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July 28. This weekend a significant historical exhibit will open in Sooke at the Charters River Interpretive Center at 2895 Sooke River Road in the picturesque Sooke hills. The Water Pipeline Exhibit (co-sponsored by the Sooke Region Museum) will open Saturday, August 1 and be open daily at 10am through to September 28. The exhibit illustrates the gigantic endeavour of bringing water from Sooke Lake to supply the City of Victoria, as built during 1911-1915. A manufacturing plant of the day produced 37,000 concrete sections. Admission is $3 for adults, free for children under 12.


July 27. The Sooke Fine Arts Show continues today 10 am to 7 pm (and through to August 4). Over 350 works of art (see list of accepted artists) were chosen by three jurors: Michelle Jacques (chief curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria), Celia Duthie (co-owner of Duthie Gallery on Saltspring Island), and Jeremy Herndl (painter; instructor at the Vancouver Island School of Art). Over $12,000 in awards were given to 18 artists at an award ceremony on Saturday night, July 26; about 500 people attended the show that evening.  A one-day pass to the show is $8, or a show pass is $15. Children under 12 get in free and must be accompanied by an adult.  On Tuesday July 29 (2-4pm) will be a children's afternoon --  $2 special admission for all ages after 2 pm; for children under 12 there will be crafts, activities, entertainment and prizes.  On Tuesday, July 29 (4-7pm) will be the Artz4Youth event with $2 special admission for all ages, as a chance to hear the next generation of talented young musicians, with performances beginning at 4 pm. On Thursday, July 31 (7-10pm) will be the highly popular Taste of Sooke for $15pp.  The annual art exhibit review of this show by Sooke Voice News ... to come in our August 1st print/PDF edition. The art exhibit is available to view daily 10 am to 7 pm, except on the final day August 4 when the doors closed at 5 pm. If you study every piece, it takes about 2 hours to tour the show.


July 26.  The locally-grown Thrifty Foods grocery store chain that was bought out by Sobey's several years ago, has abandoned its in-house Thrifty Foods points card system.  Starting September 10, only Air Miles will produce points for shopping at Thrifty stores. This is probably good news for most loyalty-card shoppers, as the Thrifty points card was probably one of the least 'rewarding' of many retail loyalty programs out there especially if compared to highly successful programs such as at Shoppers Drug Mart.  Anyone with a Thrifty Foods loyalty card who wishes to continue getting points at that grocery store must transfer over points to Air Miles, which can be done online.


July 25. The July 25th edition of Sooke Voice News is now online. Front page story about the July 20 homicide in Sooke.   Full list of 81 businesses and non-profits that received recognition certificates from the Communities and Bloom initiative -- see pg.1. Editorial as requested by firefighters -- should firefighters be called heroes? (see pg.2). Two questions are going to referendum on the Sooke municipal ballot in November 2014 (see pg.3 in July 25th edition) -- one about borrowing $1.5 million for construction of a community centre and the other about whether or not the community approves of (increased) oil tanker traffic on the coast.  You'd be surprised at the costs of just asking these questions, let alone the long-term ramifications (editorial coming in Aug 1st edition).


July 24. BC NDP health critic Judy Darcy says that investing more in midwifery in BC health system is a "smart investment for the government to make", as the Midwives Association of BC negotiates wages with the BC Government. Darcy says that the average stay in hospital to give birth is reduced by about 18 hours when a midwife is involved, and that the overall number of Caesarian-section surgeries drops by 42%.  The Midwives Association of BC hopes to increase the number of practising midwives and their wages before a deadline of October 7, 2014.  The department of family practice at UBC offers a 4-year bachelor of midwifery and recently doubled the number of students paces to 20 from 10.


July 24. The July 25th edition of Sooke Voice News is out one day early, in time for the Sooke Fine Arts Show!  The show's Purchaser's Preview Night is tonight, July 24, from 7 to 10 pm.


