Regional & national BREAKING NEWS: April 2014 | Today's Tweets reposted live!

A view to the world, from Sooke. News & views that 'put it all together' for inquisitive readers. Click on CURRENT EDITION for full colour 'print' edition.



  See today's Tweets for on-the-beat news updates.   See CURRENT EDITION for this week's 4-page colour print edition (full PDF).  

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Regional & national breaking news  



April 24. Target Benefit Plans (TBPs) as a flexible pension option for the private sector and Crown Corporations was announced by federal Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson today in Ottawa.   The new voluntary option would "help ensure that effective, sustainable pension options are available to Canadians who work in the federally regulated private sector or Crown corporations," a news release explained today. There are currently 1,234 federally regulated pension plans in Canada.


April 24. Testing out his Ferrari? A 49-year-old man with a young child in the car was caught going 101 kph above the posted 80 kph speed limit in Langley on April 19, says Langley RCMP.  The violation ticket cost the driver $483 and the vehicle was impounded for seven days.  [Generic photo from Internet]


April 23. BC Lt Gov Judith Guichon set sail on a DND ship this morning under clear skies to see various areas around the northern part of Vancouver Island -- her first-ever trip on a large vessel (for four days), only to be in the region of a 6.7 Magnitude earth quake off Port Hardy this evening. At least two aftershocks were recorded off the west coast of the island at 8:10 pm (about 85 lm west of Port Hardy and 10 km deep).


April 22.  "BC has a deserved reputation as a climate action leader," says Environment Minister Mary Polak. "Earth Day is a time to not only reflect on and appreciate British Columbia's natural splendour, but to also consider the role we want our province to take in the global climate challenge." "Our government is choosing the path of continued climate leadership and environmental stewardship, but in the context of a strong and growing economy," she said in a media release today.


April 22.  Today is Earth Day.  What a great day to give Mother Nature a big hug for keeping us still thriving on this planet that we abuse daily. Make a 'new year's' resolution to recycle more, start or expand your kitchen scraps compost system, cut back on your garbage pickup service, or find new ways to reduce gasoline fuel emissions in your lifestyle.


April 21.  Today on Easter Monday the BC Government's Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation announced the funding level for dental programs for low-income children and adults for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Nineteen clinics have received $4,000 each, for a total of $76,000.  The other $20,000 is going to the BC Dental Association's Save a Smile Program that provides urgent dental care to low-income families without public or private dental plan coverage.


April 21. Tomorrow, Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver will be the guest speaker at a lunch hosted by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.  This is only days after the state funeral of the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.


April 21. The highly popular Fan Expo cosplay event ran for three days at the Vancouver Convention Center in downtown Vancouver this Easter long weekend. Participants go to great lengths to present themselves as fantasy characters -- utilizing hair, makeup, costume design and a lot of imagination. And of course, there are a lot of selfies!  Various well-known actors from such films as Harry Potter (series) and Lord of the Rings showed up this year in Vancouver to provide autographs.


April 20. The annual 420 gathering drew a crowd of thousands in downtown Vancouver today, April 20. Several downtown streets were blocked to traffic surrounding the Vancouver Art Gallery location of the event. Vendors, buyers and seekers, as well as the homeless and a lot of police on bikes, motorcycle and on foot, and some air thick with smoke were all part of the mix.


April 18-20. Easter Long Weekend.  Check for news updates on Twitter @SookeVoiceNews (also posted on the main page of this website). | See the April 18th Easter Weekend Edition of Sooke Voice News


April 17.  Canada is sending six fighter jets into the Ukraine region with Prime Minister Harper's blessing, as Russia's "we want it, we take it" approach continues to escalate under Putin.


April 16. The state funeral for Jim Flaherty was as upbeat as such an affair can be. Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave a moving speech, both personal and political. "As a human being, he was the complete package," Harper said of his friend and colleague.   The sea of 600 people in the church (St James Cathedral in Toronto) wore green scarves and ties to show their respect for the late Finance Minister who is credited with saving Canada from the worst possible ravages of the economic crash in 2008-2009 and guiding the Canadian economy through recovering in 2010-2013 as well as showing global leadership in economic management. Flaherty was 64 when he died last week of a massive heart attack after a few years of failing health while on the job as Canada's Finance Minister with the Conservative majority government.


