Voting matters: BC Election 2017

We’ve joined with the Sooke Chamber of Commerce, the Sooke Region Tourism Association and the Sooke Region Museum to present a series of pre-election events in Sooke ahead of the provincial general election on May 9.  voting.jpg

Following a  Government 101 info session last week, the series continues this Thursday morning (7 to 9 a.m.) downstairs at the Community Hall as an Elections BC representative discusses the hows, whys and wheres of making your vote count. A complimentary breakfast will be served by Sooke Women in Business.

The Langford-Juan de Fuca riding‘s one Sooke all-candidates debate is set for 7 p.m. on Tues., April 25 at the Prestige Hotel. Advance questions in writing can be submitted online here. Rotarian (and former owner of Otter Point’s Malahat Farm) David Stocks will again be in town to reprise his role as the debate MC. Questions are also welcome from the floor over the course of the two-hour debate.

For more information:
Click on the links for party platforms + Langford-JDF candidate profiles …  
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Teaming Up to Clean-Up Sooke

Our working group Zero Waste Sooke is organizing a community spring clean of roadsides, ditches, green spaces and playgrounds on the morning and early afternoon of Earth Day 2017 — Saturday, April 22.  Please email info@zerowastesooke.ca if you’d like to volunteer for an hour or more as part a neighbourhood litter-busting team. Gloves and bags will be supplied.

This is a family friendly event and kids can get busy with special litter scavenger hunts created in the spirit of this year’s Earth Day theme, namely “Earth Play,” a call for everyone to unplug and enjoy outdoor activities. A fantastic way to show that, as individuals and as a community, we care about our home and native environment. H/T to the District of Sooke and the CRD for funding support.

Learn more at the ZWS Facebook page.

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Equinox Update: Spring 2017

teamcleanup2016logo-1.png* Volunteers and neighbourhood captains in the Sooke region are wanted for a Zero Waste Sooke street clean-up on Earth Day ~ Saturday, April 22. Gloves and bags will be supplied, and local pick-up spots will be arranged. Please let us know via email if you can help! PS Our thanks to Mayor Tait and councillors Berger, Logins and Reay for approving a ZWS community grant request last week that will partially cover our costs for the clean-up as well as two Sooke Repair Cafes this year and a summer workshop by the Victoria Compost Education Centre.

* After 13 years in print, the Rural Observer has gone digital in style starting with this month’s edition. Editor Terri Alcock invites her Sooke region readers to subscribe online and receive interactive e-book versions. Screenshot 2017-03-27 18.04.57.pngAnnual ($20) or lifetime ($100) memberships with the Juan de Fuca Rural Publication Society will help keep the new issues flowing. An essential read and service for all who care about this region’s rural character and natural beauty.

* Juan de Fuca Forest Watch meets again on Tuesday (March 28), 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ed Macgregor Park bandshell. “Lots to discuss, including timely reports of local forestry operations, proposed campaigns and more,” notes Darren Alexander. “Please consider bringing a guest or two. Pitch in $5 and we’ll order pizza.”

Screenshot 2017-03-21 16.51.32.png* Awareness Film Night and Sooke Region Food CHI present the 7th annual Farm and Film Gala on Wednesday, April 12th. Doors at EMCS open at 6:30 for “stocking up, browsing and noshing in the theatre foyer,” says AFN’s Jo Phillips. The feature presentation Seed:The Untold Story will start at 7:45 and the evening will conclude with gift basket draws at 9:20.

* All are welcome to local food potlucks every Sunday evening hosted by Everything Edible Landscaping‘s Jonathan Francoeur and friends at 6411 Sooke Road. “Bring some food or come ready to learn what you can make for next time,” says Jonathan. “Dine and dash, or stay and socialize.”

* Site C campaigners Janet and Steve Gray from Kairos Canada invite participants to one or more of their ‘No Site C Banner Waves’ in the Greater Victoria region. “We only go out in nice weather. Hope to see you soon!” Learn more here.

* Lights on: Instant BC Hydro rebates at Sooke Home Hardware and elsewhere for select LED bulbs, lighting fixtures and controls until April 13.

