-in access to the pool all summer.

Also on this summer at SEAPARC are fitness, pool and aqua drop-in, golf, and bike park for all ages. The Monday to Friday summer camps for school-age kids run for nine weeks starting July 4 (see pg 15-19 in the SEAPARC guide). Specialty camps offer activities in art/dance, ecoquest & hiking, and sports.

This summer there are Play in the Parks camps offered on a drop-in basis at Journey Middle School, Broomhill Park, and at SEAPARC (see pg 21 in the SEAPARC program guide). Those run July 4 to August 30 (except Aug 7) Monday-Thursday 11 am to 3 pm for ages 7 to 12, for $3 per drop-in per day.

Plus adult and senior programs, and swim classes.

Monday, May 29 ~ SOOKE. Tonight May 29 at Sooke Council (as Committee of the Whole):

  • An update about the proposed new Official Community Plan (OCP) including balkanization of Sooke into ‘neighbourhoods’.
  • A new Community Development and Engagement Committee is up for consideration. The committee would be comprised of 3 members of council and 3 members of the public to consider building permits, processes, forms and policies.
  • A proposed municipal travel expense policy (not updated since 2008).
  • Also, Sooke Fall Fair president Ellen Lewers will address Sooke Fall Fair traffic flow. Last year quite a lot of trouble and expense was undertaken to accommodate the 2-day event in Sooke town centre.

The meeting commences at 7 pm (following a special in-camera meeting of Council that starts at 6:30 pm). Agenda and live webcast:

Saturday, May 27 ~ SOOKE. Today at Sooke Community Hall there will be the first Zero Waste Sooke Repair Cafe, from 9 am to 1 pm.

Bring items for repair or drop by to find out how to repair something. There will be a demonstration of how a 3D printer works.

Friday, May 26 ~ SOOKE. District of Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount reminds residents that open burning in the District of Sooke is only permitted until sundown on May 31, 2017.

From June 1 to September 30 all open air burning of yard and garden debris is prohibited. Cooking campfires that are no larger than 2’ X 2’ are still allowed (unless there is a campfire ban in place), but must be extinguished by 1:00 am.

As always, beach fires within the District of Sooke are prohibited. Propane campfires and BBQ’s are allowed.

For further information, contact the Sooke Fire Rescue Department at 250-642-5422. For further details visit the ‘Burning Regulations’ page at

Thursday, May 25 ~  SOOKE. Park Watch patrollers are in their 17th year of helping to protect vehicles while visitors enjoy regional parks and beaches at Matheson Lake, Aylard Farm & Pike Road entrances to East Sooke Park, Sooke Potholes, French Beach, China Beach and Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew.

Park Watch hands out an information brochure in the parks. Coordinator is Marie Mills.

SD62 School Board Chair Bob Phillips [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, May 24 ~ West Shore/Sooke. Long-time Sooke School District (SD62) trustee board trustee Bob Phillips will be resigning from the position of board chair at the end of June 2017. He made that brief announcement at the May 23 SD62 public board meeting last night in Langford.

Phillips has told West Shore Voice News that the SD62 board is “a corporate board”, indicating his inclination for more direct involvement in politics. Phillips is long of the NDP party stripe and was a key organizer in the re-election of BC NDP incumbent John Horgan (Langford-Juan de Fuca) in the recent provincial election.

Most of the trustees on the SD62 board have served long a long time, some of them three or four terms, including Wendy Hobbs, Denise Riley, Dianna Seaton (currently serving as vice-chair). and Margot Swinburnson. Neil Poirier is serving his second term, and Ravi Parmar his first term.

In the important matters of education, the wisdom of life experience counts for sometimes as much as understanding the machinations of board interworkings.

A social worker (retired) by trade, Phillips has overseen a contrast of conditions for SD62 budget realities in the past two years. In 2015-2016, the SD62 board agonized over yet another round of cutbacks resulting from province-wide education battles with the BC Ministry of Education. In 2016-2017 came the shift point where more teachers could be hired (mostly heading into fall 2017).

More appropriate funding is also now being received for 2017-2018 to support schools with the underpinnings that come with increased classroom teacher numbers (e.g. custodial, utilities overhead). That accomplishment comes largely from behind-the-scenes work by SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge.

Over 200 new teachers will come onstream in SD62 for 2017-2018 as a result of the restored class size and composition clauses in the BC teachers agreement with the provincial government.

In the past few years, SD62 has seen rapid student population growth as families flock to relatively more affordable areas of Vancouver Island’s western communities. In the fall of 2015, SD62 opened two new highschools — Royal Bay in Colwood and Belmont in Langford. Both of those schools already need portable classrooms to keep up with demand. At least 25 portables will be shuffled around the broad SD62 footprint of the west shore, once enrollment numbers are firmed up for the start of the 2017-2018 academic year in September.

From a public perspective, SD62 serves families and students in the communities of Langford, Colwood, Sooke, Highlands, Metchosin and Port Renfrew. From the inside out, SD62 is a largely charged with managing the employment of thousands of teachers. Over 85% of the 2017-2018 budget will go to teacher salaries.

Follow education news ‘from the inside out’ each week in West Shore Voice News 

[WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS PHOTO: Bob Phillips during the visit of the BC Lieutenant Governor at Edward Milne Community School, January 2017]

Monday, May 22 ~ WEST SHORE. Blood is of course needed year-round. In summer the supplies of donated blood can be lower than needed, due to donors being away on vacation. Blood supplies are always needed in hospitals for emergencies and surgeries, and for cancer patient support.

Here are some local BLOOD DONOR CLINICS that are coming up ahead of the full-on summer vacation period:

  • Monday June 12 at Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Ave, Colwood. 12 noon to 7pm
  • Monday July 3 at Sooke Legion, 6726 Eustace Rd, Sooke. 11:30 am to 6:30 pm.

You can make donation appointments at

Monday, May 22 ~ SOOKE. The CASA Community Garden renovation and clean-up event will be held Sunday May 28. Events that day include permaculture, spiral garden, keyhole garden, raised bed-making, stone painting.