July 23. Sooke RCMP  has reported their arrest today of two Victoria adults -- a 31-year-old man and 22-year-old woman -- for possession of stolen property. RCMP had followed up on a 4:49am tip about a prowler and suspicious vehicle in a Sooke residential area this morning.  The arrest was made upon finding a stolen truck (gone missing from Saanich a week ago) loaded with stolen property including three mountain bikes, a motorcycle, a chainsaw, several cell phones and other electronics. A backpack with two replica handguns was located in the truck. "A quantity of methamphetamine was located as well as methamphetamine use paraphernalia. It appears the pair was actively involved in theft to sustain their methamphetamine addiction," says Sooke RCMP S/Sgt Jeff McArthur in a news release.  Photos of the stolen property (which has not yet been traced back to a legal owner) will be posted on the RCMP website on Friday, July 25.  Photo:  S/Sgt Jeff McArthur: Sooke Voice News 2014 file photo


July 23. NDP leader John Horgan established his first shadow cabinet today July 23 -- " a team that will work hard every day on behalf of the majority of British Columbians, who are being ignored and let down by the B.C. Liberal government," the Official Opposition stated in a news release today.  See list of shadow cabinet members.  “Community and business leaders are telling me they feel ignored by a BC Liberal government that is fixated on LNG—and the government is even failing to get real results on that,” said Horgan.  “Our spokespeople – including three new regional economic development advocates – will show British Columbians that it's New Democrats who will stand up for people and local economies. Horgan appointed a record number of women MLAs to economic portfolios and organized his caucus into two teams -- economic sector and communities.  “British Columbians should expect better from their government and my team will show them they can have better.” The shadow cabinet will be discussing its action plan for British Columbians at a two-day caucus meeting Thursday and Friday this week at the Oceanic Plaza in Vancouver. Chairs and vice chairs of the Economic Sectors and Stronger Communities teams will be elected at the meeting on Friday.

  July 23. Judges from the BC Communities in Bloom organization will be touring around Sooke today to assess this community on various levels including tidiness, environmental action, community involvement, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, turf and groundcovers.  For the full local story, see Local Breaking News.


July 23. Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne says that a hastily organized meeting of Council will be held this week, to hammer out the wording of the November 2014 referendum question to voters about long-term borrowing for building a community center.  The meeting is being held at 6 pm on Thursday, July 24 in Council chambers.  The fast-tracking of wording and approval by Council before the next Regular Council meeting is to meet a BC Government deadline of August 5.  At their July 21 Special Council Meeting, Sooke Council approved inclusion of a motion about oil tanker traffic on the November municipal ballot, as a form of public plebicite, even though the issue is not directly of municipal concern.


July 22. The BC Ministry of Agriculture has begun consultations with BC farmers to help farming families earn a better living and have more opportunities to use their land, says a government news release today. The consultations with farmers are to inform the drafting of regulations related to Bill 24 (regarding the Agricultural Land Reserve). Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick recently met in
Richmond with representatives from the BC Agriculture Council (BCAC), the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC)
to discuss the consultation process. Based on their feedback, 11 questions were identified as key areas for consultation. The 11 questions focus on identifying steps toward balancing the government's stated desire to protect valuable farmland and further support farming families and the farming sector.   In the coming weeks, senior ministry officials will host stakeholder
in each of the six regions of the province's Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Farmers and the public may review the discussion paper and submit their ideas by Aug. 22, 2014, at  or by postal mail to: ALR Reg Consultation, PO Box 9120
Stn. Provincial Government, Victoria BC, V8W 9B4.   Input from meetings and the web interface will be summarized, and presented by Letnick to the minister's reference group consisting of the BC Agriculture Council, UBCM and ALC representatives for further comment and discussion, before being presented to government for consideration.  These are the 11 questions in the consultation (for famers and the public):
* Should the parameters for allowable on-farm food storage, packing, processing and retail establishments be revised?
* Should breweries, distilleries and meaderies be allowed on ALR land on the same or similar terms as wineries and cideries are currently allowed?
* Should the allowable footprint for consumption areas (or lounges) ancillary to wineries and cideries (and potentially also breweries, distilleries and meaderies) be increased, and if so on what basis?
* To what extent should wineries and cideries (and potentially breweries, distilleries and meaderies) be allowed to sell alcohol that was produced
elsewhere in B.C., not at the winery or cidery?
* Should anaerobic digesters be permitted in the ALR if the inputs are generated from farming activities?
* Should on-farm cogeneration facilities be permitted on farms where a portion of the energy created is used on-farm?
* Should the parameters be expanded for when non-agriculture related businesses are allowed to operate on ALR properties in Zone 2?
* Should the subdivision of ALR properties in Zone 2 to a minimum parcel size of a quarter section be allowed without an application to the ALC?
* Should greater clarity be provided on what constitutes an agri-tourism activity that is allowable in the ALR without an application?
* Should the subdivision of ALR parcels in Zone 2 that are of a defined size, and that are divided by a major highway or waterway, be allowed without an application to the ALC?
* Should temporary leases of portions of a property in Zone 2 of the ALR be allowed without an application to the ALC for:  (a) intergenerational transfer of an active farm or ranch operation; and/or (b) to encourage the use of otherwise unfarmed land by existing or new