* Save the Date: Creatively United for the Planet Festival, April 22 at the Royal BC Museum fb-banner-2017.jpg

* Bookmark these pages for ongoing coverage of the BC Election on May 9 (just 47 days from now)

* Victoria Times Colonist
* The Tyee
* Vancouver Sun
* CFAX Radio
* In-Sights
* Integrity BC
* Victoria Vision

Other essential links:

* Elections BC
* John Horgan, NDP
* Cathy Noel, Liberal
* Brendan Ralfs, Green

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Finally, some highlights from our Facebook pageoffered for those immune to the debatable charms of social media …

Staying sane in (confirmation bias) insane times

More evidence of why former federal Environment Minister David Anderson told a Sooke audience last week that global warming is the defining issue of our day

– Good neighbours: Companion planting guide (shared from the Sooke Food CHI FB page)

– The art of public engagement: A set of storyboards from the recent Local BC Government Leadership Academy

– Short film: “If you do nothing else with this life, cultivate gratitude”

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Late Winter/Early Spring Update

News and upcoming events (in lieu of our newsletter, see final item below) 

* We elected the TS 2017 Board of Directors at our sixth AGM on Feb. 17Paivi Abernathy, Jeff Bateman, Martin Bissig, Stephen Hindrichs, Andrew Moore, Wendy O’Connor, Jo Phillips and Michael Tacon. Sincere thanks to all for either joining the board for the first time (Paivi, Jo and Wendy) or carrying on for another year (everyone else). Jeff will continue as President and Michael has been succeeded as treasurer by Martin. Also, appreciation to our departing board members: Sofie Hagens (stepping down after five years), Kara Middleton and Tony St-Pierre (who’s taking a hiatus to focus on the hard work of homesteading at Cast Iron Farm). They join a TS board alumnus that also includes Darren Alexander, Blake Barton, John Boquist, Yves Boudreau, Yvonne Court, Margaret Critchlow and Mark Ziegler.

* Presenting the top five finishers in the Dotmocracy vote that AGM attendees and all on our email list had the opportunity to vote on. It has helped us determine priorities for the year ahead: 1. Our second Sooke Ecohome Tour (scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14); 2. A community building workshop series (i.e. Non-Violent Communications, conflict resolution, consensus training, etc.); 3. Speakers’ series; 4. Reskilling workshops; 5. A think-tank/strategy session/Pro D day with other Sooke community groups.  We’ll also be promoting Streetbank Sooke more intensively, have plans for a fourth annual TS summer potluck picnic in August, and will be looking at co-hosting a family cycling event in the early fall, perhaps in association with the international CycleHack weekend in September.

Sooke-Region-Health-Summit-May-28-2016-2.jpg* Thanks to the 22 individuals from all walks of spiritual (large and small ‘s’) life locally who attended a March 4 exploratory meeting about a possible new TS multi-belief working group. It has arisen from a suggestion made by Don Brown (Baha’i Community of Sooke) at the Sooke Region Health Summit last spring. TS shapes up as a good potential host given its society status and the fact that the “inner transition” (which posits that real change begins within) is a central part of Transition Network founder Rob Hopkins’ guiding philosophy for the movement. The T’Sou-ke Nation‘s Shirley Alponse and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait gave opening addresses, then the group got busy brainstorming about shared values and potential collaborative actions. Stay tuned for more.

* How safe are our school zones for young pedestrians and cyclists? HASTe (Hub for Active School Travel) has organized two local exploratory walkabouts this month — the first was on Tuesday morning at Journey Middle School; and the second on Thursday, March 16 ((8:15 sharp to 9:45) at the neighbouring Ecole Poirier Elementary. “Anyone invested in active & safe transportation is welcome to join us,” says Ebony Logins, HASTe’s School Travel Planning Facilitator. “Please bring a co-worker or friend.” Email ebony@hastebc.org for more information.

* Our Zero Waste Sooke working group is planning a few events in the months ahead: A roadside clean-up of various neighbourhoods around town to coincide with Earth Day on Saturday, April 22; and our town’s first Repair Cafe on a TBA weekend in May at the EMCS Society‘s new Makerspace. Details to come when firmed up and finalized.

* Tonight’s Awareness Film Night (March 8) presentation is Toad People with all proceeds going to the Wilderness Committee. The film documents grassroots efforts in BC to save the western toad … essential citizen actions given the lack of endangered species legislation in British Columbia. 0b6363aa3d7fd5e7a003dfe63cfc28a9.jpg(MLA Andrew Weaver introduced long-overdue draft legislation in Victoria last week.)  As Jo Phillips notes: “This is a film suitable for children, as long as they don’t mind the occasional shot of a toad killed by a vehicle.  But there are lots of children in the film busily saving species at risk.” EMCS, 7 p.m. By donation.

