Community Economic Development Strategy

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Community Economic Development (CED) is about working together as a community and with partners towards a diverse local economy that helps all of Sooke to thrive. It’s also about learning from all sectors of the community, and supporting local businesses, organizations, professionals, service providers and citizens. Council’s commitment to take action on climate change will drive community economic development in Sooke. We are striving for Low Carbon Resilience, and the achievement of social, economic and environmental co-benefits for all Sooke citizens.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the summer/fall 2021 development of the CED Strategy and Action Plan through the business Walk, telephone interviews, discussions about town, and surveys. We have posted an Engagement Summary here.

Read the CED Strategy and Action Plan that District Council that Council approved on December 13, 2021. Watch for updates, and let us know if you have ideas or feedback on the Strategy.

Community Economic Development (CED) is about working together as a community and with partners towards a diverse local economy that helps all of Sooke to thrive. It’s also about learning from all sectors of the community, and supporting local businesses, organizations, professionals, service providers and citizens. Council’s commitment to take action on climate change will drive community economic development in Sooke. We are striving for Low Carbon Resilience, and the achievement of social, economic and environmental co-benefits for all Sooke citizens.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the summer/fall 2021 development of the CED Strategy and Action Plan through the business Walk, telephone interviews, discussions about town, and surveys. We have posted an Engagement Summary here.

Read the CED Strategy and Action Plan that District Council that Council approved on December 13, 2021. Watch for updates, and let us know if you have ideas or feedback on the Strategy.

DRAFT Community Economic Development Strategy

Between now and October 18, 2021, you are invited to leave comments in the Guest Book about the DRAFT Community Economic Development (CED) Strategy.

As you review, consider:

  • Which proposed actions do you feel are a high priority?
  • Is there anything missing that you think should be included?
  • Do you feel the proposed actions are achievable?

Thank you again for your participation, and for your commitment and excitement about the future of our community!

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

I hope that Sooke will stay as a gateway to beautiful beaches and forests.
The new development will balance the economy and environment.
I prefer that parks like John Philips Memorial Park stay intact.

ewaryszard 7 months ago

Thank you for all the good work on this strategy. My only comment is around the initiative to attract investment, entrepreneurs and business to Sooke. This may already be implemented, but I would be interested to see if there is criteria set out for the types of businesses that will be approved to become part of the community. It would be my hope that small, local businesses are given priority to big box, fast food, and chains, regardless of how these corporations compensate for their emissions. In my opinion there are already too many such businesses in the community centre and I would be disappointed to see more go in. I also agree with another contributor on here that developing tourism before the infrastructure is in place to handle the influx of people could be inconvenient to residents as well as potentially harmful to the local ecosystems. Again, thank you for your hard work, and all the community consultation.

alexlange 7 months ago

Sooke does not exist to the exclusion of the communities around it. It is the commercial hub of the region. It can host the events, weddings, conferences that cannot take place elsewhere. Our population is too small to draw in a big box store unless they plan to under cut and push out as many local businesses as they can, but then our will money drain from Sooke and go to the parent company. Do we have the facilities to accommodate large numbers of tourists wishing to escape the city? Many tourists will only be passing through Sooke to go further up the West Coast. We remain a location for buying food and gas at this point. Do we have a large marina to accept many boats into our harbour, and local shuttles to take them to the attractions we have? Thinking within the Sooke boundaries would mean more than doubling the current population to make new enterprises possible, but then we would never achieve the Climate goals of the OCP. Grouping new business on the employment lands might work if we have a senior Climate administrator to help identify and group new businesses so that they work in synergy to reduce waste and energy consumption. (ie: the heat waste from one company is reused as energy input for another company) Companies will only be attracted if their production costs are reduced so that they make more profit. When I worked for a northern BC college we had a very successful welding program that was based in a mobile unit that went from town to town training twelve students at a time. Work with Camosun College trades and training to fund local training in electrical, solar, mechanics, EV service, Agriculture, waste management and whatever else they think would fill a class. (submitted by Chris Moss)

L Moss 8 months ago

It would be helpful if the terms and initials were explained - like RFP, Employment Lands Strategy, etc.
Do we want foreign investment ( Canada Export Community Investments Programme) or are we able to form a sort of co-op of experienced (possibly retired) business niche experts to pair with entrepreneurs and local investment for start ups? Tell the RBC to get out of fossil fuel investment and invest in local green initiatives. I hate to think business money made in Sooke goes overseas. Same feelings about big box stores..
Setting up a co-working facility is needed NOW especially with the new housing going in which will make our GHG emissions skyrocket. The more people who can work /learn here, the less commuting. Green business incubator - great - NOW. Why expand tourism when unless there in an excellent transit system in place it will add to the exhaust. It may also damage our ecosystems if not well managed by people tramping where they ought not to and the possibility of wild fires. etc. Think carefully and have lots of staff on hand. I think a great idea is to import an instructor to Sooke, rather than have a group of students commute to a college to learn about certified work such as installing a potable rainwater system ( Ken Nentwig who lives in Metchosin or Langford does this across North America), installing grey water systems, retrofitting windows and EV plugins, etc., doing energy assessments on buildings- as there is a long wait list due to lack of trained people. Support local farmers and home based businesses for a strong local economy please. Thank you.

L Moss 8 months ago

xx

AlyshaJ 8 months ago

Firstly thank you very much for your hard work on the CED Strategy.

1. My first thought is about the introduction which states "The District of Sooke has chosen to create....a holistic, integrated, and people-oriented view of the economy as opposed to a...money-first approach.."