July 21. [UPDATED July 22] The 'suspicious' death of a woman found in her Sooke home yesterday, is being investigated by the RCMP's Integrated Major Crime Unit. Pamella Dyer, 64, of 2227 French Road North was found dead around 2 pm on Sunday July 20 -- found by a friend who dropped by to see if she was alright. Sooke RCMP's Detachment Commander Jeff McArthur and pretty much all of his officers have been to the scene. "Some are kind of rattled," says McArthur, saying many of his officers knew the deceased.  Sooke RCMP are working collaboratively with the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, says McArthur, who has handled about 12 homicides in his career.   As of 2 pm July 21, and no one was in custody (related to this event), says McArthur. Pam Dyer had lived in her home for 25 years and was well known in the community, particularly through her work at the Sooke Legion.  The adult son of the deceased was arrested on unrelated charges. No charges have been laid yet in what RCMP appear to believe is a homicide.


July 21.  The Transition Town Sooke Society will pitch to have Sooke Council put a referendum question on the November 2014 ballot asking the public about opposition to the expansion of oil tanker traffic through coastal BC waters. That and other items on the July 21, 2014 agenda of District of Sooke Council, on the local breaking news page.


July 20. BC Parks day was an opportunity yesterday for the BC Ministry of Environment to remind British Columbians about the 1,029 parks and protected areas in BC.  Since 2004, BC's protected areas system has increased by more than 3.2 million hectares. This includes designating some existing areas (more than 500,000 hectares) to Class A parks and conservancies, for an increased level of protection. Over 20 million people visit BC parks each year.


July 19.  The BC Government expects one million job openings in BC "created by retirements and our growing economy", they said in a news release yesterday from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.  Meanwhile, the hiring of students for summer jobs continues with a poor record for the sixth year in a row since the Great Recession of 2008. The Stats Canada Labour Force Survey shows an unemployment rate for full-time students (age 15-24) was 16.5% in June, down from 18.3% in May.   These figures are about one-third higher than pre-recession levels for the same May-June period.


July 18. The July 18th edition of Sooke Voice News is now online.


July 16.  "The majority of the tabled surplus is actually a result of the BC Liberal government gouging BC families with increased fees and licensing costs," said the BC NDP yesterday in a news release upon release of the BC government's 2013-2014 Public Accounts on July 15 which shows that 86% or $303 million of the $353 million surplus was derived by an "increase in fees and licences", says Finance critic Mike Farnworth. "This government says they are bringing in a modest surplus, but it's the result of charging hard-working British Columbians more for things like Medical Service Premiums," he was quoted as saying.  This year MSP premiums went up 4%, ferry fares increased in January (fuel tax) and again at April 1st, and BC Hydro rates began a 5-year climb of 28% on April 1, 2014 with a 9% hike.


July 15. Stuff that happened at District of Sooke Council last night:  Zoning, grants, street-naming and more. See details on the Sooke LOCAL Breaking News page.


July 14. The Fire Danger rating has been Extreme since Friday afternoon (July 11) in Sooke, after Sooke Fire Rescue Chief Steve Sorensen reviewed the CRD watershed report.  There has not been a lot of precipitation in the Sooke area for the last few weeks. Great care should be taken with properly extinguishing small campfires; no backyard burning is allowed until fall.   Cigarette butts that have not been properly extinguished have been the cause of seven fires in the District of Sooke area this year so far, says Sorensen. In 2013 there were 16 cigarette butt-related fires.