* The Sooke team of Dogwood BC presents “Tankers, Pipelines & Dogwood: What Now? What Next,” an info night on Wednesday, March 15th, 7 p.m. at the St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road.  Featured speakers will be Dogwood’s founding director Will Horter and formerScreenshot 2017-03-07 08.32.36.png federal Environment Minister David Anderson. Dogwood communications coordinator Charles Campbell will outline next steps, notably a canvassing drive for a 90-day HST-style citizen’s action to stop the Kinder Morgan TMX pipeline expansion under BC’s Recall and Initative Act.  Learn more at the Facebook event page, and RSVP here if you’re planning to attend.

* Work has begun on the community food garden at the Sooke Baptist Church on the West Coast Road across from Woodside Farm. All food grown there is earmarked for the Sooke Food Bank and needy families in the region. Foundational work crews are meeting for the next two Saturdays, and help is needed on a variety of fronts. Contact Bernie via email to learn more. Among other things, donations are welcomed for the $600 worth of soil needed for the garden.

* One of Sofie Hagens’ many contributions to TS was our colourful, informative newsletter. In her absence, we are seeking a volunteer designer who can take on the task of translating supplied material into an attractive, reader-friendly newsletter. If you’ve got time, interest and some comfort around designing e-newsletters (we’ve used a MailChimp template to date), please send us an email and we’ll be in touch.

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TS Annual General Meeting 2016/17

The AGM of the Sooke Transition Town Society (aka Transition Sooke) is set for Friday, Feb. 17 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  Like last year, we’re again fortunate to have secured the Common House at Harbourside Cohousing (6681 Horne Road) as the host venue. Our sincere thanks to the Harbourside community for welcoming us back.

The meeting will hear reports from TS president Jeff Bateman and Zero Waste Sooke coordinator Wendy O’Connor. We’ll share highlights from Debb Read’s Wild Wise Sooke annual report. Board member Martin Bissig will report on our first, possibly annual, Ecohome Tour. And Don Brown from the Baha’i Community of Sooke will share a progress report on a multi-belief initiative he’s quarterbacking in association with TS.

During the AGM itself, a financial report will be presented by treasurer Michael Tacon and nominations for the 2017 Board of the Directors will be voted on.

11024786_841397079259844_6220381518959150591_n.jpgThe evening will begin with a social mix-and-mingle. Following the AGM, our Andrew Moore will lead another “dotmocracy” vote to identify future priorities. The TS board is keen for member input on where we should direct our necessarily limited volunteer time and energy. The top picks from last year’s AGM straw poll — the ecohome tour, community picnic, reskilling events and a speakers’ series that brought Guy Dauncey, Kem Luther and Fair Vote Canada’s David Merner to town — gave us clear direction going ahead.

We’ll field suggestions from the floor for the dotmocracy, however our current long list of possibilities includes the following:

– Street & family cycling event

– Speakers’ series

Ecohome Tour 2017

Reskilling fair and/or workshops

– Collaborative think-tank/strategy session with like-minded Sooke community groups

– Retreat/getaway for TS members

Community picnic  

– Community building workshop series (i.e., non-violent communications, consensus and facilitation skills, media literacy education, conflict management, etc.)

Local currency initiative

Hiring a summer student in 2018

– Development of Sooke protocols/guidelines for the greening of community events

Letter-writing campaign/support group/workshop

– Creation of a community share shed

– Promotion/better utilization of Streetbank

If you plan to attend the AGM, please send an RSVP to sooketransition@gmail.com 

sincerely,
TS Board of Directors

Getting to Harbourside, on the waterfront up Sooke … 

At the main traffic light in Sooke (at the corner of Sooke Road/West Coast Road and Otter Point Road), turn towards the sea onto Murray Road.

Parking on Murray Road is your best bet as the only other easy option is the parking lot at the corner of Murray Road and Horne Road. Be sure not to block any driveways. Parking attendants will be there to guide people and vehicles.

Follow the sidewalk past the Anglican Church to the corner of Murray and Horne Roads. There is a sidewalk going east down Horne Road right to the entrance to Harbourside @ 6681, Horne Road – the door to the Common House is right opposite the elevator.

In the spirit of the Transition movement, please car pool, walk or bike if you can! 

