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Mon. Dec.15. There will be considerable smoke generated by the burning of invasive plant materials on December 22 & 23 at the William Head Institution property, says Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop. The invasive plant materials (including scotch broom - see photo) were removed from the property "in order to improve and restore the natural areas and protect federally listed plant species at risk. The burning schedule will be weather-dependent and only take place if the ventilation index is favourable, says Chief Dunlop.


Mon. Dec.15. BC Transit has announced improvements to their service to the West Shore. As of December 29, there will be a new Route #52 called Colwood Bear Mountain that will run daily with 30-minute peak time service. There is also a Westhills bus Route #57 to the Langford Exchange. The Western Transit Exchange (next to Juan de Fuca Rec Centre) is being renamed the Colwood Transit Exchange. BC Transit says these changes have been made in response to feedback from riders, front-line staff, major employers in the Greater Victoria area, and local governments. There will also be more frequent service on Route #10 Royal Jubilee/Songhees to provide more service on Bay Street (no longer travelling on Esquimalt Rd). Increased service on Route #14 UVic/Vic General will address capacity issues and improve service reliability," says BC Transit. Service on Route #25 Maplewood/Colwood will better align with school schedules. "The changes were achieved by maximizing existing resources," said a BC Transit news release today.


Sun Dec. 14.  Kitchen scraps will be banned from the CRD's Hartland Landfill as of January 1, 2015. Local garbage pickup providers to the Sooke area (both Alpine and Sooke Disposal Ltd) are providing kitchen scraps pickup options to their customers. The Sooke municipality is one of a few municipalities in the CRD that do not offer a garbage pickup or composting service. Other municipalities where residents and businesses must pay for the service or do their own composting are Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Highlands and Central Saanich.  Early adopters of kitchen waste pickup were Oak Bay and View Royal with a trial program in 2006 to 2008; Sidney, Saanich, Victoria and Esquimalt also now offer municipal garbage and kitchen scraps pickup. Households and commercial facilities will need to have separate totes or bins for holding onto kitchen scraps (until pickup) that cannot be composted in a regular garden composting bin, such as meats, bones and cooked food.   Composting of naturally biodegradable food such as raw fruits and vegetables (along with paper and grass clippings) can be done in backyard composters. Use of a food digester (also called a Green Cone) allows for do-it-yourself kitchen waste handling.   Make your own food digester (click on the link called "Backyard Food Waste Digesters") or go to for information or to purchase one.  The Capital Regional District has diverted over 12,000 tonnes of kitchen scraps from their Hartland landfill since 2007 with their kitchen scraps program, and seeks to continue extending the life of the landfill with the kitchen scraps ban that starts January 1, 2015.   Page 1 article on this transition in the Dec.12th edition of Sooke Voice News. .


 Sat. Dec. 13. The BC government is expanding the Buy Local program with an additional $2 million to help BC farmers and food processors promote their products, and support food security in BC, it was announced today by Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick.  Businesses and organizations can apply for matching funding. Projects must increase the use of BC's agriculture, food and seafood sectors in the domestic marketplace, and also build consumer preference, demand and sales for BC agrifoods sold within the province.  The next submission deadline is 4:30pm on January 12, 2015.   Info:   


 The Dec 12th Christmas is Coming - Greetings edition of Sooke Voice News is now online. Front page news is about the requirement to separate kitchen scraps from garbage throughout the Greater Victoria area starting January 1, 2015. A sizeable grant has been received by Sooke' slocal EMCS high school to upgrade their woodwork and metalwork shops. Page 2 announcement from the Publisher of Sooke Voice News (SVN):  the news coverage scope of SVN now includes a broader stretch of the west shore, including Colwood, Langford and the Juan de Fuca Electoral area. There will also be a regular focus on health and education issues.  Page 3 presents our annual Christmas Greetings feature from and to the community.   Page 4 includes a reminder to lock  your car and your house, as a lot of 'crime of opportunity' is going on, says Sooke RCMP.


Fri. Dec. 12. As of 12:15 a.m. this morning, there were no power outages in the Sooke area despite a windstorm that's been picking up speed the last couple of hours. By contrast, about 66,000 BC Hydro customers are without power on the Lower Mainland including large areas of Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Delta, Vancouver and West Vancouver.