July 13.  Free concert in Sooke today at Ed Macgregor Park. Gates open 1pm, music by Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra and friends, at 2:30pm.  This year there will also be a magic show!  Food concessions on site. Wear sun protection (open field area).


July 13.  Crowds converged on Colwood (folks of all ages) for the last two days, and again today (gates opened at noon), for the outdoor Rock the Shores concert. Today and into tonight (to 10 pm) the performance lineup includes:   12:45 FLASH LIGHTNIN |  1:45 THE STANFIELDS | 2:45 JULY TALK | 3:55 KONGOS | 5:25 LOVERBOY | 6:50 MOTHER MOTHER | 8:25 OUR LADY PEACE   [Photo by Catherine Brooke for Sooke Voice News]


July 12. The Fire Danger rating was High in the Otter Point area today, and yesterday afternoon in Sooke the Fire Danger rating was pushed to Extreme, based on the CRD watershed report.


July 12.  A man who was seriously injured after falling over a cliff at Sooke Potholes around noon today was rescued by Sooke Fire Rescue firefighters in a "difficult and technical rescue," says Sooke Fire Rescue Chief Steve Sorensen. It took 15 firefighters about 2.5 hours to execute the rescue that included loading the seriously injured young man into a basket stretcher then up and across difficult terrain then across the river on a ladder then onto a rope and pulley system, up the cliff to the trail and the ambulance. An off-duty nurse who was at the Potholes provided CPR until paramedics arrived. The rescue was called in right in the middle of a neighbourhood appreciation day at which firefighters were socializing with about 200 local folks in the Sunriver Estates area. Support services volunteers carried on, as fire rescue volunteers took off in their trucks with sirens on. Photo by Sooke Fire Rescue Chief Steve Sorensen.


July 12. Today in Sooke ... Sooke firefighters neighbourhood appreciation day on Saturday, July 12 at Sunriver Estates sales parking lot on Sunriver Way ~ 11 am to 2 pm. Bounce house, fire trucks, and BBQ with hot dots and burgers. Sooke needs more volunteer firefighters, and this year has decided to start paying a $1,000 per annum stipend to volunteers if certain eligibilities are achieved. See article page 1 in July 11 Sooke Voice News.


July 11.  Greater Victoria is really put on the map with Rock the Shores, in the lower fields at Juan de Fuca Rec Centre in Colwood, July 11 through 13.  Open 12pm-10pm daily. It's an all-ages event, however, children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult; up to two children per accompanying adult, and appropriate ear protection must be provided for children. There is no re-entry permitted; once you leave the premises, you will be unable to re-enter that same day. All bags subject to search upon entry at the discretion of security personnel. Animals not allowed, and no drugs, alcohol, knives or weapons of any kind.  Info:


July 11. July 11, 2014 edition of Sooke Voice News is now online. BC NDP leader John Horgan is settled in at his legislative office, now touring BC to meet voters.  Sooke needs more volunteer firefighters, and now provides an annual stipend of $1,000 if they meet eligibility criteria.  Communities in Bloom judges will be in Sooke July 22-24, for several events and activities.  Vancouver Island Voice News has a Kickstarter pledge campaign underway, and the idea is catching on; ads at great rates by pledging before August 4, 2014.


July 10.  BC NDP Leader John Horgan is off for an informal BC-interior tour the next few days, including the Cariboo, Kamloops and the Okanagan.  He wants to meet voters in areas where the NDP did not win seats in 2013, to listen to people's views about the economy and what's needed to move the BC economy along. [Photo: BC NDP Leader John Horgan on a summer day in his legislative office]


July 9.  The Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL)  is holding a Name the Whale Contest for children ages 6 to 12, to help the library board name "their newest staff member" -- an orca mascot who starts full-time this month.  The contest runs from July 4 to August 16. Youth can enter the contest by filling out a contest entry form and handing it in at any local Vancouver Island Regional Library branch. Contest forms are available at any VIRL branch and online at  . Multiple entries ok.  The winner (chosen by a committee) will receive a special prize and certificate, announced in September.  A parent’s signature is required for entry into the contest.