April 15. BC NDP leadership candidate John Horgan is in Chilliwack today to host a luncheon at Coffee Plus with about 50 NDP supporters and unveil more endorsements, which today now includes 2013 Chilliwack NDP candidate Patti MacAhonic and former Chilliwack-Hope NDP MLA Gwen O'Mahony coming on board.  In an exclusive phone interview with Sooke Voice News this morning Horgan says he'll be criss-crossing BC over the coming weeks, gathering support in suburban and rural areas. As currently the only candidate in his party's leadership race, Horgan says that -- if he still at May 1 the only contender -- he will know shortly after 5 pm that day if he has achieved the leadership. "I'll be travelling even more after May 1st," John Horgan says. "I understand suburban issues. Commuting and having child care in place are important to families. I get that. "  Horgan plans to make room for younger people in his caucus. He says he will continue to work hard for broad support from private and public sector unions. He is also concerned about the falsehoods in Premier Clark's jobs training claims, pointing out that instructors are being laid off at at least two BC post-secondary institutions (North Island College and New Caledonia).  Horgan's campaign can be tracked at  


April 14. BC NDP leadership candidate John Horgan will be in Chilliwack tomorrow April 15 to host a luncheon with NDP members and unveil endorsements and then later at 7 pm in Kamloops to meet with his outreach team and talk to residents.


April 12.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper has authorized a state funeral for his friend and former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (Flaherty in photo, 2007, shortly after taking on the office of Finance Minister with the Harper Conservative government). The funeral will be held on Wednesday April 16 in Toronto. Coverage on Flaherty in the April 11th edition of Sooke Voice News (front page, and editorial). Also see Flaherty: a different kind of finance minister on pg.2 in the Feb.14, 2014 edition of Sooke Voice News. The funeral service will be held at 3pm on Wednesday, April 16, at St. James' Cathedral, 65 Church St, Toronto. Mr. Flaherty's family appreciates all the expressions of support and condolences and asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Abilities Centre To convey condolences to Mr. Flaherty's family, visit .

April 11.  The April 11th edition of Sooke Voice News is now online. Front page story on the passing of Jim Flaherty after he retired only three weeks ago.   Also front page story on the proposed fees for use of the Sooke public boat launch at the Prestige Hotel.   Summary of Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce award winners also on page 1, including notable quotes from some of the award winners. Page 2: BC has launched a Women's Economic Council which will meet frequently (at least quarterly); Premier Christy Clark will attend once a year.


April 11.  Premier Christy Clark has announced her intention for Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick to be sworn in as Minister of Agriculture later this afternoon by Her Honour, Lt Gov Judith Guichon. "The protection of farmland and support for farming families is a priority for this government, and Norm brings a wealth of experience as a former Minister of Agriculture," Premier Clark said in a new release this morning.


April 11.  BC NDP leadership candidate John Horgan issued a release today, saying his team is further strengthened by the endorsement of NDP MP Nathan Cullen. "John believes in good resource jobs that respect the planet and benefit local communities, and he can connect with NDP in any part of the province," said Cullen in the Horgan team release today.   Photos: Nathan Cullen (left), John Horgan


April 10. Kitchen scrap processing has been awarded in the short term to Emterra Environmental of Nanaimo for the period April 2014 to December 2015. This is to primarily ensure that kitchen scrap materials collected by municipalities and private haulers will remain out of the landfill, CRD said today in a news release. CRD is still moving forward with a long-term option to undertake an RFP process to identify a processing facility in proximity to the Greater Victoria region. A disincentive of a 20% surcharge (originally proposed for 2014, to be charged to municipalities and private haulers who deliver kitchen scraps in their garbage deliveries to Hartland Landfill) has now been delayed by CRD.  A ban on disposing kitchen scraps in the landfill remains in place for January 2014.


