Author Archives: Transition Sooke

Site C Speakers’ Night in Sooke courtesy Amnesty International & UBC Press

Breach of Trust: Indigenous Rights and the Future of the Site C Dam

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A thought-provoking evening with Amnesty International Canada‘s Craig Benjamin, Julian Napoleon from Saulteau First Nations, and Sarah Cox, author of Breaching the Peace: The Site C Dam and a Valley’s Stand Against Big Hydro (UBC Press).

A timely follow up to our Sooke Justice for the Peace evening with the Peace Valley Environment Association‘s Ken Boon in the spring that we co-presented with Rolling Justice Bus.  Special thanks to newly arrived Sooke resident Lily Mah-Sen for making the evening possible.

Admission free or by small donation to cover modest event costs.

About the speakers:

* Sarah Cox is an award-winning journalist who specializes in energy and environmental issues. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, online publications, and provincial and national newspapers. Breaching the Peace is Sarah’s first book and tells the inspiring and astonishing story of the farmers and First Nations who fought the most expensive megaproject in BC history and the government-sanctioned bullying that propelled it forward. She lives in Victoria.

* Julian Napoleon is Dane-zaa/Cree from the Saulteau First Nations in Treaty 8. He recently moved back home to Moberly Lake after completing a Biology degree at UBC. He is dedicated to his role as a community hunter and fisher-person. As an uncle to many youth and children in his community, Napoleon carries the responsibility of passing on the traditional subsistence practices and cultural protocols of his people. He is also working closely with his nation on various food sovereignty initiatives.

* Craig Benjamin is an Amnesty International Canada campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) in Canada. A non-Indigenous person currently living in Mi’kmaw territory in Nova Scotia, Craig is honoured to have had the opportunity to work alongside Indigenous activists from across Canada and around the world.

About Breaching the Peace (UBC Press)

“In the pages of this book, we read of the shameful litany of excuses offered up for government failures to uphold Treaty 8, respect human rights, and protect the environment. Federal officials pretend it is out of their hands and up to the province. The Horgan government now asserts it is hamstrung by the money already invested by its predecessors. Indeed, the overarching calculus comes down to money. Too expensive to turn back, says Premier Horgan. But the truth really is that he and all other political leaders before him have been unwilling and unable to accept their responsibility to treat the Peace River Valley and its people as something more than a resource to be exploited for the benefit of the rest of the province.

And as goes Site C and the Peace River Valley, so goes the rest of the country. Too expensive. Too entrenched. Too cowardly. Too short-sighted. Sarah Cox tells us a story that points to a history that defines more than 150 years of failure to respect the rights of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in Canada. She shows us how failing once again to commit to reconciliation is also inextricably tied up with disregard for the rights of non-Indigenous families and communities and the prospect of devastating environmental destruction.” ~ Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada from the foreword. rOv_aylq_400x400.jpg

“This is a necessary book, truly a parable for our time.” ~ John Vaillant, author of The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness

“Sarah Cox has written a great book. Not only does she provide searing insight into how Site C developed, she does so through the eyes of the people most affected by it…a must read.” ~ Marc Eliesen, former president and CEO of BC Hydro, former chair and CEO of Ontario Hydro, and former chair of Manitoba Hydro

“Economic logic fails, a valley is inundated, and treaty rights are set aside in pursuit of political power: that’s the story of Site C.” ~ Harry Swain, former chair of the Site C federal-provincial review panel

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Questions for Our Transitional Times to be asked at Mayoralty Forum

Our 2018 Mayors’ Candidate Forum is set for the EMCS Community Theatre on Wed. Oct. 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. It will follow the same format as a session hosted by Transition Sooke in 2011. Each of the three candidates has been sent a set of questions prepared by Transition’s board of directors that reflect the organization’s own concerns and those of the community at large. Candidates will appear on stage together. In a rotation to be determined by a draw made by MC Michael Tacon at the start evening, they will answer these same questions as posed in person by two of our former board members, Yvonne Court and Mark Ziegler. They’ll have two minutes each for answers. Following a break at approximately 8:30 p.m., time will be allowed for questions from the audience. All welcome, no admission charge. 

