Why CRD should declare a climate emergency – Jan 23, 2019

TS co-president Michael Tacon on why CRD should declare a climate emergency – Jan 23, 2019

Transition Sooke’s Michael Tacon addressed the Capital Regional District’s Parks and Environment Services Committee on January 23 in Victoria. He was one in a series of area speakers urging the CRD to adopt the climate emergency declaration proposed by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Saanich Councillor Ned Taylor and Sooke’s own Mayor Maja Tait. As Michael noted on receiving word about the initiative, “I was elated and relieved that finally – finally –  we have the beginning of ramping up a significant level of engagement with the biggest challenge confronting us with CLIMATE CHANGE (capitals intended).” Here’s his address in full . . .

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Michael Tacon and I represent the Sooke Transition Town Society (known as Transition Sooke) which is a citizen’s initiative working towards a resilient and sustainable community in the face of climate and societal change. We have been active in Sooke and region since 2010. I view the intention to declare a climate emergency to be a dream come true and that it represents a very important opportunity to help us come to grips with these immense challenges before us.

We must “get serious” about Climate Change. We must raise the profile of Climate Change so that it gets on the front pages of our print media – not somewhere on the middle pages – so that people understand how desperately we need to mobilize our resources on a massive scale – on a scale that is much more equal to the threats facing us. The time is NOW!

In my learning journey about Climate Change I am sometimes both inspired and overwhelmed. The complexity and interactive nature of Climate Change reaches into every aspect of life on this planet. Our unsustainable modern industrial civilization is pushing against the limits of our ecosystems to the point that major imbalances and crises are catching up with us.  Climate change is  creating many consequences in all areas of our lives: health, extreme weather, loss of fisheries, food supplies shortages, natural ecosystems, loss of species, wildfires, major storms, fresh water shortages, ocean level rise, droughts, loss of coral reefs, heat waves, flooding, climate refugees, and so it goes on.

We have worked hard in Sooke over the last 8 years to raise the awareness of what lies ahead of us. By going ahead with the declaration, we believe we can get us closer to crossing that threshold between ignorance and taking action.

We must push through the denials and resistance to change towards to embracing the urgency of what must be done to avoid catastrophic consequences and to renew and “green” our civilization”.

The science is clear: the facts are well known; everybody will be affected

Just imagine one of your children or grandchildren asking you this question:

“What did you do, once you knew?”

Are we ready, as a wealthy country, to do our fair share?

Perhaps we may need to say to those unwilling to get with the program:”Please get out of the way so we can get the job done. Our survival including yours is at stake whether you believe it or not. Are we ready to get on the job?

Michael Tacon is one of the co-founders of Transition Sooke, served as its first President and is now its co-president with Bernie Klassen.  Through the Sooke Region Lifelong Learning Network, Michael will be leading “A Primer On Climate Change,” a four-part seminar series on successive Thursday afternoons (1:30 to 3 p.m.)  from Jan. 31 to Feb. 21 at SEAPARC. Admission is by donation. To register, phone 250-642-8000 or visit www.seaparc.com. 

Minutes – Nov 7, 2018

Attendance: 21
Present: Bernie Klassen, Moki Tacon, David and Carol Mallett, Jo Phillips, Wendy O’Connor, 
Alan Dolan, Bev England, Susan Clarke, Wynn LeComte, Kara Middleton, David Merner, Brian White, Lily Mah-Sen, Robin Zabloski, Mick Rhodes, Jack Gegenberg, Hester Vair, Sinclair Philip, Ron Ramsay, Anna Kenklies

Called to order: 7:10 pm

Report on the Meet the Candidates event in regards to the municipal election:
– Very well received by attendee
– Appreciated by candidates
– Suggestion that next time we add the candidates for Regional Director as well (general agreement on this point)

Report on the Mayoral Forum
– Went well, well received
– Strong on fairness in reply time by each candidate—no one dominated
– Perhaps too many questions? (some agreement on this point)

Report on the Eco-Home Tour
– Some snags this year (i.e., tiny house was unfindable)
– About 60 people attended
– Down from last year
– Made for a more relaxed and accessible day

Report on Site C Dam evening
– Middle of the municipal campaign
– Over 30 people attended
– Very positive response from Amnesty International (Canada)
– Follow up in Sooke paper

Report on the Sooke Regional Multi Belief Initiative forum at Baptist Church
– About 50 people attended
– Intent was to develop several Compassionate Action Plans, particularly around homelessness, affordability challenges, social isolation, medical services, communications, cooperation, advocacy and awareness
– Report to come from forum, which will be posted on website and members informed

