November TS Newsletter

The latest Transition Sooke newsletter arrived in email boxes this morning. If you’d like to subscribe, please send a request to

In the meantime, view it here and learn about Transition Sooke’s Nov. 17 presentation of Frankenfood whistleblower Dr. Thierry Vrain at the Sooke Harbour House (2 p.m.) as well as updates on Harbourside Cohousing and the local debate over the fate of Sooke Disposal + announcements about Awareness Film Night (Nov. 10) and the next Transition Town Cafe (this coming Sunday @ 2 p.m. at the Reading Room) + a note on Chris Hedges’ important book The Death of the Liberal Class. As ever, the newsletter’s a good, breezy & informative read assembled and circulated monthly by editor Sofie Hagens.


Sooke joins the collaborative consumption revolution


Streetbank brings home the delights and practical value of that old truism “share and share alike.”  Local residents are invited to join the Sooke chapter of this remarkable, UK-based, internationally operating collaborative-consumption collective. The local group currently involves 26 Sookies  sharing 46 useful items – a utility trailer, food dehydrator, cider bottles, woodworking & gardening tools, books (in English & German), DVDs, volunteer dogwalking & babysitting services, and much more – with each other within town limits.

Register for free and join one of the smartest solutions yet to building community while taking a stance and opting out (in some small but meaningful ways) from the consumer culture’s message that we all need at least one of everything.

Register online at

Or learn more by visiting the Transition Sooke/Streetbank table at the Awareness Film Night screening of Trashed, Wednesday, Nov. 10  at EMCS.

Summer Newsletter

Are you getting Transition Sooke’s monthly electronic newsletter? If not, please subscribe by sending an email to In the meantime, check out the June/July edition recently sent out by editor Sofie Hagens by clicking on this link. It features a lead article on permaculture along with info about the upcoming Sooke Farm Tour (Sunday, Aug. 18), a calendar of local markets and public meetings, a quiz about the size of your ecological footprint and much else


Bike Skills Park: The Debate Continues

A good-sized turnout of about 60 people was at the Community Hall last night for the open house on the proposed Sooke Bike Skills Park. As Mayor Milne noted, the session was the latest step in a public process that will resume in September, he said, with a formal public hearing.

Municipal Planner Gerard LeBlanc moderated the evening, opening with a brief overview of developments so far and how a bike park fits into the overall vision for John Phillips Memorial Park established in 2006.

Gerard introduced Judd de Vall, founder of Whistler-based site designer Alpine Bike Parks. de Vall spoke about the upsides of having a family friendly cycling park in the residential heart of town and why increasing numbers of communities across North America are opting for them as 21st century playgrounds.

He then offered specifics about the Sooke blueprint and facilitated a lively two-hour discussion that covered a full range of pros and cons, support and opposition. The project is in its early stages, he emphasized, and it can be downsized to a simple bike playground suitable for pre-schoolers and youngsters at the foot of the hill or built out to its full capacity as an attraction for teens and active adults. Alpine’s previous projects have ranged in cost from $9k to $4.2 million, he said. Sooke’s proposed budget is $300,000 – about the same cost as an ordinary swings-and-roundabouts playground.

At least 25 people spoke for or against the proposal and some were quite passionate about it. The park hits close to home for some folks, literally, and they naturally have concerns. Others in the audience could see the value of having a kid-and-parent friendly bike park linked directly to  Sooke’s existing network of bike trails.

Whatever their view, however, it seems that everyone recognized the value of a bike skills park. The contentious issue is its location at John Phillips Memorial Park. Some people had further concerns such as cost to the taxpayer and liability to the District.

The people who spoke in favour view the bike facility as one important element in encouraging more people – residents and out-of-towners alike – to take advantage of a green space that many believe is dramatically underutilized. Increased park use was a priority of the 2006 committee, which was chaired by Neil Flynn and based on considerable input from the public (through open houses, information sessions, group presentations and a residential survey).

Transition Sooke sees the addition of a bike skills park to the community, in it’s various potential forms and possible locations, as a great asset that is in line with the principles of building resilience and community connections. It will promote healthy activities for young and old, while giving people the opportunity to safely practice bicycle handling skills. This is one aspect of our hopes for a future that will see a town that encourages walking, cycling and healthy physical activity and sustainable transportation .

As far as the location is concerned, we are pleased that there is dialogue and hopeful that everyone  can come to a resolution that benefits the community as a whole.

Please give some thought of your own to the subject. The best starting point is the District of Sooke’s website, where staffer Laura Byrne has put together a full package of  background documents.


Laura welcomes further public comment, which can be sent to

regards from Andrew, Jeff, Margaret, Sofie, Eric, Lee, Michael, Stephen & Yvonne

Transition Sooke core team