To volunteer, contact the coordinator or simply show up at the event starting at 10 am at 6672 Wadams Way. Parking space available and light refreshments will be provided.

Plant and seed donations can be left at the gazebo at the CASA Community Garden anytime.

Contact Christine Bossi, SRCHN Coordinator or  250-858-3458.

Sunday, May 21 ~ SOOKE.  This has been ‘Be Tire Smart’ Week in Canada, May 15 to 21.

At Dumont Tire in Sooke, Jason Dumont and his team are busy as people get their vehicles checked and repaired for the summer season. Dumont also reminds people that it’s not just vehicles that need attention to tires. They also check, repair and replace tires on garden tractors, lawn mowers, wheel barrow and RV’s.

Here are some tips about lowering your environmental impact and saving money by checking tire pressures monthly to ensure they are set at the vehicle manufacturer’s
specified level.

Under-inflated tires waste about 500 million litres of fuel each year in Canada. That’s enough fuel to power 275,000 vehicles for an entire year.

Measuring and adjusting tire pressure is a four-step process:

  • Find the right inflation pressure by wheel position on the vehicle placard, which is commonly located on one of the vehicle’s inside door posts, or inside the glove compartment or fuel door. Consult the owner’s manual for the exact location.
  • Measure pressure when the tires are cold. If you have been driving, wait three hours before measuring tire pressure. Tires heat up when rolling, so if they are measured after driving more than 2 km, the pressure reading will be inaccurate.
  • Use a reliable tire gauge when measuring pressure. Doing just a visual inspection is not effective to measure tire pressure. A tire can be under- or over-inflated by 20% or more and not be noticeable. Remove the cap from the valve stem, press the tire gauge onto the valve and take the pressure reading.
  • Add air until the recommended air pressure is achieved. If the tire gets overfilled, release air by pushing on the metal stem in the centre of the valve, then re-measure the pressure.

Chronic under-inflation can carve as much as 15,000 km off the service life of a tire, adding to tire replacement costs and the number of scrap tires.

Sunday, May 21 ~ SOOKE. Seeking Salmon is an exhibit on the significance of salmon to humans and the Sooke region.  It’s part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations at the Sooke Region Museum.

“Like no other animal, salmon interact with all human value systems; intrinsic, aesthetic, cultural, ecological, recreational, economic, spiritual, political, nutritional and social. There is no species more ‘valuable’ in Canada’s Pacific Ocean,” it is quoted from

The 10-month exhibit will take a look at how salmon impact many of these human value systems, specifically within the Sooke region. Several of the topics that will be explored in the exhibit include: industry and community growth, food sources and culinary arts, hatcheries, fishing, First Nations, cultural and spiritual practices, healthy streams, species protection, bi-catch, and art.

Visitors can expect to see artifacts, photographs, fishing equipment, metal sculptures and other art forms. In addition to using materials from our own collection, we welcome the Sooke community to share their treasures and photographs with us for display in this exhibit. In particular we are looking for unique and historical fishing equipment and art inspired by salmon.

One of the goals is to build a replica ocean with swimming salmon, and other creatures using local metal art. Those who would like to share their knowledge and objects with the museum, may contact curator Brianna Shambrook at the museum at or 250-642-6351 .

The exhibit will open on the same day as the museum’s annual Open House and salmon barbeque, this year on Sunday June 25, 2017. Typically, the museum’s summer exhibits end in September. However, this year the exhibit will extend into 2018, right up to April 1 next year.

[Photo: a sample salmon display tank]

Saturday, May 20 ~ SOOKE.  Six winning entries from local EMCS students in poetry and short fiction are included in a new book called Write from Sooke – Sooke Writers’ Collective Anthology Four.

A live reading will be held on Sunday May 28 atht he Sooke Region Museum outdoor pavilion, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. It’s free, and open to anyone who would like to attend.


Sooke Lake Reservoir at the top of the dam’s spillway, May 15 (CRD photo).

Friday, May 19 ~ GREATER VICTORIA.  The annual mid-year CRD reservoir decline has begun.

And as of May 1, the Capital Regional District (CRD) Stage 1 water conservation bylaw is in effect (to Sept 30). It’s part of an annual strategy to maintain water supplies for Greater Victoria through the drier months of the year.

In 2015 and 2016 in which warmer drier weather came earlier than it has this year, the level of water in the Sooke Lake Reservoir began its annual seasonal decline as of April 19 (99.8%) and April 10 (99.5%), respectively. This year, the first measurement below 100% was seen a bit further into spring, on May 7 (99.6%). The full pool level of Sooke Lake Reservoir is 186.75m, serving a CRD-region population of about 380,000.

According to weather forecasts, this Victoria Day long weekend will offer the first couple of sunny days in 2017 with temperatures in the high teens. In warmer weather, there tends to be more water usage.

Stage 1 conservation allows residential lawn watering twice a week (even addresses on Wed/Sat and odd addresses Thurs/Sun). Established plantings and vegetable gardens may be watered by a hand-held hose with shut-off or hand-held container, or micro/drip irrigation system, on any day at any time. Municipalities may water lawns and boulevards on Monday and Fridays [1am to 10am & 7pm to 10 pm].

Photo: Sooke Lake Reservoir (at top of the dam’s spillway), May 15. | This article was first published in the May 19, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.

Friday, May 19 ~ SOOKE.  Fight the throwaway culture and get stuff fixed at Zero Waste Sooke’s Repair Cafe on Saturday, May 27. Local volunteer repair experts equipped with tools and knowledge will gather downstairs at Sooke Community Hall, 9am-1pm. Their mission: To ensure as many malfunctioning local household items as possible are repaired and put back into productive use. Bonus: It’s all free!

Organized by Zero Waste Sooke, the family-friendly event welcomes locals to bring broken items for repair — lamps, hair dryers, clothes, electronic appliances, furniture, bikes, toys and crockery included. No guarantees, but more than likely these items can be repaired by the specialists. And if not, well, no harm, no foul, no cost in making the effort.
“We trash mountains of stuff on this planet,” says Zero Waste coordinator Wendy O’Connor. Things can be repaired. “We’ve been convinced by manufacturers that its somehow easier to buy the latest, greatest models,” she says. Skills-training cafes demonstrate that items can be maintained over the long term.