Report from the Website Re-Org Group consisting Alan, Paivi, Sue, Hester and Paula
– Group meeting to determine problems with the current website
– Design solutions and approaches brainstormed
– Recommendations to come forward at nest TS meeting

Question from the floor: “Should the press be invited to meetings as well as events?”
– General feeling was “no”
– Better that they are asked to events—events are the public face of TS; meetings are member-oriented

TS roles that still need to be filled:
– Roles don’t take much time
– Roles sometimes challenging but become simpler to fulfill
– Role descriptions will be put out to the mailing list
– Template will be developed, in order that coordinators have a simple way to post volunteer requirements to the website
– Lily volunteered to be the publicity coordinator (with help from Jeff and Jo)
– Kara expressed interest in coordinating volunteers (with help from Hester)

TS information table:
– Set up at the meeting so any issues about how it looked could be addressed
– Where’s the banner? (last seen on Earth Day)
– Bernie is making a banner for Sooke Zero Waste—when it’s done, design will be presented to TS meeting for discussion and possible adoption

TS Book Club
– First book of season to be The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
– Link to the book trailer: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1190467139607/
– Copies of The Marrow Thieves are available from the library—the library book club pack should be in soon, and copies will be available from Paula Johanson
– First meeting in January
– Contact Paula Johanson (paula.johanson@gmail.com)

New Business
Climate Change evening
– Proposed for either February 19
– Dr. Peter Carter and his wife will be staying in Colwood—we can piggy-back on that to bring him to Sooke
– Author of “Unprecedented Crime” with Elizabeth Woodworth
– Could/should be the kick-off event for local Climate Change action
– Could be a lead-in to Earth Day, 2019
– We can link up with Sooke Life-long Learners group for the evening
– Strong support from the floor

We need to talk to Modo about what it takes to set up a car share cooperative
– Do we need a permanent transit group?

Housing—both affordable and attainable
– Sooke Affordable Housing committee is to meet November 13
– Sooke municipal council initiative
– TS involvement is held in abeyance for now

Next Repair Cafe scheduled for Sunday, 21 April 2019

Treasurer’s Report
– Martin, the current treasurer, would like to step down at the Annual General Meeting
– Remaining money after last Earth Day event is about $4258.00
– Jo is still working on spending $2400 for locally placed recycle bins
– 20% of final total is to be transferred to Sooke Zero Waste for their current and future projects

From the floor: Kara – NEB review
– There is a 20 November deadline to comment on the new Trans-Mountain Expansion review
– Public comments are being accepted BUT by mail or fax only
– How to submit? Here’s the link: https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/prtcptn/hrng/tlbx/prsnttn/lttrcmmnt-eng.html#s1

Whales and salmon
– We need to hold an Orca and Wild Salmon town hall
– There should be a political component
– There are multiple people available for such an event
– proposed for March—as part of the lead-up to Earth Day

From the floor: Susan Clarke (with help from Jo)
– Re: Climate Café
– Hosting coffee meetings (at people’s homes or in cafés) consolidating and addressing concerns about fossil fuels
– Approved to go forward under the TS umbrella

From the floor: Moki
– Re: Proportional Representation
referendumguide.ca has a five-minute quiz that helps define what your preferences are
– Discussion around pro-rep followed

From the floor: Carol Mallett has offered to coordinate the speaker series (yay!) with help from David and Moki

Meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm. Discussion followed, and the meeting room had to be forcibly emptied at 9:30 pm. A great success, pats on the back for all concerned.

Notes prepared by Bernie with some editing by Moki and Alan.

Minutes – Dec 5, 2018

23 people in attendance

Called to order at 7:05 pm by Moki
– David Mallet is the new treasurer as of January 2019
– Some positions still available particularly a social media coordinator and a social convenor
– Housekeeping has been done on the website: Jeff Bateman removed as chairman, Moki and Bernie added as co-chairs. Website still needs proposal and changes and by whom?

– First book to be The Marrow Thieves and the second book to be 12 Years a Slave

– December film to be “Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket” with a post- screening talk with (Professor) Carey Newman
– February film to be the NFB documentary What is Democracy? presented jointly with TS

– Jo and Susan are proposing a series of “Climate Cafes”
– Discussion with a strong emphasis on action(s)
– Organizational meeting in early January; Call will be put out on the TS mailing list via Alan

– Movement for and towards making Sooke a Compassionate Community by creating an evolving series of Compassionate Action Plans (CAPs)
– The report on a recent meeting held on October 27th, 2018, which was a community based Open Space event to gather ideas and issues is now available on request.