April 10. Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has died at his home in Ottawa today. He was 64. His wife and family said in a release that he died peacefully.  CBC News is reporting the cause of death as a heart attack. Flaherty resigned from his position as Finance Minister only last month, saying he wanted to return to the private sector and spend more time with his family. History will show that it was the steady hand of Flaherty at the economic helm of Canada that kept this country afloat during the 2008-2013 recession. Always the happy Irishman, wearing his green ties, Flaherty's sudden death rocked Ottawa and the nation. The House of Commons adjourned for the day.   In BC, Premier Christy Clark said in a news release: "I was shocked and saddened to hear that Jim Flaherty has passed away. This is a terrible loss for our country. Jim was a great leader and Canadian. He served with distinction in both provincial and federal politics, and made a difference in both. Under his watch, Canada returned to stability and balanced budgets."


April 10. The right-turn lane from Admirals Road onto Craigflower (heading into Victoria) will be closed from 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm tonight, Thursday, April 10, so that a waterworks installation can be done. Traffic controllers will be on site. Use of an alternate route is advised by the CRD Integrated Water Services team.


April 10. Looks like Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has fallen behind the times. They either couldn't afford to or didn't think to maintain security on their website interface. As a result they've had to shut down their e-filing system, right in the heart of the tax season. By comparison, Canadian bank websites are almost boasting that they are not vulnerable to (or have already caught up with) the 'Heartbleed Bug' that leaves computers vulnerable to nefarious attack (notably 'scraping' of login/password and other details that could compromise a user's financial records and other aspects of data security).    TD Canada Trust says they have "already put in place defenses to protect against this potential threat" and that they have multi-layered authentication safeguards in place.   RBC says on their website: "We take every threat seriously. Our websites have not been affected by the Heartbleed security bug."  Credit unions that use direct banking systems developed by Central 1 Credit Union are among those most safe from Heartbleed, as they don't use the flawed software. Coast Capital Savings (a forerunner for web-banking excellence since it began in mid 1990s) says: "Rest assured, none of Coast Capital's online channels use the OpenSSL technology currently vulnerable to the 'heartbleed' bug. Your banking and personal information is safe, secure & protected." Vancity credit union tweeted yesterday that they don't use the affected technology: "Concerned by the #heartbleed bug? OpenSSL, the affected technology, is not used by Vancity websites & apps. We're not vulnerable to this issue. @Vancity. "  The most consistent message coming out of this episode is that people should remember to change their web-interface passwords regularly. It seems appropriate to wonder if the computer software that people use to keep track of their passwords is a secure idea; it's possibly better to go back to pen and paper for that sort of record-keeping.


April 9. BC Ferries is advising island travellers to reserve sailing spots on their ferries for Easter weekend (April 18-21), which is traditionally one of their high-traffic weekends each year.


April.9. Today is the first BC Book Day. "A healthy book industry is important to the education, social, cultural and economic life of our province and beyond," said Coralee Oakes, BC Ministry of Community Sport and Cultural Development in a news release today (photo). BC is investing $615,000 in BC's book publishers in 2014-2015 (an increase of 12% over last year).


April 9. A coffee bean provider from Panama will be making a stop in Sooke on Monday, April 28. They'll have lunch at The Stick (where they regularly donate beans for sale, with funds toward higher education for students in Boquete, Panama) and take a took of Sooke Fire Hall #1.  Sooke volunteer firefighters visited Boquete last year to help train firefighters there (see supplied photo above), and are now also planning a trip for Spring 2015l, says Sooke volunteer firefighter Ben Temple.


April 9. Road closure of Hwy14 this morning (from 7:33 am) in both directions 1.5km west of Junction with Veterans Memorial Parking and Sooke Road due to a 2-vehicle motor vehicle accident (with non-life-threatening injuries).  The road was reopening around 11:30am today. Detour was available via Glen Lake Road, Jenkins Avenue and Jacklin Road. The file is still under investigation to determine vehicle speed, who was driving, and whether drugs or alcohol were involved, says S/Sgt Steve Wright of the Westshore RCMP.  A man in one of the vehicles was arrested on an outstanding warrant for his arrest and for breaching no contact conditions, says Cpl Kathy Rochlitz of the Westshore RCMP.