For the record, here are our 15 questions:

1. How can we effectively control growth and ensure that the values enshrined in our Official Community Plan (OCP) are respected and maintained?

2. The principal of “Smart Growth” is integral to the OCP. What does Smart Growth mean to you? Do you see smart growth revitalizing downtown Sooke? What else, if anything, is needed to “fix” the downtown core?

3. What have you already done personally to reduce your carbon footprint?

4. A mayor is in an excellent position to lead by example. What would you personally do as mayor to encourage others to use less energy? To recycle, reduce, re-use? Screenshot 2018-10-01 16.35.47.png

5. The Transition Town movement recognizes that individuals and communities want to be authors of their own stories — hopeful, active, and connected rather than despairing, passive and cynical. What would you do to encourage hope, civic participation, and a sense of belonging in Sooke?

6. How might you promote growth in quality of life rather than in dollars and cents

7. Localization: We are hearing more and more about the importance of local economies. i) How do you plan to kickstart local business and ensure more people who live here also work here; and ii) Should the District take a position on encouraging independent, locally-owned businesses and discouraging the arrival of more chain businesses?

8. Local and sustainable procurement policy.  A sound municipal procurement policy should include a variety of criteria for evaluating bids. One might be “locality” (that is, a consideration of whether the bidder is a local enterprise). Another is “sustainability” – for example whether the bidder uses recyled products. Would you agree to review Sooke’s procurement policies with a view to including locality and/or sustainability as considerations in evaluating bids and purchasing materials?

9. The Official Community Plan includes a commitment to “thriveability.” What does that mean to you, and how would you encourage thriveability in Sooke?

10. A safe, walkable community is essential in encouraging people to get out of their cars. Walkability is also important as we build a more densely populated downtown in Sooke. What steps will you take to improve walkability in the town core?

11. On a similar note to question #10, what would you do to encourage cycling and improve cycling safety in Sooke?

12. Cosmetic pesticide ban: BC municipalities have the right to ban the use of “cosmetic” or non-essential pesticides (i.e., the use of pesticides to enhance the appearance of lawns and gardens) within their borders. Would you support such a bylaw in Sooke? (It is Transition Sooke’s view, shared with the Canadian Cancer Society and many reputable, peer-reviewed scientific studies, that pesticides pollute our streams and harbours and endanger the health of people, pets and wildlife).

13. Food Security: One measure of a community’s resilience is its ability to feed itself.  Our local nonprofits Sooke Region Food CHI and the Sooke Farmland Trust promote farmland protection, regional food security and a vibrant, locally grown food economy. What might the District of Sooke do to promote and support these critical objectives? What new initiatives are possible?

14. Please share your knowledge of how the District of Sooke is working towards carbon neutrality, developing a clean, renewable-energy economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

15. Traffic Congestion: Polls indicated that this is the number one issue for Sooke residents. What steps are being taken — and might be taken — by the District to deal with congestion on our main roads and in residential developments? How would you encourage the mode shift from cars to other forms of transportation?

 

 

 

 

 

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Campaign 2018 Events

Announcing a pair of District of Sooke election events presented by Transition Sooke.  Our board of directors believes these two evenings will provide the electorate with two more opportunities to become familiar with the candidates ahead of the Oct. 20 vote. They are intended to augment the all-candidates debate at the Prestige on Oct. 11 and the efforts of each candidate to individually reach out to voters. Our all-candidates speed dating event is a new idea for us, whereas the Mayoralty Forum is an encore of a similar evening we present during the run up to the 2011 election.
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Transitions + Open House on Sept. 5 @ Harbourside Cohousing

Transition Sooke is going through a transition of its own. Jeff Bateman, our president these last nearly five years, is stepping down to focus on his bid for a seat on Sooke council in the October election. Best wishes to Jeff in the months ahead, and our warm thanks for his dedicated service since he first joined our board in 2011.

Past-president Michael Tacon and fellow board member Bernie Klassen will be taking over the reins until our next Annual General Meeting early in 2019. They’ll be leading our current team of Paivi Abernathy, Martin Bissig, David Hannis, Stephen Hindrichs, Paula Johanson, Wynne LeComte, Wendy O’Connor and Jo Phillips.