July 9. This evening Wednesday, July 9  from 4 to 7pm (at the CASA building, 2145 Townsend Road) the public in Sooke will have a chance to provide input on the District of Sooke's plans to proceed with construction of a community center.   Apparently everything is still in the planning stage, and public input can still make a difference at this point. A recent bulletin says "we will be creating a visual to determine square footage requirements for the centre". The input sessions (this is the third of three) have been carried out by the Sooke Region Community Health Initiative (CHI) group under the direction of Marlene Barry and Ebony Logins, who sent out a survey announcement by email last week. The public can supply input at  Last month Sooke Council passed a motion to have a question on the November 2014 ballot, which will ask Sooke voters for permission to undertake long-term borrowing for construction of a community center. If such a building project proceeds, it would very likely be in coordination with the Vancouver Island Library Board's intention to build a new library building in Sooke.  The District of Sooke has already budgeted $50,000 per year (for the next five years) for the design and operation of a community center; the long-term borrowing would be for construction.  There was some discussion at the June 23 council meeting as t whether an existing building (such as Sooke Community Hall or the Sooke Legion) could be renovated, instead of embarking on a costly new-building project.


July 8. Two motor vehicle incidents (MVI's) were handled in two days -- one yesterday and one today -- by the Sooke Fire Rescue Service.   On Monday July 7 on Sooke Road at Goodridge Road [see photo ~ by Steve Sorensen], a pickup truck drove into the back of a second truck that had stopped while a car in front waited to turn. No injuries, says Sooke Fire Rescue Chief Sorensen, who says eight firefighters were on the scene.   Today July 8 in the 17-Mile stretch of Sooke Road (Hwy 14), there was a two-car head-on crash when one vehicle crossed the central lane. There were minor injuries. Six firefighters attended. "There was significant damage to all four vehicles -- three of them might be write-offs," said Sorensen.


July 8. What a show! About 20 minutes of flashes, loud booms, and the crackles of fireworks. This year's Canada Day fireworks show after dusk son July 1 was again orchestrated by the Sooke Fire Rescue Service, involving the work of Sooke Fire Chief Steve Sorensen five helpers. "The show averages about eight hours of work including prep, set-up, loading, shooting and cleanup," said Sorensen this week. The cost of the show is $3,000, with $2,000 of that from the District of Sooke and $1,000 from Heritage Canada.  About 1,000 people came out to see the show on Tuesday night, July 1, lining up along the Sooke River Bridge, and gathering on both sides of the bridge. The show could be seen for quite a distance. [Photo: supplied by Sooke Fire Chief Steve Sorensen]


July 7. Mainstream media is going through massive shifts, and in 'the cracks' we're seeing the emergency of independent media.  This newspaper Sooke Voice News is expanding island-wide, to capture and convey that same sense of bringing readers the views and news of people who are part of the socio-economic paradigm shift of this decade.  As the editor-in-chief of Vancouver Island Voice News, Mary Brooke is spearheading the movement of the 'radical middle' ... where we have socio-economic stability but also move forward with active progressive change.   Mary Brooke will be on Gorilla Radio today on CFUV at 5 pm live, to discuss all this and more with show host Chris Cook.  The half-hour segment will be archived at .  Pledges can be made to the launch of Vancouver Island Voice News on Kickstarter, deadline Aug.4. Pledges get rewards such as subscriptions, ads, and an online column for your own views.   The Vancouver Island Voice News info-stream can presently be followed on Twitter @VancIsVOICENews


July 4. The July 4th Print/PDF edition of Sooke Voice News is now online.  Cover stories include coverage of the July 1st Canada Day festivities in Sooke, and also Randall Garrison's success in pushing for the renaming of his federal riding (has been Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca) to now be Equimalt-Saanich-Sooke. Vancouver Island to soon see 'free press' news (see pg.1). Councillor Herb Haldane says he's running for Mayor in the fall 2014 municipal election. Real estate showing strength throughout Greater Victoria (in May and June). Ayre Manor owners now run their own show.