April 9. Premier Christy Clark will be making an announcement today at 12:15 pm in Victoria regarding natural gas development.


April 8. Today, leadership hopeful John Horgan welcomed the support of Mike Farnworth and additional members of the BC NDP caucus in his bid to lead New Democrats to victory against Christy Clark and the BC Liberals in 2017.  “Mike Farnworth is a great MLA. He has done so much for our party and our province,” said Horgan. “I am grateful for his support, and the support of so many members of our caucus, as we build a team that will earn the votes of British Columbians in 2017 and make life better for all BC families.” “John and I share a commitment to ensuring that our party is focused on providing a progressive alternative to the BC Liberals that can gain the confidence of voters. There’s too much at stake for us to be distracted and I’m proud to stand with John to ensure that the BC NDP is united and ready to win in 2017,” said Farnworth. Since launching his campaign 21 days ago, Horgan has visited New Democrats in BC’s interior, in northern Vancouver Island, and in Vancouver and Victoria's suburbs.  “Everywhere I go I hear from New Democrats that they want us to be united, strong and proud of who we are and what we represent,” said Horgan. “And most importantly, they want us to build a team that can and will win in 2017. Today is a major step forward in that effort.”  Horgan said that he was taking nothing for granted, and that he would continue his campaign to bring real leadership for all of BC, with stops in Vancouver, Merritt, Kamloops, Nanaimo, the Okanagan and the Kootenays in the weeks ahead. “Winning in 2017 starts with building a strong and energized party in every corner of our province,” said Horgan. “And that’s what I plan to do.”

April 8. BC NDP leadership contender John Horgan will be making an announcement in downtown Victoria today, at 12:15 pm at the Hotel Grand Pacific.  Update to follow.


ROAD CLOSURE April 7. Between 6:30 am and 11 pm today the right-turn lane from Admirals Road onto Craigflower (heading into Victoria) is closed, due to water infrastructure replacement related to the Craigflower Bridge project.  This was announced to media by CRD at 3:50 pm today.


April 7. The Hon. Minister Joe Oliver delivered his inaugural speech as Canada's Finance Minister in Toronto today, reaffirming the federal government's "commitment to balanced budgets as the foundation for advancing its proven record of creating jobs and growth for hard-working Canadian families". Oliver claimed that Canada has had the strongest employment performance in the G-7 since 2006 (creating over 1 million net new jobs since 2009) and that Canada has the lowest total government net debt burden of any G-7 country.


April 7. Tonight, Monday April 7 at Committee of the Whole (starting at 6:30 pm), District of Sooke Council will discuss and welcome public input on the Public Boat Launch Management Plan. Then at 7:30 pm the District's Finance & Administration Committee  will hear a 'report for decision' on Sooke Region Community Health Initiative (CHI) fee for service agreement and receive a verbal update from staff on the Five-Year Financial Plan for 2014-2018. Also in a report are the names of companies that applied to be 'preferred contractors' as suppliers to the District of Sooke for various services.  Mandatory criteria were met by Island Land Survey for Land Survey Services, Dale's Electric for Electrician Services, and four companies for Excavation Services -- Allterra Construction, Church Hill Meadows Ltd, 4M Bobcat & Trucking, and Jasmine's Excavating. There was one submission for carpentry that did not meet mandatory criteria, and no submissions for plumbing services.

April 6. If you're like most people who are digitally-acdtive, you don't often mail a single letter through Canada Post anymore. However, for those who do, the rates went up on March 31, 2014.   A one-off stamp purchase to mail a letter within Canada now costs $1.00 (a big jump up from 63¢) or 85¢ if you buy a 10-pack. If your letter weighs over 30g, the cost is $1.20.    A silver lining for businesses is that if you have a postage meter the cost per letter under 30g is 75¢ instead of 85¢. And the unaddressed ad mail rate has actually gone down from 15.9¢ per piece to 15.4¢ per piece under 50g. A letter to the USA now costs $1.20 (or $1.80 if over 30g).