Volunteers confirmed so far include Wendy and Paula Johanson (fabrics), Bernie Klassen and Elgin Ambrose (wood products), Garrath Morgan and his dad Chris (small appliances), and Cast Iron Farm‘s Jeremy Newell.

Other attractions: “Community Mike” Russell and his 10-year-old son Kasian will host bike repair clinics for adults and kids respectively. Marion Pettinger will offer mini-workshops on kombucha. Triston Line of EMCS Robotics and the school’s Makerspace planning team will introduce 3D printing. And Bernie will demonstrate DIY silk-screening techniques. There will also be a fun work station where youngsters can safely participate in building their own takeaway bat houses.

Additional volunteer fixers welcome. Check in with team leads Bernie and Wendy:
Repair Cafes have become increasingly popular around the world since the first was held in Amsterdam in 2009. Several now take place regularly on Vancouver Island and this will be the debut cafe in Sooke. Operating with a license from Repair Cafe International, Zero Waste is also planning a cafe for Sooke’s new Makerspace to open at EMCS this fall.

This article was first published in the May 19, 2017 MAY LONG WEEKEND issue of West Shore Voice News

The BC NDP won 41 seats in the May 9 BC General Election. Final count comes May 24.

Tuesday, May 16 ~ BC. BC’s Official Opposition Leader John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) met with media at 4pm today. 

When asked about his stand on the TransMountain pipeline, he said “we need to defend our coast from a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic” and that he would discuss the issue with Prime Minister Trudeau if the NDP becomes the majority government in BC after the BC Election recount (results expected May 24).

Horgan said he is eager to see the final election results involving over 170,000 absentee ballots after which “I can’t wait to get started”.

Meanwhile, Horgan aims to continue focussing on services that people in BC want such as improvements in health care and services for seniors. “My whole objective of my getting into politics was to make life better for people,” Horgan told media today. “I’m still involved and still want to do that.”

Regarding Premier Clark’s comments today about working to improve services for people in BC, Horgan said. “That message clearly has been lost on the liberals for the last 16 years.” He said there have been “no shortage of opportunities” for the government to work on behalf of the people.

Horgan said that almost 60% of those who voted were saying to the government they the people haven’t believed the government is working for them, that they were “more focussed on fundraising than on governing”.

“Almost 60% of the ballots were cast against the sitting government,” said Horgan, referring to the combined voting results of the BC NDP and the BC Greens.

And on proportional representation: “What we have is a real opportunity to demonstrate why proportional representation can work here in BC. We have an outcome that allows two parties with vast majorities to work together with opportunities for the people,” said Horgan today. “People satisfied with the election results and want to make sure this minority situation works.”

In his time with media today, Horgan took the opportunity to mention his visit to Sooke this past weekend, to attend one of the Sooke Community Choir concerts at Sooke Community Hall.

See post-election analysis “Part One” in the May 12, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.

Tuesday, May 16 ~  GREATER VICTORIA. BC Transit is looking for drivers — customer-focused and safety-conscious individuals who are passionate about serving the local community to join the Transit Operator team in Victoria.

A paid 9-week training program is provided for learning how to operate every kind of bus in the fleet. Trainees will be supported to earn a Class 2 commercial license with air brakes.

“Bring your passion for driving, and we’ll do the rest,” says one BC Transit rep. The career opportunity is considered to be challenging and rewarding, with competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits.

The six core values for employees are safety, customer service, sustainability, collaboration, integrity and innovation.

Monday, May 15 ~ WEST SHORE. About 2,500 students from 17 elementary schools throughout SD62 (Langford, Colwood, Sooke) will be converging on Belmont Secondary in Langford to hear the Victoria Symphony Orchestra live!

The event is on Thursday May 18 in the school gym. The special appearance by the symphony — in three concerts, taking up most of the day — was set in motion by SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge last year, says Belmont principal Ray Miller.

Events like this capture the interest of young students who might then become more involved with music during their middle school and high school years.

‘Musicians in Schools’ and ‘Symphony Story Time’ are just two of the programs by which the Victoria Symphony interacts in schools.

Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island, BC

Monday, May 15 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Over the May long weekend, access to the parking lot at Sombrio Beach will be temporarily restricted for safety measures, as in previous years, to discourage illegal activities such as parties and vandalism, as announced today by the BC Ministry of Environment.

Unauthorized activities within the park can impact the social, economic, cultural and ecological sustainability of both the park and the local communities.

The 2.5-kilometre gravel access road off Highway 14 to the parking lot at the Sombrio Beach trailhead will be closed to vehicle traffic from 7 am on Friday, May 19 to 12 am (midnight) on Monday, May 22.

All locations within Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, including the designated campsites at Sombrio Beach and the Juan de Fuca Marina Trail, remain open to the public.

The three remaining trailheads to the Juan de Fuca Trail at China Beach, Parkinson Creek and Botanical Beach are still accessible by vehicles.

BC Parks wants all park users to peacefully and safely enjoy recreational activities that Sombrio Beach and Juan de Fuca Provincial Park are known for, such as hiking, camping and wildlife viewing.

Monday, May 15 ~ SOOKE.  What’s wrong with the scene in this picture? The street-name sign at Maple Avenue South and Grant Road West in Sooke has gone missing! And the STOP sign is facing in the wrong direction!

The District of Sooke has been notified and will be working on a replacement.

This sort of vandalism is a cost to municipal taxpayers and an inconvenience to drivers.

Maple Avenue South serves as a main thoroughfare from West Coast Road up to Grant Road West. The vantage point in this photo is for westbound traffic on Grant Road West, turning left (south) onto Maple.

Saturday, May 13 ~ SOOKE/West Shore.  About 1,244 student riders have registered so far, for transport to and from school by bus in SD62 in 2017-2018.