July 4. A proposed strategy to help improve the financial literacy of Canadians was announced on June 17 by Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson and Minister of State (Seniors) Alice Wong together with Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader Jane Rooney.   Recognizing the unique and often significant challenges faced by near and current seniors, a first phase of consultations will focus on seniors. Additional phases will follow with an emphasis on low-income Canadians, Aboriginal peoples, newcomers to Canada, then children, youth and adults. The proposed blueprint called Toward a National Strategy for Financial Literacy – Phase 1: Strengthening Seniors’ Financial Literacy, is intended to encourage discussion and invites comments from all Canadians on ways to bolster the financial literacy of seniors and those approaching this phase of their lives. The PDF document can be downloaded: [click on National Strategy - Development and consultations to get to the PDF] Stakeholders from the public, private and non-profit sector will take part in in-person sessions across the country. All Canadians are encouraged to submit comments on the blueprint by email to by July 15, 2014, or by postal mail to: Ms. Jane Rooney, Financial Literacy Leader, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, 427 Laurier Ave West, 6th Floor, Ottawa, ON K1R 1B9

July 3. Eligible environmental non-profit organizations can apply now for a BC community gaming grant -- application deadline August 31, 2014.  In 2013-2014 over 90 eligible environmental groups shared $3,089,215 in approved grants.


July 3. A new technology park will be officially opened in Nanaimo tomorrow, as announced by the BC Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services today. One of the companies there is a underwater robotics co-venture with NASA.


July 2. Back-and-forth between BC Government and BC Teachers Federation has not relaxed the gridlock. Teachers are still on strike throughout the province. News conferences were held today by both BC Education Minister Peter Fassbender and BCTF president Jim Iker. A mediator -- as asked for by both parties -- said that mediation would not help at this point.


July 2.  Fishing line strung across Hull Road at Jenkins Ave in Langford on June 29 did not result in any injuries, says West Shore RCMP.  While investigating at the incident location, another person reported they too had located and removed fishing line strung across the road near the roundabout on Glen Lake Road at Alouette Drive. Police located over 100 feet of fishing line that had been removed from Glen Lake Road.


July 2. District of Sooke Councillor Herb Haldane is running for Mayor in the November 2014 elections, he has announced today. Haldane has served two terms on Council (2008-2011, 2011-2014) and in that time has evolved as a thoughtful voice on behalf of the average guy, the hard-working family, the people who just want Sooke to be a great place to live.


July 2.  District of Sooke property taxes are due today. 250-642-1634 | 


July 1. Randall Garrison, MP has achieved a significant accomplishment in being the force behind changing the electoral area name changed from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca to Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.  The new riding name, announced in the last few days (and locally at the Sooke Canada Day official opening ceremony today) is more descriptive of the area its MP represents, and any voting-related confusion with the provincial Juan de Fuca riding is now eliminated. Garrison is serving his first term as MP (2011-2015) for a riding that spans from parts of Saanich in the main part of Victoria, through Esquimalt (including the DND interests there) all the way through Sooke out to Port Renfrew. The House of Commons is now on summer recess. [Photo: Randall Garrison, MP at Sooke Canada Day, Copyright 2014 Sooke Voice News]


July 1 (4 pm). The cake has been cut, the kids have been outdoors playing for a while, the music is on, and fireworks are coming up around 10:30 pm -- all for Sooke Canada Day at Sooke Flats today! On stage at the opening ceremony at 1 pm, Randall Garrison, MP was excited to announce that his hard work has paid off, for the renaming of his Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca electoral area as Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke... which is more descriptive of the area, and removes confusion with the BC provincial riding of Juan de Fuca.  John Horgan, MLA -- there for the festivities with his wife Ellie, wished everyone a fun day in the sun!  Mike Hicks said local MLA John Horgan could well be the next premier of BC, in his short speech! Mayor Wendal Milne thanked the Sooke Lions for taking on organization of the event which is probably the largest Sooke-area gathering of the entire year.  VIPs cut the Canada Day Cake for Canada's 147th birthday (a slab cake producing about 400 pieces of cake, baked by Western Foods). The on-stage speeches were emceed by Brenda Parkinson who chairs the Mayor's Advisory Panel on Arts & Beautification.  The Otter Point Fire Service had their water-pump trucks out, for blasts of water fun. The Sooke Fire Department had out their bouncy house and ladder truck.  Live music, a paint ball tent and many other activities were going on.  A couple of dozen vendors had their wares out for sale.  There from the District of Sooke Council were Councillors Rick Kasper, Kerrie Reay and Kevin Pearson.  Last year the event was organized by Gord Doucette of Serious Coffee and previous to that (for 16 years) the Sooke Canada Day event was organized by Judithe Ann Gatto who celebrates her 65th birthday today! [Story and photos by Sooke Voice News, Copyright 2014] 