April 6. Today Mary Alice Johnson will lead a discussion about the Sooke Land Trust at the Sooke Transition meeting, at Reading Room Cafe, 2-4 pm. Johnson runs ALM Organic Farms and has been instrumental in organizing Sooke Region Food CHI, Full Circle Seeds, and Moss Street Market.


April 5. Tonight the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce awarded various local businesses in several categories for recognition as winners among their peers. From over 200 nominees, three local 'unaffiliated' judges (Sooke Fall Fair president Ellen Lewers, District of Sooke Councillor Kevin Pearson and Sooke Fire Chief Steve Sorensen) selected the winners last month. Winners were announced from the podium by Sooke Chamber president Michael Nyikes, after announcing three finalists in each category. The 2014 Business Excellence award winners are: Professional Services - Dr. Chris Bryant; Retail Excellence - Western Foods; Manufacturing Excellence - Tugwell Creek arm & Meadery; Dining Excellence - Point No Point Resort; Sustainability - Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society; President's Award of Recognition - Ken Stratford; Lifetime Achievement Award - Sooke Harbour House (co-owner Frederique Philip in photo above - Copyright 2014 Sooke Voice News); Development Excellence - Mariner's Village; Not for Profit - Sooke Martial Arts; New Business of the Year - TD Canada Trust (Sooke Branch); Business of the Year - Sooke 2 for 1 Pizza.


April 5. Two new state-of-the-art hospitals were announced by the BC Government for Comox Valley (153 beds) and Campbell River (95 beds) in April 2012. The project is being overseen by the North Island Hospitals Project (NIHP) which has now named Tandem Health Partners as the selected proponent for public-private partnership, it was announced yesterday by Island Health. Tandem has  now been selected from three short-listed teams that were invited to submit proposals to design, build, finance and maintain the two new hospitals. Examples of previous partnerships in BC that resulted in new health care facilities include the Royal Jubilee Hospital Patient Care Centre in Victoria, the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, and the Fort St John Hospital and Peace Villa.  The project will create approximately 1,900 direct jobs and over 1,400 indirect jobs over the construction period (summer 2014 through late 2017).


April 4. Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt -  Juan de Fuca) will travel next week to northern France with a Government of Canada delegation as the representative of the Official Opposition to attend the April 9 ceremony commemorating the 97th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Garrison will be part of a delegation of Canadian political leaders, veterans and Canadian Forces personnel. "Vimy Ridge was a defining moment for Canada, but it came with a terrible cost in Canadian lives," Randall Garrison said this week.  "As a tribute to those soldiers and their families I am honoured to be able to go to Vimy to pay my respects on behalf of all Canadians, but in particular on behalf of the many Veterans and Canadian Forces members in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca who have served Canada with honour and distinction," Garrison said.


April 4.  Adding to his already substantial list of 15 MLA supporters, BC NDP leadership candidate John Horgan has today gained the support of three Tri-Cities heavyweights and another former BC NDP leader.    Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson, former Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Joe Trasolini, former interim BC NDP leader Dawn Black and New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody MP Fin Donnelly endorsed Horgan at an economy and affordability roundtables with Tri-Cities community leaders. "We have to win in the interior and in the suburbs if we are going to form government," said Horgan in a news release today. "John understands families want safe, affordable communities with good services," said Robinson. "He knows that BC Liberal rate hikes and service cuts are hurting communities."   "I'm impressed by John's emphasis on teamwork," said Donnelly.   Horgan will be in Campbell River and Courtenay on Saturday, April 5 to meet with residents and talk about the escalating cost of living. Follow on Twitter @TeamHorganBC


April 4.  The April 4th edition of Sooke Voice News is now online.   Includes: Inflationary impact assessment (and pg.2 editorial) about the increase in hydro rates and ferry fares. The 5th Annual classic salmon derby in August will net big proceeds for the Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society. Followup report on the JdF Community Land Trust forest walk.  Passport expiry dates and 5-year and 10-year purchase options.