– The Speaker Series is coordinated by Carol and David Mallett. They are proposing four events:
January 23, 2019 Open Space event entitled: “Envisioning Sooke in 2030” looking at what we should be addressing and what are the priorities? Location yet to be determined.
February 19, 2019 Dr. Peter Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth are presenting a hard-hitting presentation on abrupt climate change which includes calling out the climate change deniers as guilty of committing crimes against humanity. They then go on to offer game changer strategies for reversing climate change. The event is booked for the theatre at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke.
March event will be based on some of the issues growing out of January Open Space meeting
April 22, 2019 event proposed for Easter Monday/Earth Day.

– Suggested that a survey of vital signs for Sooke would be very important. The results could be forwarded to the District of Sooke Council and would be useful in the OCP review.

– Bernie offered to lead an exploratory committee on what could take place for Earth Day. It was suggested that the event could be framed as Earth Week and it could involve various groups such as the Ancient Forest Alliance and Coastal Carnivores. The theme this year is Protecting our Species

– Next meeting December 19, 2018 at the Sooke Library

– A proposed agreement was discussed between WWS and TS regarding working group responsibilities to the “umbrella society” i.e., Sooke Transition Town Society. A comment was made that it should probably be run past a lawyer. Martin and Moki signed the agreement.

Several times a year there is a meeting of the WWS working group with representatives of the District of Sooke to talk over how things are going. It was agreed that someone from the Steering Group should attend such meetings and be tasked with reporting back to the Group. Sue Lidster offered to take on this role.

– Martin Bissig, our treasurer, has informed us that he will look after the accounts until December 31, 2018 and will hand everything over to David Mallett in early January. He will also prepare the 2018 Financial Report.
– Martin reports the following balances:

TS main account = $6,006.33

ZWS account = $851.85

Special events account = $3,406.85. (This amount includes approximately $2,400 for ZWS yet to be used to purchase recycling bins committed to in May, 2018)

– Bernie wants to ask Council for changes to streetlights and asked for TS support. The goal is to convert all streetlights to LED or lowest energy use bulbs with lights pointing down – not lighting the sky.

– Jeff reminded everyone that previous delegations to Sooke Council were effective in maintaining a current profile and presence with Mayor and Council. This issue was tabled until 2019.

Issues that TS has taken to council in the past:

  • Being 100% renewable with our use of energy by 2050 (BCSEA)
  • Bylaw on cosmetic use of pesticides
  • Promoting bear-wise garbage disposal
  • Installation of public watering poles
  • Banning of single-use plastic bags

15) REMINDER TO GO TO THE “LOT A” CHARETTE – December 8 at Municipal Hall

Adjourned at 8:20 p.m. Let the party begin!

Turn down Murray Road towards the harbour at the traffic lights at Sooke Road and Otter Point Road. Go past the Anglican Church and turn left onto Horne Road. Harbourside is the big building on the right. The entrance is obvious and the great hall is on the left as you enter the lobby. Parking is OK on Horne Road (observe no parking area) and there is a public parking area at the corner of Horne and Murray Roads.

Minutes – Jan 9, 2019

Minutes – January 9, 2019

~25 people in attendance


Climate Change

  • Michael leading a course on with Sooke Lifelong Learners

“Envisioning Sooke in 2020”

  • Open Space event to be moved to March or April whenever the timing is right as this event will be linked to the OCP review process by the District of Sooke Council
  • Carol Mallett is the point person on this proposal.

Sooke Vital Signs survey

  • One has been done for Victoria and for Tofino. Should Sooke have one done?
  • Brian White pointed out that Tofino’s was well done and is available on the Tofino municipal website. He and Paivi can look into this and make a recommendation.
  • Sooke Pocket News recently linked to Sooke 2018 demographics

Earth Day 2019:

  • Link to a number of events under the Earth Day umbrella. Theme is “Protecting our species”
  • ZWS is to lead a spring clean-up again

Zero-Waste Sooke:

  • ZWS is operating another repair cafe – date/place to be determined
  • Promoting a ban on single use plastic bags. ZWS to resume pressure on council to pass a bylaw.
  • ZWS has a table at Seedy Saturday February 23.

OCP Review monitoring

  • We need to be aware how tourism in Sooke is being marketed especially as a hotel tax is proposed/coming into effect for marketing Sooke. It was stated that the development of the OCP is lacking in clarity about how tourism fits into the development of Sooke.
  • Concern was expressed that the appointment of a new CAO could lead to a rush to pass the OCP?

Street Lighting

  • Bernie wants to see the upgrading of street lighting to involve LED technology and point to the ground. He is going to to try and bring this before Council on January 28

Wild Wise Sooke

  • Samantha Webb, who works with Debb Read, talked about the bear resistant bins for garbage pick-up that are being manufactured with Alpine making an initial run of 50. Testing in Sooke to follow. All this is underway.