As we move into this new chapter, we’re seeking fresh energy, interest and engagement from our supporters. To that end, we’re pleased to invite you to a TS open house on Wednesday, September 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Harbourside Cohousing, 6684 Horne Rd. 

We sincerely would appreciate getting to know you better in a social context in Harbourside’s lovely common room. Bring your ideas and enthusiasm. Coffee, tea and treats will be served. Promise: No obligations! You won’t be press-ganged into volunteer service.  Screenshot 2018-08-29 19.10.38.png

(image: alternative logo designed for us in 2014 by the late East Sooke artist Kay Lovett)

 

Transition Sooke is dedicated to a spectrum of what we believe are critical local concerns. These include:

* Smart Growth civic planning

* Local jobs and the local economy

* Waste reduction, recycling and reuse

* Green energy

* Transportation and public transit

* Reskilling education

* Permaculture and food security

* Social issues

* Compassionate communications

* Ecohomes and alternative housing

* Much else!

We’re a relaxed, friendly, consensus-based group operating as a big-tent society that welcomes, supports and facilitates individual and working group initiatives that align with our values and those of the international Transition Town movement.

TS was officially recognized by the Transition Network in 2010 after foundational work by residents John Boquist, Margaret Critchlow, Andrew Moore and Michael Tacon. Our first public gathering was held at the T’Sou-ke Nation solar facility on June 23, 2010, and we’ve been busy on a wide variety of fronts ever since.

Learn more about our working groups and history online at https://transitionsooke.org.  If you’ve questions or wish to confirm that you’ll be attending , please email us at sooketransition@gmail.com.

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Dazzle & Delight: Caravan Stage Company at Sooke’s Gov’t Wharf

Nearly five decades after it’s birth at a Kemp Lake Road farmstead, the Caravan Stage Company is returning to Sooke’s Government Wharf for a three-night run of its urgent and spectacular “climatopian” rock opera Nomadic Tempest.

Moored at the foot of Maple Ave. South, the company’s troupe of actors, musicians, aerial artists and sound/visual technicians will perform aboard the tall ship Amara Zee. They’ll mount one show per night at 10 p.m. on Thurs., Fri., Sat. July 12, 13 and 14.

Screenshot 2018-07-04 08.57.03Nightly attendance is limited to 250 people. The site will open each night at 9 pm and it’s recommended you arrive no later than 9:30 to ensure a prime view. Dress warmly for this outdoor show. Please bring your own low-slung chair or blanket. 

Thanks to a community grant from the District of Sooke, tickets are by donation. Reserve and print-out tickets online at Eventbrite

A limited number of tickets may be available at the gate each night. Please consider purchasing your tickets in advance to guarantee admission.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of positions in return for a free ticket. If you’re interested, contact tour coordinator Miranda Feldtman at amarazee@gmail.com with the subject line “Sooke volunteer”, cc sooketransition@gmail.com.

Nomadic Tempest envisions a world devastated by climate change. The Vancouver Sun described it as “an outdoor Cirque du Soleil and IMAX hybrid with a smattering of J.R.R. Tolkien and David Suzuki.” The production continues a long Caravan tradition of presenting accessible agitprop theatre that delivers impactful wake-up-calls about the planet and modern culture.

Paul Kirby and his life partner Adriana Kelder (ne Zigay) rolled out of Sooke in 1970 with their one-wagon, horse-drawn puppet show to perform in communities across Vancouver Island. In time, the company grew to feature six wagons drawn by teams of Clydesdale horses that toured every corner of North America from its base in Armstrong, BC, racking up more than 20,000 horse-drawn miles.

After a hiatus in the mid-1990s, the Caravan switched from dry land to open water aboard the custom-built Amara Zee, a 30-meter long ship modelled after a traditional Thames River sailing barge. A shallow draft of 1.2 meters has allowed it to access hundreds of waterfront communities large and small around the world.

Audiences gather on the shore and experience original music, soaring vocals, aerial artistry and large scenic elements backed by spectacular lighting and sound effects. The production is a continuous cinematic panorama of originally designed video graphics, animations and images. Within the upper trusses and the lower decks, as the Aerialists cavort, a palette of surprises, colors, and mechanical transformations unfold.