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Linking up with Andrew Nikiforuk

Read on for a wealth of links (many featuring articles by the man himself) related to our Jan. 11 Awareness Film Night co-presentation of author/journalist Andrew Nikiforuk at Edward Milne Community School, 7 p.m. start time. Please join us. Admission is by donation.
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An Albertan now based in Campbell River, Andrew Nikiforuk (pictured here with Naomi Klein at the 2014 Banff Calgary International Writers’ Festival) has been writing about the oil and gas industry for more than two decades. He’s a contributing editor to The Tyee and has authored a shelf of award-winning books that include The Energy of SlavesEmpire of the BeetleSaboteurs and Tar Sands.
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     Andrew’s hour-long talk will focus on one of the upcoming BC election’s major issues — Liquified Natural Gas development and the social & environmental impacts of fracking. He will cover material from his latest book, Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry,” which is based on the epic legal battle between Jessica Ernst and EnCana Corporation over the contamination of water aquifers from fracking operations in rural Alberta. The case began a decade ago and a final decision from the Supreme Court of Canada is expected soon.  In the process, Andrew will discuss BC’s misfiring LNG dream, the role of Big Oil in government and society’s obsession with rapidly depleting supplies of oil and gas.
      During the Q&A, audience members are welcome to quiz our guest about his many other areas of expe15894831_1258633887536159_5189035359525402105_n.pngrtise — the Site C dam, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, fish farms, the contamination of Shawnigan Lake and the devastation wrought by the mountain pine beetle.
     The night’s theme is LNG, however, and in keeping with AFN tradition, Jo Phillips has lined up the 25-minute documentary A Last Stand for Lelu to begin the evening. Lelu Island is the proposed site of the LNG plant and shipping berth near Prince Rupert.  It is in the middle of the Flora Banks, the most important juvenile fish h15873065_1371964819522784_3407835712915453075_n.jpgabitat for the entire Skeena River system.  It is also in the traditional territory of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nations, who voted 100% “NO” for this project. The film was shot by young co-directors Farhan Umedaly and Tamos Campos. The latter is David Suzuki’s grandson.
     For insights into the fundamentals of hydraulic fracking, check out this helpful 101 video. You can find a complete archive of Andrew’s articles in The Tyee here.

We’re looking forward to this, our fourth annual collaboration with Awareness Film Night. AFN is now in its 22nd year of presenting timely, thought-provoking and essential documentaries to local audiences otherwise starved for same. In recent years we’ve teamed up to screen In Transition 2.0The Clean Bin Project and, last year at this time, Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. Viva Jo, truly one of Sooke’s treasures! 

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An Evening With Andrew Nikiforuk – Jan. 11th at EMCS

Awareness Film Night and Transition Sooke are teaming again to present a special evening with Andrew Nikiforuk, the journalist and author widely recognized as one of Western Canada’s top authorities on the fossil-fuel extraction industry. Nikiforuk writes regularly in The Tyee, has won eight National Magazine Awards and has published such landmark books as The Energy of Slaves, Tar Sands and Empire of the Beetle.
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We’ll get underway at Edward Milne Community School at 7 p.m. with a screening of the short film A Last Stand for Lelu by young BC filmmakers Farhan Umedaly and Tamo Campos. It vividly documents the pushback by the Lax Kw’alaams First Nations of Prince Rupert against the construction of Pacific Northwest LNG, a massive LNG terminal backed by Malaysian energy giant Petronas.

Nikiforuk will then take the stage for an hour-long talk based on his latest book, Slick Water (2015, Greystone Books/David Suzuki Institute). The powerful work of investigative journalism interweaves the science of fracking with stories about the human and environmental repercussions left in its wake. The book raises dramatic questions about the role of Big Oil in government, society’s obsession with rapidly depleting supplies of unconventional oil and gas, and the future of civil society.

He’ll also be discussing other big energy infrastructure projects, most notably Ottawa’s recent approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Formerly based in Calgary, Nikiforuk now lives in Campbell River. Learn more about the man and his work here: http://andrewnikiforuk.com/

“Slick Water is a true-life noir filled with corruption, incompetence, and, ultimately, courage. It is a deeply informative, disturbing, and important book.” – Elizabeth Kolbert, 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.

“Andrew Nikiforuk crafts a stunning picture of fossil fuel industry and government abuse” – Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything

Admission, as ever with Awareness Film Night, is by donation.

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