Thurs. Dec. 11.  Kitchen scraps will be banned from the CRD's Hartland Landfill as of January 1, 2015. Local garbage pickup providers to the Sooke area (both Alpine and Sooke Disposal Ltd) are providing kitchen scraps pickup options to their customers. The Sooke municipality is one of a few municipalities in the CRD that do not offer a garbage pickup or composting service. By contrast, Oak Bay and View Royal were early adopters with a trial program in 2006 to 2008. Households and commercial facilities will need to have separate totes or bins for holding onto kitchen scraps (until pickup) that cannot be composted in a regular garden composting bin, such as meats, bones and cooked food -- or use a Green Cone (food digester). Composting of naturally biodegradable food such as raw fruits and vegetables (along with paper and grass clippings) can be done in backyard composters.  See a page 1 article on this transition in the Dec.12th edition of Sooke Voice News.


Wed Dec. 10.  Rainfall has been steady all day.


Tues Dec. 9. Contrary to weather forecasting by Environment Canada, strong winds did not materialize for the Sooke area last night but the rain has been steady since yesterday evening, through the night, and into this morning.


Mon Dec. 8. Strong winds up to 70 kph (with gusts up to 90 kph) forecasted by Environment Canada for tonight for the southern area of Vancouver Island, as well as a lot of rain -- up to 30 cm starting tonight and arriving over three days.


Mon. Dec. 8.  The inaugural meeting of the 7-trustee Sooke School District 62 (SD62) board -- comprised of  three incumbent trustees from the Milne's Landing Zone for Sooke-town schools and four (3 re-elected and one new) from the Belmont Zone for schools in the Langford and Colwood areas--  will be held tomorrow night, Tuesday December 9 at the SD62 board office in Langford. Based on discussions at the recent School Planning Council meeting for 2014-2015 (chaired by SD62 assistant superintendent Roberta Kubik), it appears that the board aims to fast-track whatever it feels it can do in the school system to support initiatives for mental wellness.


Sat. Dec. 6. Saturday December 6 marks the 25th anniversary of the 'Montreal Massacre' -- a tragic shooting of 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique by an enraged young man who targeted women as the source of his problems. Today is an opportunity to reflect on misogyny and how changes can be made both in individual and family behaviours and quite importantly in the choices and policies of groups, workplaces and governments. Memorial events and gatherings are being held across Canada.  In Victoria today, there will be a memorial at 1pm at the First Metropolitan United Church, 932 Balmoral Road, Victoria with guest speaker Dianne de Champlain from Bridges for Women. Today the BC Government said in a news release that they support more than 100 transition house programs and over 400 victim service and violence-against-women counselling and outreach programs. "Today marks an opportunity to condemn all acts of violence against women and girls," said Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton.


Sat. Dec. 6. The December 5th print/PDF edition of Sooke Voice News is online. The front page introduces this next four-year term of Mayor Maja Tait with Councillors Bev Berger, Ebony Logins, Rick Kasper, Kevin Pearson, Brenda Parkinson, and Kerrie Reay. Also on page 1 is coverage of MLA John Horgan's interview as Opposition Leader this week on Voice of BC, and a bit of his December 19 itinerary for a visit to Sooke in his local Juan de Fuca constituency. On page 2 is an editorial about December 6 (25th anniversary of shootings in Montreal), and a letter from the Publisher about Independent Media.   On page 3 is the full text of Mayor Tait's inaugural speech. Check out page 4 for the full Christmas dinner menu at West Coast Grill.


Thurs. Dec. 4. BC Minister of Education Peter Fassbender gave a news conference this afternoon to outline some changes to adult education funding in BC, with a particular focus on adults who wish to upgrade their K-12 courses and achieve their Gr.12 graduation (Dogwood Diploma). A grant of up to $320 per part-time course will be available starting January 1, 2015 based on financial need for courses taken either by distance learning or as evening classes at a post-secondary institution. Minister Fassbender said there were about 21,000 adult education graduates in 2013-2014. Of those, about 5,000 (23.8%) achieved their course completions through distance learning and 16,000 (76.2%) through adult education centers or continuing education centers. Fassbender said that the cost of taking courses in a challenging economy may have been part of the reason that "usage has been going down a bit", but added that "people have been employed and are now looking at their futures and careers" and that "it's no one thing or another".   Immigrants to Canada who require courses for completion of a high school diploma will be notably assisted by the new availability of grants; funds can be used for tuition, textbooks, transportation and/or child care.  The news conference included information from the Deputy Ministers of both Advanced Education and Education, and the Superintendent of Learning and Achievement of Learning with the BC Ministry of Education. In a news release it was stated: "Consistent with this change, beginning May 1, 2015 the Ministry of Education will no longer provide funding to school districts for tuition-free upgrading courses for adults who already hold a high school diploma.   Starting April 1, 2015, the annual budget for Adult Upgrading Grants will increase 33% to $7.6 million to help cover the new part-time course grants.