Canada Day Sooke 2013 - Copyright 2013 Sooke Voice News July 1. Happy Canada Day! Big festivities at the Sooke campgrounds today, Tuesday July 1. Official parade at 1 pm (including these VIPs, from left in photo - 2013 Copyright Sooke Voice News): Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne, Mike Hicks - Juan de Fuca Electoral Director, John Horgan, MLA; Randall Garrison MP), then cake, kids activities, food concessions, livemusic from 4 pm and fireworks at dusk. This year the event has been organized by the Sooke Lions Club. Fireworks start time has been posted by organizers as 10:30 pm.


July 1.  Today July 1, 2014, the new federal anti-spam law comes into effect.  Users of email may have noticed opt-in requests from the various companies and organizations from which they receive email promos and announcements. Persons must now opt-in to any email streams to receive from businesses, organizations, community services, and anyone who sends bulk email messaging, although if you are deemed to have an established business relationship with a company or organization (e.g. utility, municipality, community organization) you may have already been deemed 'opted-in' without having to officially say so.  Many businesses and organizations have been undertaking a massive amount of digital re-organization in order to accommodate the new law.  The new law is intended to reduce unsolicited 'spam' email messages that promote unwanted products or services, take up a lot of bandwidth, cost companies time to manage the load of unwanted email, and may often also delivered spyware and viruses to user computer systems.


June 30. Premier Christy Clark has issued a statement for Canada Day. "Today is a great day to get together with friends and family to celebrate our great nation. It's an opportunity to reflect on our good fortune to call this free, prosperous, and vibrant country home.  And it's a chance to thank the men and women whose vision and hard work continue to make this country better. To the people who deliver the services we depend on, to those who keep us safe, to the athletes and artists who make us proud to wear the maple leaf - thank you for everything you do."


 June 30 (updated July 2 with RCMP file info).  There was a motor vehicle accident -- single car into a pole -- on the 4-lane section of Hwy 14 (3700-block of Sooke Road) yesterday June 29 around 4:30 pm. "A vehicle traveling eastbound went off the road, striking a telephone pole and landed in the ditch," says Cpl Kathy Rochlitz, West Shore RCMP. "The vehicle then caught fire." Fire hazard conditions were moderate to high that day. All three occupants of the vehicle were assisted out by a passerby. The three occupants were transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  The telephone pole was sheared off by the impact from the vehicle. Power was out for about 2,126 Metchosin/Langford residents from about 4:30 pm to 7:25 pm, and repairs to the pole were still being done late into the evening (photo taken at 9:45 pm by SVN). Traffic was backed up and rerouted for a few hours after the impact. West Shore RCMP says the investigation remains open to determine the cause of the accident.


June 27-29: Check for weekend news updates on our Twitter stream, which is posted in real-time on our Sooke Voice News home page.


June 27. The June 27 Canada Day edition of Sooke Voice News includes: Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne has announced that he is not seeking re-election this fall, and that sidewalk improvements will be made in  Sooke town center starting mid-September. The Sooke public boat launch now has user-pay fees for the boat and the parking.  On the municipal ballot this fall will be a question asking Sooke taxpayers if they would like to authorize five years of funding for a joint library-community center.  Sooke town center development and businesses are now subject to design guidelines.