April 3.  A project to redesign and redevelop the existing SEAPARC bike park has been announced today by Mike Hicks, SEAPARC Commission Chair and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director. For the past 5 months a steering committee consisting of representatives from the Sooke Bike Club, District of Sooke, and SEAPARC have been discussing the future of SEAPARC’s bike park. Yesterday (April 2) the SEAPARC board voted to spend up to $24,000 for the redesign and redevelopment of the existing SEAPARC bike park.   "These improvements will provide an increased opportunity for children, youth and families to become active on bikes. The park will also be a welcome addition for the provision of SEAPARC programs ,” said SEAPARC manager Steve Knoke.   SEAPARC will explore grants and in-kind donations with partners and volunteers. There is potential to increase the significance of the project by working with the community for support.
  Design of the new park will begin immediately
with construction anticipated to start this spring.

April 2.  The United Nations  2013 report on Climate Change that was released in full this week (March 31) says that no one will remain untouched by the impacts of climate change. "We're all sitting ducks," said one of the main authors of the 32-volume (365 MB PDF) report. Issues discussed in the report include regional breakdown (including urban/rural), extreme heat, food security and water resources. The obvious point was made that poorer nations would be hardest hit.


April 2.  Two weeks after launching his campaign, John Horgan is the first candidate to amass the required fee and signatures from every region of the province to register his leadership campaign with the BC NDP.  “My campaign is to be a real leader for all BC, to make life better for BC families, and to take on Premier Clark and her BC Liberals every time they fail British Columbians,” said Horgan. “I am thrilled that my message is already reaching every region of the province.”  Candidates must submit nomination papers with the signatures of at least 250 BC NDP members, and a minimum threshold of signatures from six of eight provincial regions. They must also demonstrate capacity to raise funds, with a $25,000 entrance fee. “Whether it’s endless job losses, fee increases or service cuts, Premier Clark and the BC Liberals are making life harder for British Columbians,” said Horgan. “The sooner we get started on replacing this government with a New Democrat government, the better.”  Horgan also thanked the hundreds of individual supporters whose generous donations helped him leap over the $25,000 fundraising mark less than two weeks after his campaign launch.   "John Horgan is offering real leadership for what matters most to BC families," says Team Horgan organizers.  "He is building a team that can beat the BC Liberals in 2017 and inspire British Columbians with a better way that includes the whole province."   Photos Copyright 2014 Sooke Voice News, taken at the March 17 leadership announcement in Langford.

April 2. Several Sooke-area businesses will be recognized with awards at the 2014 Business Excellence Awards gala dinner this Saturday night April 5th at the Prestige Hotel, an event organized by the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce. Tickets ($55 pp or $100 for two) are still available from the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce office at 250-642-6112 or .


April 1. There have been traffic backups in Sooke town center and beyond all day today along Sooke Road and West Coast Road, due to road repair outside of the under-construction Hope Center in 6700-block West Coast Road. Eastbound traffic was backed up only as far as Maple Avenue South but westbound traffic was clogged as far back as the hill outside of Sooke Elementary.


April 1. The HPI benchmark price of a single family home in Sooke was $346,700 in March, as reported today by the Greater Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB). That's a bit higher than last month and three months ago, but prices previous to 6 months ago were consistently higher (e.g. $350,000 in October 2013 and $354,600 in March 2013). The HPI benchmark price for a single family home in the overall Greater Victoria area was $483,400 last month. That's also a bit lower than prices over six months ago (e.g. $486,900 in October 2013 and $490,100 in March of last year).  This year's VREB president is Sooke area Realtor Tim Ayres.  The new recently hired VREB communications manager is Denise Hogue.