Thurs. Dec. 4. It will be World Soil Day on Friday Dec 5.   The international day that was started in 2002 by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) celebrates the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human wellbeing. The 2014 theme for World Soil Day is "Soils, foundation for family farming" and for 2015 will be "Soils, a solid ground for life". Try a soil quiz! International Year of Soils will be promoted by the United Nations In 2015.


Thurs. Dec. 4. Two or more farms in the BC agriculture belt from Abbotsford to Chilliwack have been quarantined for an outbreak of H5 avian flu among the poultry.  Most original avian flu outbreaks begin in China and migrate globally. Birds will be culled and farmers will be compensated, said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency yesterday in a live telephone media conference. BC health officer Dr Perry Kendall says that transmission to humans "happens very sporadically and is not all that common", and that human-to-human transmission does not happen. Eating poultry is safe if the meat is properly handled and cooked, said CFIA chief veterinary officer Dr. Harpreet Kochhar.  China has blocked imports of BC poultry as a means to contain the infection in poultry stocks.


Wed. Dec. 3. The HPV vaccine is now offered as two doses to girls only in Grade 6 (previously also boosted at the Grade 9 year). The BC government says the funds saved by not administering the third dose can be used to promote an increased participation rate for this vaccine, which is presently 69% in BC.  More details as published by Sooke Voice News October 30, 2014.


Wed. Dec.3.  The federal government has marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities today by reminding Canadians of the recently announced additional tax relief and increased benefits for all families with minor children. The maximum amounts that can be claimed for the Child Care Expense Deduction have been increased. The amount has increased $1,000 for claiming the Disability Tax Credit, per child.


Tues. Dec. 2.  John Horgan, MLA will host his annual Christmas Open House at his constituency office tomorrow night, Wednesday December 3 as a drop-in event from 4 to 7 pm. The office is in Langford at 122-2806 Jacklin Road (corner of Jacklin Road and Goldstream Ave). Light snacks and refreshments. Guests are invited to bring a donation for the food bank. Info: 250-391-2801. . Horgan became  Leader of the Official Opposition in BC in May this year.


Mon. Dec. 1. About 120 people showed up to witness the swearing in of the new District of Sooke Council for 2014-2018 in Council chambers tonight. The new council is headed up by Mayor Maja Tait with six Councillors: Bev Berger,  Rick Kasper, Ebony Logins, Brenda Parkinson, Kevin Pearson, and Kerrie Reay -- all of whom were elected in the November 15, 2014 municipal election in the District of Sooke. Attending the significant evening event were two past Mayors -- Janet Evans and Wendal Milne -- as well as the families and/or supporters of the candidates. The official oath of office was delivered by local Notary Public Shawna Farmer.  Attending to congratulate Mayor Maya Tait were her husband and parents. Councillor Brenda Parkinson reserved three full rows of seats for her family, friends and supporters. Councillor Kevin Pearson's wife, daughter-in-law and baby granddaughter came for the special occasion. Two generations of the Logins family were there to see Ebony Logins take part in her first Council meeting For Kerrie Reay this is her second term in office. For Rick Kasper this is his 9th time being sworn into public office. Several firefighters attended as well as many of the regulars who attend Council meetings and are actively involved in community politics. Refreshments were served after the short meeting at which various appointments to board and commissions were executed by the Council before adjournment.  Top Photo: The new Mayor and Council for the District of Sooke (2014-2018) at their inaugural meeting December 1. Copyright 2104 Sooke Voice News   Second Photo: Mayor Maja Tait flanked by former Mayor Janet Evans and outgoing Mayor Wendal Milne. Copyright 2104 Sooke Voice News  .


Mon. Dec. 1. The new District of Sooke Council for 2014-2018 will be sworn in tonight at 7pm in Council chambers, 2225 Otter Point Road. Maja Tait will be sworn in as Mayor. The new council will be Bev Berger (re-elected),  Rick Kasper (re-elected), Ebony Logins, Brenda Parkinson, Kevin Pearson (re-elected), Kerrie Reay (re-elected). The meeting will be webcasted live at Subject to approval by council, Maja Tait and Rick Kasper as alternate will be the appointments to the CRD Board and CRD Hospital Board.  Kerrie Reay is up for reappointment to the same two boards as before:  CREST (regional emergency preparedness) and the Vancouver Island Library Board.