After performing Nomadic Tempest along America’s gulf coastline last summer, the ship was transported through the Panama Canal for dates on the BC coast in the fall and a local moorage over the winter. Performances in Nanaimo and Courtenay will have preceded the Sooke dates, following which the tour will sail to Port Townsend, Bellingham and Seattle.

 

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Solstice Celebration at InishOge Farm

Our TS working group, the Sooke Region Multi-Belief Initiative, is hosting a summer solstice celebration this Saturday in the apple orchard at InishOge Organic Farm, 6698 Helgeson Road just east of Otter Point Rd.  All welcome, no charge. Bring a picnic lunch, whatever you need to be comfortable and your playful spirit. It promises to be a fun, communal and meaningful afternoon in the heart of the idyllic Sooke farmbelt.

Get to the farm at 11 am to participate in an hour-long work party involving lightweight chores as we offer some helping hands to our hosts, Steve, Mary, Finn and Chloe. Or arrive at Noon for the lighting of the fire pit (via Finn’s bow drill skills) and the start of festivities.

Screenshot 2018-06-16 13.15.09.pngOn the afternoon’s relaxed schedule will be a circle dance led by Vivi Curutchet; a witness circle led by Hum (Eric Anderson); a multi-faith singalong with Phil Rossner; and, if we’re all so moved, a drum circle (bring your own drums, rhythm instruments and noisemakers).

Everyone is free to participate as much or little as you like. Along with your own lunch, you’re invited to bring finger-food contributions (cookies, squares, etc.) for the potluck dessert table.

As InishOge’s Mary Coll will tell us, the longest days of the year signal the start of mid-summer and the time when, metaphorically and literally, the fruit of another growing season is ripening and ready to be picked. What might that bounty be in your own life? How can whatever it is be of service to yourself, your circles and the community at large? Thoughts to ponder and perhaps share during Hum’s witness circle.

By the way, the summer solstice is exact at 3:07 am Pacific Time on Thursday.

 

 

 

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Solstice Rising: June 2018

Our TS working group, the Sooke Region Multi-Belief Initiative, is hosting a summer solstice celebration on Sat. June 23 in the apple orchard at InishOge Organic Farm, 6698 Helgeson Road just east of Otter Point Rd. All welcome, no charge. Bring a picnic lunch, whatever you need to be comfortable and your playful spirit. It promises to be a fun, communal and meaningful afternoon in the heart of the idyllic Sooke farmbelt.

Get to the farm at 11 am to participate in an hour-long work party involving lightweight chores as we offer some help to our hosts, Steve, Mary, Finn and Chloe.

Or arrive at Noon for the lighting of the fire pit and the start of festivities. On the afternoon’s relaxed schedule will be a circle dance led by Vivi Curutchet; a witness circle led by Hum (Eric Anderson); a multi-faith singalong with Phil Rossner; and, if we’re all so moved, a drum circle (bring your own drums, rhythm instruments and noisemakers).

As InishOge’s Mary Coll will tell us, the longest days of the year signal the start of mid-summer and the time when, metaphorically and literally, the fruit of another growing season is ripening and ready to be picked. What might that bounty be in your own life? How can whatever it is be of service to yourself, your circles and the community at large? Thoughts to ponder and perhaps share during Hum’s witness circle.

By the way, the summer solstice is exact at 3:07 am Pacific Time on Thursday.

Also upcoming: 

Tues. June 19: Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure Open House, 4 to 8 pm, in the lobby at Edward Milne Community School. Drop-in anytime to talk to Ministry officials and share your ideas and frustrations about the winding road home as MOTI planning proceeds for phase two improvements to Highway 14. Slow-car pullovers and signage? Passing lanes? Roundabouts? Stop lights? Speed enforcement? More crosswalks? Now’s your chance to weigh in. If you can’t make it in person, feedback can be offered via email. More info on the current improvement program here.