April 1.  APRIL FOOLS DAY EDITORIAL -- It's no joke! How is it that the BC Liberals can say it's "families first" in BC, when they are in fast order making life not only unaffordable but burdensome for British Columbians?  Today the cost of electricity jumps 9% and the fares on BC Ferries go up 4%.  At the start of 2014 ferry fares already went up (3.5% fuel tax) and MSP rates went up. Where does the BC government think the average working person is getting all the additional money to cover all these increased costs?  Household debt -- even as a bad option -- is not even an option anymore for some householders, as the 2008-2013 recession caved in that fallback option.  The biggest disappointment will be if the BC NDP (as Official Opposition) can't run with this ball which is now in political free fall, and save the day. Is it possible for some real concern for the people to rise above politics-by-spreadsheet? Last week the NDP's energy critic John Horgan, MLA introduced the Hydro Affordability Act in the BC Legislature, as one means to give low-income individuals and families a break, and they are receiving public comments at . It's a start in the right direction.


April 1. The 5th Annual Vancouver Island Salmon Classic Derby will be held as summer wraps up. The Aug.30th event will attract anglers from all over the world to fish in Sooke Harbour which is considered one of North America's most fertile fishing grounds.  Teams of four are invited to enter the derby. The fee is $700 per team (if paid by April 30) or $800 per team if registered by July 31. The event is being organized by Sooke Harbour Marina, see info at: . The Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society will receive all proceeds from the 50/50 draw.


Mar.31. Life becomes much less affordable in BC starting tomorrow, April Fool's day. Ferry fares go up 4% (on top of reduced sailing discounts for seniors) on April 1, and the cost of electricity jumps 9% as part of a 5-year 28% climb. It's okay to say you don't like this!  Send your comments online to Sooke Voice News at  for publication, or to the Official Opposition of the BC Legislature at this website: 


Mar.30. During Earth Hour in BC, the provincial electricity load dropped by 1% from 8:30-9:30 pm PDT last night (Sat. March 29) and saving 65 MW hours of electricity -- the equivalent of turning off about 1.4 million lights. That tally is significantly lower than in the last three years (117 in 2011, 121 in 2012, and 136MW in 2013). The 1% load drop is the lowest since the Earth Hour effort was adopted in BC in 2008, possibly because people have already cut back electricity use to the bone. BC Hydro rates go up 9% this coming week, on April 1, 2014. In Sooke the usage drop was 2.4%. Nearby Colwood cut back by 2.1% as did Langford. Whistler had the biggest drop in usage (6%) with Esquimalt showing hte second largest drop (5.8%).


Mar.30. The BC NDP's finance critic Mike Farnsworth has officially entered the party's leadership race. He says he has lots of time to catch up on John Horgan, MLA who made a big splash March 17 in Victoria and the following weekend in New Westminster to launch his bid for the leadership. NDP members must be signed up by June 26 in order to vote in the Sept.28 final leadership vote.


Mar.29. The Ayre Manor seniors care facility in Sooke has been managed for years by Beckely Farm Lodge Society 9BFLS) personnel, but now the owners of Ayre Manor -- the Sooke Elderly Citizens’ Housing Society (SECHS) -- will be taking over management of their facility, when the BFLS contract expires June 30, 2014. "We will continue to provide the quality care and supports that residents and families have been accustomed to," says SECHS Chair Sandy Pedneault.  Resident fees will not change. BFLS staff have been given noticed of termination but are welcome to sign on with SECHS as their news employer. "There will however be some changes in staffing since we will also be operating under a new budget and organizational structure," she said. Two unions represent most employees currently working at the Ayre Manor Complex Care and Assisted Living facilities. "We are discussing future staff relations with one and will likely (in the near future) be discussing matters going forward with the other union," said Pedneault in a news release yesterday.


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"Just read the online version of Sooke Voice News -- the ad (for Juan de Fuca Emergency Program) looks wonderful. What a great job you are doing with the paper." ~ Jeri Grant, JdF Emergency Program Coordinator, Sooke, BC (Aug.2013) 



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.




We cover as many newsworthy community events as possible. Please send event announcements and background info, photos or posters to (free posting on Sooke Area Events whenever possible).  Please consider placing some print or online ads to promote your events; this helps spread the word about your event to inquisitive readers and helps Sooke Voice News remain viable to continue serving the community. Ad rates and info .  


 Trust fund for the family of Kyle Hack.  Cheques may be mailed to the Hack Family Trust at PO Box 481, Sooke BC V9Z 1H4. E-mail contact with the committee is