Dec. 1.  Island Health’s STOP HIV/AIDS Project is urging everyone who doesn’t know their HIV status to get tested. New Provincial guidelines released earlier this year, recommend any person over the age of 18 get tested for HIV every five years and those over 70 at least once in their lifetime. “We want HIV testing to be as normal as getting your blood pressure or other routine health test” said Sophie Bannar-Martin, STOP HIV Project Coordinator. “HIV is different now; getting tested and accessing treatment is an easy and important way to manage HIV.”  HIV Testing is free, confidential and available from your physician or local testing location. Talk to your healthcare provider or go to  to find an HIV testing location near you.   Getting tested for HIV is the only way to know your HIV status with 100% certainty.  Approximately 25% of Canadians living with HIV are unaware they are living with the virus.   Evidence shows that early diagnosis and effective treatment will improve the quality of lives for individuals living with HIV and substantially reduce the risk of onward transmission.   With current treatments, people are living long, healthy active lives with HIV. It is now a chronic disease, not a terminal disease. HIV is transmitted through infected bodily fluids including blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. Pharmacy Testing: For Islanders living in or around Victoria or Nanaimo, a pilot project is currently underway at two Medicine Shoppe pharmacies which offer no-appointment-necessary, confidential HIV screen tests that provide results in less than five minutes. • Medicine Shoppe, Victoria 104-1964 Fort St  ~ 250-595-1323 • Medicine Shoppe, Nanaimo 22-1150 Terminal Park Ave ~ 250-591-4933


Nov.30. A bit of a cold snap that fell on Sooke yesterday along with a light dusting of snow, remains cold today but with bright blue skies and no wind or precipitation -- perfect for today's annual Sooke Santa Claus Parade.


Nov.28. The Nov.28th "Into the Christmas Season" print/PDF edition of Sooke Voice News is now online. FRONT PAGE stories include: Island Health holds board meeting at Sooke Community Hall and nurses speak up about working conditions and patient care.  The District of Sooke Council for 2014-2018 will be officially sworn in on Monday night, Dec. 1.  PAGE 2.   Editorial this week is about the emerging trend to stand up for consensual rights (page 2).  Anyone who works at or visits a health care care in BC (including seniors care homes) must have a flu shot or wear a mask, effective Dec 1 (see page 2). PAGE 3. Another MVI on Hwy 14. BC Coroner releases report on Matthew Huszar. PAGE 4. The 2nd Sunday after Labour Day is now Terry Fox Day.


Nov.28. The second Sunday after Labour Day (in September each year) is now officially Terry Fox Day, following passing of the Terry Fox Day Act in the BC Legislature yesterday. This is also the date of the hundreds of annual cross-Canada Terry Fox Runs commemorating Fox' Marathon of Hope which kicked off what has now been decades of marathons and other fundraisers for donations toward cancer research.


Thurs. Nov.27. A public general meeting of the Island Health board (photo) was held in Sooke today, at which about 100 nurses attended in support of their speakers who made clear the frustration of being required to do patient care plan paperwork over spending time with patients. President and CEO Dr. Brendan Carr gave a wide-reaching report of initiatives and accomplishments, with a focus on fundraising success of community groups that help support the hospital system.


Thurs Nov.27. A high of 13°C is expected today in the Sooke area, here on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This balmy day comes along with rain, off and on.


Wed. Nov.26. An Island Health general board meeting will be held in Sooke on Thursday November 27, from 11:15 am to 12 noon. Pre-arranged public presentations will be heard, and Public questions will be taken from the floor. An open house for board members, Island Health staff, and the public follows at 12 noon. The meeting is being held at Sooke Community Hall, 2037 Shields Road, Sooke.


Tues. Nov.25. The Metchosin Fire Dept has sent out a winter heating safety checklist with 10 tips on how to "get ahead of the winter freeze". Tips have to do with furnaces, vents, wood/pellet stoves, space heaters and carbon monoxide dangers.  FIRE SAFETY CHECKLIST


Tues. Nov. 25. The Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) board has issued a report in the wake of the November 15 municipal elections which has caused a shuffle in their board membership (municipal councillors are appointed to the VIRL board). They have extended their thanks to departing board members from nine island municipal jurisdictions. VIRL has also taken this opportunity to 'recap' their strategic priorities: collection (diversity and value), communications (promoting library services), facilities and operations (becoming welcoming places), information technology (enhancing the library experience) and delivery of quality service (to meet customer needs).   The facilities section of the VIRL report itemizes facility priorities in this order: North Cowichan/Chemainus, Sooke, Port Hardy and Nanaimo Harbourfront.  The rep to VIRL's board for the past three years from the District of Sooke has been Councillor Kerrie Reay (see Sooke Local News page, Nov 25 entry).



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