Wed., June 20Zero Waste Sooke‘s regular third-Wednesday monthly meeting at the Sooke Library on Anna Maria Rd. Everyone welcome. 6:30 to 8 pm. Topics to be discussed include the next ZWS delegation to council (July 9), the Earth Day legacy fund, and early planning for the next Sooke Repair Cafe in October.

* Thurs., June 21National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. Local events are scheduled for the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (10 am to 3 pm), Royal Roads University (10 to 3 pm), the Royal BC Museum (starting at 10:30 am) and West Shore Parks & Recreation(11 to 3 pm). (shared on from the T’Sou-ke/Sooke Reconciliation Group.)

Sat., June 23: Drop by and visit with Zero Waste’s Jo Phillips at the Sooke Country Market from 10 am to 2 pm. Corner of Eustace and Otter Pt.

* Sun., July 1:  Sooke Canada Day at the flats  www.canadadaysooke.com

* Sat. July 7: Afternoon Tea in a Metchosin Country Garden.  Rolling Justice Bus presents a fundraiser for Site C dam legal challenges.  Featuring Sarah Cox, author of “Breaching the Peace”, hand-crafted eats and live music. 4856 Jelkinek Place. Recommended: $50/person, otherwise pay-what-you-can. To reserve a ticket: GardenParty@sitecsummit.ca

*Thurs/Fri/Sat, July 12, 13, 14: TS presents  Caravan Stage Company at the Sooke Government Wharf.  A world-travelling troubador group that originated in Sooke in 1970 performs from the deck and rigging of their ship the Amara Zee. Presenting “Nomadic Tempest” a Cirque de Soleil type production that is a cautionary tale about climate change. 9:00 p.m.  Tickets by donation.

* Sat., July 28: Compost Education Centre will be at the Sooke Saturday Market as guests of Zero Waste Sooke.  They will bring some demo composters and answer questions about the art of making compost no matter what your circumstances. 10-2

Closing with a few links from our social media streams: 

* Sooke residents are wanted for a new District of Sooke Affordable Housing committee led by Councillor Ebony Logins. Apply here. Deadline: June 29.

* High five to Sooke council for unanimously affirming the Charter for Compassion  following the June 11 presentation by the Sooke Region Multi-Belief Initiative’s Mark Ziegler. The SRMBI emerged from Mayor Tait’s 2016 Health Summit as one among other ways Sooke can evolve into even more of a caring community than is already the case. We’re planning a workshop in the fall as the local campaign continues. If you’ve not done so yet, please affirm the Charter online.

Download the District of Sooke’s 2017 Annual Report. Offer feedback in person at the Mon. June 25 Committee of the Whole meeting at the Municipal Hall starting at 6 pm.

* BC’s new Wild Salmon Advisory Council: x-month of public process vs this short-cut to solutions (aka the Cohen Commission) and action on its recommendations regarding fish farms.

Years of Living Dangerously: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk8izVrznFk. David Letterman investigates India’s solar revolution and SNL’s Cecily Strong learns how US utility companies are blocking renewables in many states.  Sound somewhat familiar?

* The CRD seeks public input regarding its new EV and E-bike Infrastructure Planning Project. Deadline for survey submissions is July 8.

* Become a Witness for the Peace and support the Treaty 8 legal challenge to the Site C dam.

* Andrew Coyne takes five minutes to explain why Canada’s electoral system is broken (recorded before Doug Ford’s victory in Ontario, where 17 percent of eligible votes delivered 100 percent of the power). Click here for a PDF of BC Attorney General David Eby’s How We Vote electoral-reform referendum report.

* Next on our speaker wish list: Dr. Peter Carter, founder of the Climate Emergency Institute and co-author of Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival. The Pender Island resident delivered a fascinating talk in Metchosin last month and we’d like to bring him here for a Sooke audience in the fall. A few (among many) reasons we need to hear from Dr. Carter: Exhibits A … B … … D … E … F.

A proposal for tiny home villages from Practical Utopian Guy Dauncey

* A wonderfully close encounter with a pair of Sooke’s wild things captured by a Project HOWL trailcam last month. Fast forward to 3:50 for a sniff and muzzle of the camera.

A fab and timely closing song … and one Phil might play by request on June 23 at InishOge Farm. Please join us 🙂

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