Woodside Farm Proposal

  • Patrick Gauley Gale would like to see either Council or the CRD parkland acquisition fund purchase this property for the benefit of the whole community. The steering group agreed with the spirit of his proposal and will offer whatever support we can.


Climate Change Cafe

  • Jo Phillips and Susan Clarke stated that the initial meeting is proposed for a Monday evening. Jo and David Mallett looking into locations. Word will go out in due course.

Sooke Region Multi-Belief Initiative (SRMBI)

  • Michael mentioned that Mark Ziegler has prepared a report based on an Open Space event last October. It covers compassionate attention and possible actions needed in 5 areas: Homelessness; Affordability as it relates to housing, food and child care; Social Isolation; Inadequate Heath Services; and how we work together through Communication, Awareness and Collaboration.
  • The next meeting is on Wednesday, 16th January at 2:30 p.m. at the Baptist Church. All welcome.

Wild Wise Sooke

  • An agreement between WWS and the Society was signed to clarify the responsibilities of each party to maintain a good working relationship.
  • The new Community Coordinator, Sam Webb, was on hand to bring us up to date with what’s happening with WWS and their work in Sooke. Their focus is gradually transitioning from bears to all wildlife.
  • There is a volunteer meeting on 22nd January at Seaparc, at 7:00 pm.


Sooke Pocket News

  • The group agreed that we should establish an active working relationship with Britt Santowski of the Sooke Pocket News. Thanks were expressed for her help and cooperation.

Appointment of a new Treasurer

  • Motion to appoint David Mallett as the new treasurer of the sooke transition town society “I move that Dave Mallett, a member of this Society in good standing, be appointed as the new Treasurer for this Society effective immediately.” Moved by Michael Tacon and seconded by Paivi Abernethy. The motion was passed unanimously.
  • Members requested that Martin Bissig be properly thanked for his help and services as our Treasurer for the last few years.

Earth Day Legacy Funds to pay for Recycling Bins

  • Jo Phillips announced the final numbers for these bins. For 1 outdoor and 2 indoor bins the cost will be $1,800 plus tax. The bin purchase was budgeted at $2,400 from the Earth Day Legacy Fund. Jo has worked closely with 2 volunteer sports groups in Sooke where the bins will be located. Jo was authorized to proceed and place the order.

Awareness Film Night with Transition Sooke

  • WHAT IS DEMOCRACY” is a new NFB documentary film to be shown at EMCS on Wednesday, February 13th at 7 p.m. Michael Tacon will facilitate a discussion after the showing.

Speaker Series presentation for February

  • Peter Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth, co-authors of the book “Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival”, will present their take on the climate crisis, who is responsible, and how Sooke and southern Vancouver Island will be impacted. A question and answer period will follow their presentations.
  • This event is set for Tuesday, February 19 at 7 pm at the theatre at EMCS.
  • Carol and David Mallett are handling the logistics and Lily Mah-Sen is looking after the publicity

Annual General Meeting of the Society

  • Annual General Meeting of the Sooke Transition Town Society at Harbourside Cohousing proposed for 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
  • Timetable: 5:30 pm Warm-up / 6 pm Potluck supper / 7 pm Meeting begins 7-30 p.m. Dessert and Socialize

Financial Report

Martin reported the current account balances as at December 31, 2018:

Main chequing account = $6,006.38

Zero Waste Sooke sub-account = $1,083.60

Wild Wise Sooke sub-account = $16,446.22

Special Events sub-account = $3,406.85

A more complete 2018 report will be presented at the AGM

Meeting adjourned shortly after 9 p.m.

Next meeting set for Wednesday, February 6 at Harbourside

Minutes by Bernie Klassen and Michael Tacon (Co-Presidents)

Appendix 1

2020 Vision via Stream of Consciousness Initiative

If anyone is interested, this organization makes it possible for us to put on a seminar about Transition Sooke using the skills and equipment available to us for a video presentation that could go viral using digital technology.

Check it out at www.streamofconsciousness.ca

For an example of one of their presentations done for Creatively United Victoria see:

Call to Action! Join us at Wednesday night’s monthly TS meeting

A New Years greeting from TS co-president Bernie Klassen ahead of our monthly meeting this Wednesday night, 7 to 9 p.m., at Harbourside Cohousing, 6669 Horne Rd. in Sooke’s town centre. Everyone is welcome to attend in heeding Bernie’s urgent call to action.

“Happy 2019 to everyone on the Sooke Transition Town mailing list!