That’s about 38% of the expected total registrations, said SD62 Chair Bob Phillips at the SD62 Education Committee of the Whole meeting on May 10.

Registration has been open online since May 1, but will be temporarily suspended at May 31. That’s so bus routes can be sorted vis-a-vis population shifts with new housing developments especially in the Langford and Colwood areas.

Parents will be advised of bus route assignments at the end of June, says Phillips.


Thursday, May 11 ~ COASTAL BC. BC Ferries is adding over 85 extra sailings on the most popular routes for the Victoria Day long weekend: Thursday May 18 through Tuesday May 23.

That includes the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route (60 extra sailings), Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay, Horseshoe Bay-Langdale, Earls Cover-Saltery Bay.

The most popular travel times are expected to be Thursday and Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning. Monday is usually the busiest day for return trips.

Staff at the TD Sooke branch celebrated 5 years!

Thursday, May 11 ~ SOOKE.  The TD Canada Trust branch in Sooke opened with big fanfare five years ago.

The high-profile celebration in 2012 was held in the newly-constructed TD building on Sooke Road. Featured among the festivities that day was an opportunity to sit in the well-known TD large green leather chair to get your photo taken. There are only five of those chairs across Canada.

This year the celebration was a little more low-key. All available staff were called in for the day today, for balloons and snacks, and a chance to share memories. The branch continues to grow.

There have been four branch managers, starting with York Langerfeld to open the branch in May 2012, followed by Jay Rona, Mark Doberstein and presently Erich Falk.


Thursday, May 11 ~ SOOKE. This weekend catch the Spirit Train! Three concerts by Sooke Community Choir will be held at Sooke Community Hall on May 12, 13 and 14 (Fri/Sat at 7:30 pm and Sun at 2 pm).

The repertoire in the three-concert series is comprised of spirituals and soul-stirring powerful music by legendary songwriters including Woody Guthrie, The Beach Boys, and Billy Joel. Artistic director Bruce Ruddell is excited about the new custom programme for this spring concert.

In this year’s round of community grants, the Sooke Community Choir received funding from the District of Sooke to purchase new sheet music.

Tickets $20 adults, $15 seniors; admission free for youth under 14 free. Tickets at Shoppers Drug Mart, The Stick in the Mud, and at the door.

Christy Clark has been asked by the Lieutenant Governor to carry on as Premier.

Wednesday, May 10 ~ BC. BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon has requested that Premier Clark continue to govern as Premier of British Columbia. Clark made the announcement at noon today from her Premier’s office in Vancouver.

The vote count from last night’s General Election tally sits at 43 BC Liberal, 41 BC NDP, and 3 Green until a final count is produced on May 23 (which will include the absentee ballot count from around the province and any BC military/residents abroad).

Many people didn’t realize that if they took advantage of the “28 days of voting” at District Electoral Offices and by other means, that their vote would not be included yet in election-night tallies. The preliminary count of certification envelopes containing absentee ballots province-wide is 176,104.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has congratulated Clark for being the first woman to be re-elected as a provincial premier.

The NDP and Greens could bring down the present BC Liberal government and form a new one when the legislature meets. Much of the punditry is enthused about Green Leader Andrew Weaver holding the power card. He could decide to go along with the BC Liberals and the existing setup or side with the NDP to consolidate the progressive vote. Either way, all this is a potential powder keg for seeing another BC election ahead of the usual four-year schedule.

BC NDP Leader delivered a speech that emphasized waiting for definitive election results.

Wednesday, May 10 ~ BC. While in a sense there can only be one winner, the leaders of BC’s three main political parties each delivered an acceptance speech after midnight on Wednesday May 10.

And technically speaking, at the moment, a minority government is what is presently the case with no one party in the May 9 BC General Provincial Election having the required 44 seats to form a majority. The BC Liberals have 43 seats, the BC NDP have 41, and the Greens have three.

The late hour was all about waiting for definitive results from the Tuesday night election. But that was not to be. With so many advance votes and absentee votes still to be counted (as well as an official recount required in Courtenay-Comox due to a very close results), final results won’t be known until May 23.

Under those circumstances, BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark is still Premier, and said in her speech that the voters asked for new considerations. BC NDP Leader John Horgan claimed the moral victory in his speech out of Vancouver, saying voters have asked for change. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver knows that he has a powerful hand to play, in that his new group of three MLAs in a sense hold the balance of power.

Horgan acknowledged the support of his home riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca in his speech from the Vancouver Convention Centre.

More to come.

Tuesday, May 9 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Preliminary Voting Results (after 8 pm):

We are posting the results as they come in, with final May 9 results on May 10 as any advance voting counts roll in (and ultra-final after May 23, after all ‘absentee’ votes are counted):

LANGFORD-JUAN DE FUCA (voters in Langford, Highlands, Sooke and Juan de Fuca):

CANDIDATE PARTY General Election Vote Tally confirmed at May 11, 2017 Final Vote Tally May 9 (will be updated after May 23)
Scott BURTON Libertarian  1.03%
John HORGAN BC NDP (incumbent)  52.78%
Willie NELSON Vancouver Island Party  0.96%
Cathy NOEL BC Liberal  26.35%
Brendan RALFS BC Green  18.87%

BC NDP Leader John Horgan has won his long-time riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca (52% of vote) over two new-to-politics candidates: BC Liberal Cathy Noel (26%) and Green Brendan Ralfs (19%).

There’s a tie at the moment (10:10 pm): BC Liberals 42 and NDP 42 ridings (with Greens 3), but the leading edge has flipped back and forth all night. A total of 44 or more is required to form a majority government.

Horgan’s home team in Langford-Juan de Fuca is excited about John “sweeping in” though “it’s kind of weird when he’s not around”, said one of the lead organizers, referring to John Horgan being in Vancouver on election night. “Provincially there’s a lot of excitement – so much better this time. We hope that the advance vote will come out in our favour.”