June 26 [Updated July 23, 2014].  Sooke Voice News is expanding to create an island-wide community newspaper, using a crowd-source funding project with a deadline of August 17. Supporters of independent media everywhere are invited to make pledges to the Vancouver Island Voice (VIV) News website on the Kickstarter creative projects website. Crowd-source funding is a new concept to many people. It's a creative way of coming up with business investment capital without having to reply on banks. The only arbitrator is public consensus.   VIV will be the voice of islanders. While having a strong editorial team at the helm, VIV will welcome input from all regions of Vancouver Island, on a wide range of topics with the empowerment and well-being of islanders in mind: politics, economy, food sustainability, emergency preparedness, health, the arts, and more.   The project has been spearheaded by editor/publisher Mary Brooke who has been publishing and editing news about the Sooke area since she started MapleLine Magazine in 2008 which later morphed in 2011 into the now well-honed Sooke Voice News weekly and online newspaper. Of local note, the first pledge to the VIV venture was made yesterday by Transition Sooke president Jeff Bateman. Sooke businesses and organizations are invited to explore great ad-buy (rewards) within the pledge system.  The information is within the Kickstarter website where you pay online. Pledge payments are only processed if the total funding goal of the VIV project is met or surpassed by August 17, 2014.  The goal is $2,500 -- or greater if more pledges than $2,500 come in (from which Kickstarter takes a brokerage fee).


June 25.  After the BCTF today announced their intention to strike into the summer (if negotiations with the government are not successful by June 30), BC Education Minister Peter Fassbender made the expected sort of reply about being disappointed at the BCTF action, while saying it won't make the provincial government budge: "It is unfortunate that the BCTF leadership decided to strike summer school. Their decision today will impact thousands of students and it will do little to bring the parties closer to agreement," said Education Minister Peter Fassbender.  The BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) has an application before the Labour Relations Board to deem some aspects of summer school an essential service, but this would "only partially mitigate the impacts from the BCTF's strike", Fassbender said in a news release around 3:30 pm today. The Education Minister said that the best possible deal for BCTF is "one that falls squarely within the same affordability zone as all the other public sector agreements that have been reached to date". While BCTF has called for a mediator to settle the strike, Fassbender says a mediator "will not shake loose hundreds of millions of dollars that we simply do not have".


June 25. BC Teachers will continue their strike into summer, if 'fair settlement' not achieved by June 30, said BCTF president Jim Iker today. BCTF feels the two sides are not far apart on wage issues, but there are other larger funds that the government obviously feels it cannot afford.  BCTF is starting to articulate that having a large number of special-needs students in classrooms is making it difficult to teachers to meet the learning needs of all students in their classrooms.  Continual under-funding and flatline budgets are the problem, Iker says. "Let's stop playing politics," Iker said with reference to Premier Christy Clark. "It's not about power, it's about our students' future, our members' working conditions, and yes it's about wages. There needs to be a will, and let's have it better for our students come September."


June 23.  The full-scale BC teachers strike is having an impact on the composition and  marking of some provincial exams. The BC Ministry of Education has sent a letter to school superintendents saying that one essay question has been removed from the Grade 10 English exam. Students writing the Grade 11 Social Studies exam will not have to write two essay questions. The letter dated June 23 indicates the decision was made after concerns were raised by superintendents over the quality of their being the ones to mark these exams. These two exams account for 65,000 of the 70,000 exams marked this session.


June 22District of Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne says he is not seeking re-election in the upcoming November 2014 municipal elections. Another term would be four years long, and "for a number of personal reasons" is choosing not to run for a second term.  In a letter issued to media this evening, Mayor Milne says "The job of Mayor is not without its frustrations" and that while he says the experience has been rewarding, he has made his decision "with a great deal of reservation and soul-searching."  Read full letter here.



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"You have a wonderful, factual newspaper. It serves a great service."  ~ Marion McLellan, Sooke (July 2014)

"Great edition once again (SVN May 16, 2014). Thanks for all the useful and newsworthy articles. The Sooke Voice News is a great way to keep up with what is going on. Thanks for what you do."  ~ Michael Galizio, president, Sheringham Point Lighthouse Society (May 2014)

"After reading your news, it amazes me that your newspaper is so full of information about events and people here. Thank you!" ~ Judithe Ann Gatto, Sooke (Oct.2013) 

"I know by experience how hard it is to have a business in Sooke. I want to congratulate you for your perseverance and hard work. You are doing good."  ~ Margarita Dominguez, Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (Oct.2013)

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Sooke Voice News [ISSN 1925-2722] is an independent newspaper and online news service published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc, a BC company that is committed to quality news service, in support of a knowledge-based economy. Through news coverage we inform the community and through advertising opportunities we help support the marketing efforts of businesses and community organizations in Sooke.  We appreciate the support we receive from many leaders in business and the community in the form of subscriptions, sponsorships and advertisements.




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