2018 was a busy year in Sooke. From the Planet Earth Party: Sooke Region Earth Day Celebration back in April, through issues around transit and pipelines, to the municipal elections, where we made a real difference, we had a heck of a year. Everyone in Transition Sooke needs to take a moment to reflect and, yes, to give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done.

The Transition Town movement was born in Totnes, UK, only 13 years ago as a way forward in the face of peak oil (which petroleum scientists figure has come and gone, regardless of propaganda to the contrary), and climate heating. Transition Towns have accomplished a great deal, even in the face of government inaction and corporate push-back.

But 2019 dawns in the shadow of two new reports ~ the US Fourth National Climate Assessment and the IPCC Special Report 15 (aka “An International Panel on Climate Change Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty”). Both detail the horror-show we knew was coming and now, has already begun.

The IPCC report points out that “pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems. These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors. If we followed these pathways, we would have clear emission reductions by 2030.”

2030. That’s only four thousand days away.

We are not on track for those “emission reductions by 2030.” Not here in Sooke, not provincially, not nationally. Not even close. And, according to the Special Report, we are already at 1.0°C of global heating—and we have to hold heating to 1.5°C or less. So business as usual means runaway global heating likely within the lifetimes of those now born.

We have a meeting coming up on January 9. And at that meeting I know that I would like to hear fresh, bigger ideas, new ways forward. This town we love has to become sustainable and we have about 4,000 days to get that done. We also have to think a bit bigger in how we get our provincial and national governments to get off their collective rears and start making hard, significant changes to the way we live our lives.

We’ve done a lot—more than we think we have. But the gun is here and we are under it. We need fresh ideas, fresh faces, fresh energy. Let’s start thinking about how the changes we need are going to happen.”


(image credit: Global University Network for Innovation)

A CAP (Compassionate Action Plan) for Sooke

All welcome to this public brainstorming event as our Sooke Region Multi-Belief Initiative fields input and ideas for a Sooke Compassionate Action Plan.

Saturday, October 27, 1 to 4 p.m

Sooke Baptist Church, 7110 West Coast Road, Sooke. 

Bring your ideas and energy as we identify key local social issues, look at how they’re being dealt with in the Sooke region … and then hone in on practical ways to tackle them further as a united Sooke region community.

This open-space meeting is the important first step in the development of a realistic, achievable Compassion Action Plan (CAP) for Sooke. Please contact the SRMBI’s Mark Ziegler (markziegler@shaw.ca) or Donald Brown (donhbrown@shaw.ca) to confirm your participation, or if you have any questions or comments. The SRMBI is a collective of caring individuals who share in common a belief in the golden rule. It is not a religious or political organization.

Much is already being done by individuals and organizations on such issues as homelessness, social isolation, community engagement, harm reduction, and other critical matters impacting youth, adults, families and seniors in the Sooke region. 44065450_1959550797444461_8934213187557916672_n.jpg

The goal of the afternoon will be to identify as many as five key priorities that we as a community might want to tackle collectively with specific actions tagged to realistic timelines.  Under the direction of facilitator Michael Tacon, co-chair of Transition Sooke and a founding member of the SRMBI, the afternoon will unfold as follows:


i) Brief context-setting presentations from four speakers:

* Constable Sam Haldane, Sooke detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police;

* Kim Kaldal, president of The Sooke Food Bank Society

* Sherry Thompson, co-founder of the Sooke Shelter Society

* Jonny Morris, Director of Planning and Strategic Priorities for the BC Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association

ii) Attendees will then join breakout groups to develop lists of local issues and/or projects that a Sooke Compassionate Action Plan might address;

iii) Collectively discuss and identify which of these issues/projects should be included in the final CAP plan;

iv) Create specific activities (with time lines and resource requirements) through which community associations and agencies would work to implement the plan.

This Compassionate Action Plan will be subsequently submitted to Charter for Compassion International along with all else the SRMBI has been doing as we strive to secure official recognition for Sooke as a Compassionate Community.

We will also request that the document be incorporated within Sooke’s new Official Community Plan.

“We look forward to your participation in this important and ambitious workshop,” says Ziegler. “Building on the exceptional services provided by volunteers and service groups throughout our caring community, Sooke can join Victoria, Nanaimo, Parksville, Powell River and 400 other cities and towns around the world officially recognized as Compassionate Communities.”

Site C Speakers’ Night – Oct 17, 2018

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

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.

“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

Questions for Mayoralty Forum – Oct 3, 2018

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?






Transitions Open House – Sept 5, 2018

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.

Dazzle and Delight: Caravan Stage Company – July 12 – 14

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.

Nightly 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.