Campaign organizer Ravi Parmar said “we never took anything for granted”, adding that “John was able to join us by Skype and talk to volunteers”. “We’re honoured and thankful for those who supported him and glad he will be serving Langford-Juan de Fuca for another 4 years,” said Parmar.

Advance votes still being counted, which historically has been an NDP strong suit. “Numbers are still coming in from Sooke, and other ridings that are close will also have similar results. It shows our base came out,” said Parmar in a phone interview with West Shore Voice News this evening.

Horgan held on to most of the count that he had (54% in 2013).

BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel with 26% of the vote says she is “very proud of the job I’ve done as well as the whole team. We didn’t win but I won,” she said on Tuesday evening. “This got me into the political arena. I met so many people. And I have learned so much. And there is so much to be done,” Noel said from her celebration party over the phone.

Will she do more with the BC Liberals? “I’m not sure yet. But I will assess my next step and what next door I walk through. I want to be involved. I believe in this community. Things have to be done. I’m looking at municipal or provincial,” said Noel.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know Sooke—across the riding is huge. It’s diverse and unique, From knocking on the doors I learned that everyone wants something for their community and they just need a voice,” says Noel. “There’s Sunriver, and old and new Sooke. It’s a diverse population.”

It’s sad that it’s so close for the parties (tied at 42/42 as of 10:45 pm).  “I don’t believe the NDP will deliver without causing huge tax increases. I haven’t met John Horgan, but I don’t believe that he’s telling the truth. To look into his eyes is important to me,” said Noel.  She adds that she ran a clean campaign and didn’t over promise.

Green Candidate Brendan Ralfs will be back to his day job next week. But tonight he’s happy about winning 19% of the vote in Langford-Juan de Fuca.

“People came forward to volunteer and we should be able to get a strong Green Party riding association going in Langford-Juan de Fuca. We can build a network for next time, and that could be sooner than four years given the likely minority government,” Ralfs told West Shore Voice News tonight
Ralfs says that (as of 11:50 pm tonight), Andrew Weaver has not yet joined the main crowd of Green supporters in the ballroom at the Ocean Pointe Hotel yet “because the outcome remains uncertain” (as to which party he could be asked to support in a minority government).

At this point, the BC Liberals have 43 seats and the NDP have 41 (and the Greens 3). For a majority, 44 seats are required.


Tuesday, May 9 ~ LANGFORD.  “A voting day moment”:

This morning BC-NDP Leader John Horgan’s home team in Langford-Juan de Fuca was intensely focussed on all the pieces of managing their candidate’s campaign through today’s the 12-hour voting period.

People have been dropping by to the campaign office today at 114-2801 Jacklin Road to find out where to vote, how to vote, and if they can get a ride to the nearest Voting Place.

Last night the Horgan team posted their group photo on Facebook, cheerfully gearing up for the big day. It’s been an unusual campaign for them, without their candidate in the riding much. But they’ve been promoting about how it’s important to send Horgan back with a majority, to be Premier. Vancouver Island would do well to have an islander as their next premier.

Tonight in Vancouver, BC NDP Leader John Horgan’s celebration party will be at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Horgan has spent the last few days of the 28-day campaign in Surrey and other “must-win” mainland ridings that are necessary if the NDP is to gain more seats than they had before.

To have a majority, the winning party must win in at least 44 ridings. The polls close at 8pm. Results are expected to be made available relatively quickly after that.

Horgan has held the (Langford)-Juan de Fuca riding since 2005 and can count on a lot of longtime ground support in Sooke, Langford and Juan de Fuca.

[Photo: John Horgan on Global TV, May 2 2017]

Tuesday, May 9 ~ BC. EDITORIAL [West Shore Voice News]. Too busy, too tired, too ‘principled’, or think that you’re too under-informed to vote? Forget all that. Barring the severest of personal circumstances, today there is no reason to sit out this election.

Not only is this province, this country and the world at a critical turning point in terms of doing what’s right for people and the planet, many people over the decades, years, and centuries have fought, suffered and died for your right to vote and live in a free society.

Yeah, yeah, the political system is less than perfect. But if you ‘protest’ by intentionally not voting, you’re not only naive you are letting the pros who work the system shine their best.

Reasons people don’t vote [Ref: 2008 US election]

YOU shine your best today. Be part of the collective force that ushers in the next phase of living in BC. A lot of drops in the bucket will fill the bucket to overflowing.

Voting Places are open 8am to 8pm throughout BC for this 41st General Provincial Election. Take your Voter ID card and two pieces of ID. Or just show up with what you’ve got, as you’re probably on the list anyways.

What you’ve got is RIGHTS. Non-voters waive their right to whine later.

[Pie chart shows the reasons that people didn’t vote in the 2008 US election. “Too busy” counted for 17.6%. 18.4% had some ‘other reason’, didn’t know or refused. And 26.4% were ‘not interested’ or did not like the candidates. Only 6% had registration problems, and 2.6% forgot. Don’t forget.]

Monday, May 8 ~ BC. This final day of the BC election campaign saw BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver campaigning on Vancouver Island. Both of those parties hope to pick up seats from what has for a long time been an NDP stronghold.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan was taking the same tack, over on the mainland where he’s working to see the NDP grab seats in Surrey, Richmond and Delta. NDP ground-teams were out and about on Vancouver Island, taking voting reminder cards door to door.

This evening, Christy Clark will be joined by BC Liberal Fraser Valley candidates Simon Gibson, Darryl Plecas, Mike de Jong, John Martin, Laurie Throness, Mary Polak and Rich Coleman for a rally in Abbotsford.

To achieve a majority, one party will need to win at least 44 seats. There are 87 ridings in BC. A minority government could be formed by either major party (BC Liberal or BC NDP) that achieves fewer than 44 votes but can convince the Lieutenant Governor that they have the confidence of the House. That would likely mean the support of Andrew Weaver and the BC Greens.

Voting in the 41st BC General Election on May 9 will be open 8am to 8pm at all Voting Places throughout the province.

Monday, May 8 ~ Full results are in from the six days of Advance Voting in the BC provincial election. During those Advance Voting days, 614,389 registered voters cast their ballots, as reported by Elections BC. That’s a turnout of 19.46% (round up to 19.5%) — almost double the advance turnout seen in 2013.

Advance voting for this 2017 Provincial Election was held April 29 & 30, plus May 3 to 6, throughout BC. The full BC General Election is tomorrow on Tuesday, May 9.

Drilling down into action on this west side of Vancouver Island:

  • The advance voter turnout was 29.3% of registered voters in Esquimalt-Metchosin; in that riding BC Liberal candidate Barb Desjardins has name-factor recognition, up against the ground-game power of the BC NDP behind their candidate Mitzi Dean. The Greens are running a strong candidate in Andy MacKinnon.
  • The turnout was 24.3% in Langford-Juan de Fuca where the incumbent is BC NDP Leader John Horgan. The BC Liberals are running a tough race against Horgan, trying to unseat the NDP party leader in his own riding; fronting that is BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel. Also getting definitive local support — especially in the Sooke end of the riding — is BC Green Party Brendan Ralfs.

Leaders: The 24.3% advance vote draw in BC NDP Leader John Horgan’s riding (Langford-Juan de Fuca) was stronger than the 19% turnout in BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s riding of Kelowna West. Advance voter turnout was 24.7% in Andrew Weaver’s riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Some other ridings to watch:

  • On the mainland: In Vancouver-Point Grey where high-profile NDP candidate David Eby is running in Christy Clark’s previous riding, the advance turnout was almost 26%. In Kamloops-South Thompson where incumbent Todd Stone (Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure under Christy Clark) the advance turnout was just 16.8%.  In Vancouver-Mount Pleasant where incumbent Melanie Mark (BC’s first First Nations MLA) is running for the NDP, the advance turnout was 16.9%.
  • On Vancouver Island: Turnout was 26.7% in Saanich North and the Islands where one of the tightest three-way races is taking place (in 2013 it was in fact the tightest race in all of BC election records); Green Party candidate Adam Olsen is running there against NDP incumbent Gary Holman, with Stephen Roberts edging in for the BC Liberals. In Courtenay-Comox the turnout was high at almost 27%.  The Comox Valley riding has been held by the BC Liberals since 2001, but Don McRae, the MLA since 2009, is not running for re-election, instead the Liberal candidate is Jim Benninger a former base commander at Canadian Forces Base Comox. The Greens are running Ernie Sellentin who operates an environmental restoration company. The NDP are running 3-term Courtenay city councillor Ronna-Rae Leonard. The Conservative candidate is Leah McCulloch, who has worked in health care.

Getting out to vote: So with that 19.5% advance turnout last week, still now 80.5% of registered voters could still make their way to the polls on General Election Day, May 9. Will that include you?  Take along your Voter ID card. Or if you don’t have that card, be sure to take along two pieces of ID (with at least one showing your current home address).

Monday, May 8 ~ BC.  EDITORIAL.  Still undecided? Here’s a flavour of the current BC Government that a lot of people don’t see, but it indicates how people have been treated in this province by their own government.

People who pay their MSP premiums through payroll won’t see this, lucky you. But others who pay direct to the BC Government for their health care, will know… if you fall behind, you get the squeeze. Ending up in the worst of cases with a lien on your property, or action through your bank. Not seeing the reasons why people fall behind, and helping them back out with a fair economy… that’s the underlying problem.

In every other province in Canada the provision of health care is not handled in such a punitive manner. Payment for health care in other jurisdictions is done through the income tax system, in many provinces based on a sliding scale of ability to pay.

The BC NDP have a grasp on the punitive collection system of the privatized government of the past 16 years.

We’re not coming out with a full endorsement of any one party, but if you’re a single-issue voter, use this issue as your reason to back the BC NDP with your vote on May 9.

Sunday, May 7 ~ WEST SHORE.  Today Sunday May 7 there will be an Emergency Preparedness information fair, with displays, kids’ activities and prize draws. It runs from 11 am to 3 pm, at the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre’s Seniors Centre (behind the arena building) in Colwood.

Being prepared for major emergencies like floods, fire, wind storms, earthquakes and tsunamis is an important part of living in BC, particularly for those living in coastal areas and on Vancouver Island.


BC Green Party candidate Brendan Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca) at rally in Victoria May 6. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Saturday, May 6 ~ for SOOKE. BC Green Party candidate Brendan Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca) was one of several candidates who delivered speeches ahead of BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver at a BC Green Party Island Rally held in Victoria tonight at the Delta Ocean Pointe. The audience was about 400-strong, clearly the converted, eager to wave Green signage and cheer.

While self-professed as quite new to politics, the speech-without-notes that Ralfs delivered was eloquent. After getting past the obligatory ‘rah rah’ stuff at the start, he described his background as a forest firefighter in BC as a backdrop to saying that BC’s natural areas are “not just beautiful, they’re sublime”. That natural wilderness interface for Ralfs created in him a “fierce desire to protect our home”.

Ralfs has quickly learned to justify his move into politics. When he first signed up, some of his friends told him “we didn’t know you were a politician!” Ralfs says that “politics matters in BC, and that politics can change lives”. He seems imprinted with the power to change things: “People in politics have an obligation to change lives for the better — not just for the few or the majority or many, but for all, for everyone.” To this there was a rousing cheer and more waving of Green Party signs throughout the comfortably carpeted ballroom.

“People are exhausted with politics in BC being divided and divisive,” said Ralfs, proposing to conclude that voters, therefore, have only a single choice, and that’s Green.

The one-hour rally was broadcast on Facebook Live at

See more on the main page of this website

Saturday, May 6 ~ SOOKE. On this last weekend in the BC Election campaign, out here in the Sooke neck-of-the woods (part of Langford-Juan de Fuca), candidates are still out there mingling with the public.

BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel will be out at Village Foods, 11 am to 12 noon, something she had promoted for a few weeks ahead of time.

Some of the BC-NDP John Horgan team will be at The Stick in the Mud Coffee Shop in Sooke, 12 noon to 1:30 pm.  John Horgan’s wife Ellie Horgan and Horgan’s key riding organizer Ravi Parmar are there meeting with locally-engaged voters.

Green Party candidate Brendan Ralfs will be in various locations in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding today before heading to the Ocean Pointe in downtown Victoria for a Green rally at 6pm.

Friday, May 5 ~ BC.  In these last few days ahead of the May 9 general election, leaders of the three main parties are busy paying attention to any yet-unvisited sectors of their target voter base as well as visiting or re-visiting the ridings with tight races. And of course, finding precious-little time to romance the converted and keep them on track.

While every election is important, this one does plant BC at the precipice of a number of critical socioeconomic and environmental realities that require effective solutions.
The role of principled media during an election in an active democracy is to provide key insights from within the information overload, so that voters may be assisted in their voting choices.

We hereby present some thoughts about how things might work out, depending on which way you vote in the BC provincial election on May 9. Our three-part editorial starts with coverage on page 1, then splits out on page 2 this way:

  • The BC Liberals have been in power for 16 years now. / …
  • The BC NDP collective has been thirsting for ‘the top job’ for over 16 years now. / …
  • The BC Green Party has — until now — been one and the same as the face of their party leader and standalone MLA Andrew Weaver. / …

Read the full coverage in the May 5, 2017 “Election Eve Edition” of West Shore Voice News.

Friday, May 5 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. This is the last weekend of BC election campaigning, coming up May 6 and 7. Then on Monday, May 8 will be the last day of campaigning before the BC General Election on May 9.

Details on how to vote in the Advance Voting today and Saturday (May 5 & 6), and on election day May 9, are at: and locally on the EVENTS page of this website.

The Langford-Juan de Fuca race is one to watch, where BC NDP Party Leader John Horgan is the incumbent. The slate in that riding is: John Horgan (BC NDP Party Leader & incumbent); Cathy Noel (BC Liberal); Brendan Ralfs (BC Green); Willie Nelson (Vancouver Island Party); and Scott Burton (Libertarian). The area includes Highlands, Langford, Sooke and the Juan de Fuca area up to Port Renfrew. It’s the fast-growing area of BC (only Surrey on the mainland is growing faster), encompassing urban and rural.

The Esquimalt-Metchosin race is one to watch, this time without its long-time NDP incumbent and now a high-profile BC Liberal candidate. The slate in that riding is: Mitzi Dean (NDP); Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal); Andy MacKinnon (BC Green); Josh Steffler (Libertarian); Tyson Strandlund (Communist Party); and Delmar Martay (independent). The area has key transportation issues, as the area provides both employment and ‘bedroom community’ as well as rural lifestyles.

Wednesday, May 3.  As advance voting in the BC Election gets underway again today (May 3 to 6, 8am to 8 pm in all ridings), we can take a look at the trends from the first round of advance voting on the weekend of April 29 & 30.

On this west side of Vancouver Island:

  • Esquimalt-Metchosin brought in 4,226 votes last weekend (2,428 on Saturday and 1,798 on Sunday) out of a total number of 37,692 registered voters. That’s 11.2% of voters. Candidates in that riding are Mitzi Dean (BC NDP), Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal), Andy MacKinnon (BC Green), Josh Steffler (Libertarian), and Delmar Martay (independent).
  • Langford-Juan de Fuca (which includes Sooke) saw 3,722 votes last weekend (2,087 on Saturday and 1,635 on Sunday), out of a total of 39,176 registered voters. That’s a 9.5% advance poll turnout. Candidates in that riding are BC NDP Leader John Horgan, incumbent (NDP), Cathy Noel (BC Liberal), Brendan Ralfs (BC Green), and Willie Nelson (Vancouver Island Party).

The highest turnout on Vancouver Island April 29 & 30 was in Courtenay-Comox with 4,260 votes cast; Esquimalt-Metchosin came in a close second with 4,226; Parksville-Qualicum saw 4,018; Victoria-Beacon Hill logged in with 3,773 votes; and Langford-Juan de Fuca came in fifth with 3,722.

On the mainland, Vancouver-Fairview delivered 4,106 votes, Penticton delivered 4,029 advance votes, Vancouver-West End saw 4,007 votes cast, and Vancouver-Point Grey (where the NDP’s David Eby beat out Christy Clark in the 2013 election) logged in with 3,787 votes.

This is the first time that voting has been available on a Sunday, and in many ridings the turnout was strong on April 30, in some cases with most votes cast than on the Saturday. Most of the polling stations were open on those first two days; on the west shore only Gordon United Church (in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding) wasn’t available due to the Sunday factor.

It would seem that the ridings where party leaders are running are getting voters out with relatively equal strength. Premier Clark (BC Liberal leader) is running in Kelowna West, where 3,749 advance votes were cast this past weekend. In John Horgan’s (BC NDP Leader) riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca there were 3,722 votes cast. BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver is running Oak Bay-Gordon Head where 3,264 advance votes were cast April 29-30.

Advance voting results will be updated daily during this May 3 to 6 advance voting period.

All advance votes will be counted on the night of the general election Tuesday May 9. Any advance votes that are cast over the 28-day campaign at District Electoral Offices will be counted on May 22 in the home ridings for those votes. Final vote results will be provided by Elections BC on May 23.

VIRL staff and audience listened to architect introduce ideas for the new Sooke library, May 2 at Sooke Community Hall [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, May 2 ~ SOOKE. About 50 people turned out for the new Sooke Library info session at Sooke Community Hall tonight. The pubic-input exercise was hosted by staff and board chair of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL). Also there, in the audience, was Sooke Councillor Kerrie Reay who sits on the VIRL board.

Ideas and suggestions flowed non-stop from the audience in a casual manner for over an hour and a half. “It was more input than we expected,” said VIRL Executive Director Rosemary Bonnano after the crowd dispersed.

Suggestions ranged from the types of activities and activity spaces that might be offered in the new 10,000 sq ft library to providing enough parking and bicycle racks. While it was sort of a given that activity areas would be provided for children and teens, there was no mention about coordinating a space for seniors… though they are welcome to rent out a room for meetings or events, said Bonnano in a chat afterward with West Shore Voice News.

Although the architect was present, there were no drawings or schematics of the new library. That comes in about six weeks, at another meeting. This is asking the public to come out twice. But the library-user crowd is pretty committed, and will likely come out again to see a schematic that will be prepared by architect Danielle Pepin of the global architectural firm HDR CEI.

There is a tight window for Sooke residents to submit further ideas online. The survey link at is available for just two weeks… up to May 16. After that, the preliminary architectural design work begins in earnest.

A budget of up to $6 million of borrowed funds is available to VIRL to build the new 10,000 library, replacing the present service that is presently in 3,600 sq ft of leased space. While VIRL proposed the new space as extremely spacious, no doubt it will be quickly filled with collections (books, DVDs, etc), furniture, a computer user space, meeting rooms and other amenities. VIRL Chair Barry Avis seemed excited that the library is so large for a town the size of Sooke.

The library on one acre will take up about 20% of the “Lot A” land on Wadams Way (behind Evergreen Shopping Centre) that the District of Sooke purchased last year. As Sooke grows, the location can easily be considered to be within the ‘town centre’. There will be a walking trail from the new library to the commercial town core shopping area.

The new library is set to open its doors at the beginning of January 2019.

Local food service businesses provided the catering for tonight’s event, including The Stick and Little Vienna Bakery. The meeting started at 6:30 pm and wrapped up after 8 pm.

Among those participating from the audience were Lee Boyko of the Sooke Region Museum, long-time resident Doni Eve, and members of Zero Waste Sooke.

[West Shore Voice News photo May 2: VIRL staff and audience listened to architect Danielle Pepin introduce ideas for the new Sooke library, May 2 at Sooke Community Hall ]



Tuesday, May 2 ~ WEST SIDE of Vancouver Island. Advance voting starts up again in the morning throughout BC! Advance voting Places will be open 8 am to 8 pm for the next four days: May 3, 4, 5 and 6.

On the west side of Vancouver Island:

  • Advance Voting is available in Langford at Belmont Secondary School, Four Points Sheraton, and Gordon United Church.
  • Advance Voting places in Sooke are at SEAPARC Leisure Complex and Sooke Community Hall.
  • Advance Voting for Esquimalt-Metchosin is at Colwood Pentecostal Church, Esquimalt United Church, Metchosin Community Hall, Songhees Wellness Centre, View Royal Town Hall, and West Shore Parks & Rec.

Ballots cast during Advance Voting will be counted on election night, after the main ballot boxes are counted on general election night May 9.

In this 2017 election, Elections BC has been promoting “you have 28 days to vote”, without vigorously clarifying that votes cast at District Electoral Offices that are open daily for 28 days will be counted in their home ridings (on May 22) after the paper ballots are distributed to the 87 ridings around the province.

However, if you can’t make it to an Advance Voting Station during May 3-6, these DEO offices make it convenient to vote on May 7 and 8 (as well as on election day May 9):

  • District Electoral Office for Langford-Juan de Fuca is at 111-2787 Jacklin Road in Langford. Inquiries: 250-952-5014.
  • District Electoral Office for Esquimalt-Metchosin is at 3-1905 Sooke Road in Colwood. Inquiries: 250-952-4408.

[Photo by West Shore Voice News: Voting Place in the arena at West Shore Rec in Colwood]

Tuesday. May 2 ~ SOOKE.  A public consultation for a new Sooke Library on Wadams Way will be held tonight Tuesday, May 2 at Sooke Community Hall (2037 Shileds Rd). The consultation will include presentations from Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) staff and the project architect, and will provide opportunities for the public to contribute their ideas and have their questions answered.

The session will start at 6:30 pm and run to 8 pm. The public consultation is open to everyone. There will be light refreshments.
VIRL has approval from its board to borrow a maximum of $6 million towards all costs of site preparation and construction, with the goal of building a 10,000 sqft facility. That’s an expansion well beyond the size of the current library (just over 3,600 sqft in leased commercial space on Anna Marie Rd).

In 2016, the District of Sooke purchased five acres along Wadams Way (referred to as “Lot A”), of which about one acre will be used by VIRL upon which to construct the new library, including parking.

At the VIRL board on March 18, Sooke Councillor Kerrie Reay and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks were instrumental in helping to produce the required unanimous vote to finally approve the go-ahead for a new Sooke library.

The VIRL manager for the library in Sooke as well as the library in Port Renfrew is Adrienne Wass.


Tuesday, May 2 ~ BC.  Where you vote does count, for timing! Ballots cast at Advance Voting stations (April 29 & 30; May 3 to 6) will be counted on election night, after the main ballot boxes are counted, toward the May 9 general election night tally and results.

The Advance Voting places in Sooke are at SEAPARC Leisure Complex and Sooke Community Hall. Hours of voting are 8 am to 8 pm, still coming up May 3, 4, 5 and 6.

However, any votes cast at the District Electoral Office (one central office for each riding) will get counted on May 22, toward a final vote announcement on May 23.

In this 2017 election, Elections BC has been promoting “you have 28 days to vote”, without clarifying that votes cast at District Electoral Offices that are open daily for 28 days will be counted in their home ridings after the paper ballots are distributed to the 87 ridings around the province.

The District Electoral Office for Langford-Juan de Fuca is at 111-2787 Jacklin Road in Langford. Inquiries: 250-952-5014

Monday, May 1 ~ SOOKE. There will be a few items of business on the District of Sooke Committee of the Whole agenda this evening, May 1, starting 6pm. That includes presentations with public input following each of these items: Mouck Marine Energy Productions Ltd – illuminate the way; TELUS mural presentation by Drew Johnston; and an exemption sought for a property on West Coast Road.

Following that, at 7pm will be a Special Council Meeting, regarding Council approval of a payment of $270,500 to the Sooke Community Association from the Playing Field Reserve Fund for purposes of the first installment of the Turf Field Project.