This is a great start but given the intersecting social-ecological crises of our times (climate change, extraordinary biodiversity loss, pollution, lack of affordability, racism, colonialism and so on) and how they are interlinked within the global and local economy, we need a "Economics for Transition" founded not only in the human-social but in the ecological. A CED Strategy that is ecologically-oriented - which includes people as part of ecosystems - makes more sense to me. Especially given nature-based solutions (see Low Carbon Resilience) for climate change are central to climate action; and climate action will apparently be guiding the CED Strategy.

2. I agree with another participant that timelines need to be moved up - we are in a crisis and need to implement solutions as quickly as possible given how behind we actually are societally, in terms of continuing with "business as usual" and effectively responding to climate change.

3. Circular economy: great that new businesses making their way to Sooke need to be founded in principles of circular economy - I hope this stands strong. It would be wonderful to market Sooke as a leader in the circular economy and all that means (i.e., reusing, recycling, renewing, stewarding, and so on).

4. I struggle with the language "natural resources" and "sinks" given these entities are actually rich, biodiverse forests and marine environments for example, populated by stunning, various wildlife like hummingbirds, black bear, barred owl, harbour seal, coho salmon and more. Is it possible to include this kind of language in an economic strategy? It would be less objectifying, as these are creatures with their own lives that belong to the Earth - they are not simply here to be used and discarded as humans see fit. This is a change I'd love to see across the board in policy documents.

5. I agree with another participant who noted the contradiction with expanding nature-based tourism and the impacts on the land and biodiversity this could potentially have. Given the need to Sooke's biodiversity and maintain our "carbon sinks" i.e., awesome forests, I wonder about proper consultation with biodiversity and conservation scientists to determine what is a optimally sustainable level of impact.
Thanks!

AlyshaJ 8 months ago

Strategy Goals #1: compensating for GHG emissions should not be an option.
1.1 What is RFP? What is Employment Lands Strategy? Please define for the public.
1.1.1 The Canadian Export Community Investments Program is for attracting foreign investment to places in Canada. It is targeting the U.S., Brazil, China, Japan, Korea and Europe. and focusing on advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, chemicals, plastics, communication technology and clean technologies. Are the citizens of Sooke interested in attracting foreign investment? Several of the targeted countries have a poor track record when it comes to respecting the environment and human rights.
1.1.4. Do the feasibility study for a co-working facility now, not a year from now. A co-working facility is something that we need now and this is only the feasibility study. Early 2022.
1.3.2. Explore a District grant program for new green LCR enterprises to set up businesses. Great idea.....in early 2022; we cannot afford to wait until 2023.
1.3.3. Pilot collection of a waste product not currently collected in Sooke. This is such a baby step that it is not a step at all. Instead pilot a recycle/reuse yard in Sooke. Soon. Not 2023. Zero Waste Sooke has already sent Council a fairly detailed proposal for such an operation. This should be a priority.
1.3.4. Green business incubator conference is a great idea but it is only providing ground work so it needs to be held now, not 2 years from now in 2023 so that these businesses can actually start up.
2.3.4. Attracting a major recreation-oriented land use to expand tourist industry. This sounds good on the surface, but what are some of the potential consequences to the ecosystems and local hiking, surfing, biking, camping, swimming, boating and picnic areas from increased tourist recreation activities? Destruction of delicate ecosystems, over-crowding of some of our favourite local recreation areas, fire danger, garbage and parking problems are a few.
3.1.2. Support training for new types of jobs related to home and commercial building energy retrofits. Yay! Great idea.
3.3.1. Prepare a staff report to the CED and Council about finance programs that support a circular economy and reduce economic leakage with a focus on programs that will help enhance food, water and energy security in Sooke. Yay. Another good idea.

Jo.P 8 months ago

The highest economic priorities should reflect the climate emergency more clearly. Sooke's 50% GHG reduction goal needs to be made achievable, despite whatever other changes to the budget, policies etc. may need to be made. All existent businesses in Sooke should be required to be Low Carbon Resilient businesses, and should be helped to transition as soon as possible to a net-zero carbon model. Specifically, under Strategic Goal #1, Sooke should keep focused on:
• a circular economy,
• the protection (ie. no more development) of natural resources and sinks,
• providing protection from climate risks, and
• not increasing Sooke's GHG emissions at all (it isn't enough to 'compensate for' them, in my opinion, and it is my understanding that the DOS has committed to a 50% reduction by 2030).

calendula 8 months ago

Focus on making Sooke an attractive location for employers of all types, especially larger employers. This will have far greater positive impact on our environmental footprint as it will allow residents to live and work in Sooke which is currently nearly impossible for the majority of our residents. An attractive climate for businesses (low fees, regulations, etc) will benefit our whole community. Businesses will not decide to locate in Sooke solely based on an updated website and trade show marketing - the local climate must offer competitive reasons to support locating here over other communities.

Kim 8 months ago

The number one priority of this District should be to eliminate all lights on Sooke Rd and install roundabouts to allow for constant traffic movement. The growth that has been allowed to continue without infrastructure or thought to how this will affect those that commute for work and school is mind boggling. The District needs to address the issues that these traffic lights have created by advocating to MOTI to do this change now! And the constant removal of greenspace and forests in this district needs to stop.

JBean 8 months ago

What should be of high priority is the local traffic on Sooke rd from 2pm to 5pm Monday -Friday. To be patient is so far the only answer bit for the thousands of daily commuters it’s a chore! If proposals for a solution were being talked about or posted might create some hope. With the current residential developments underway this problem with just compound over the next 18 months that will create extreme tension & road rage. We must have a huge allowance created in our budget for these road solution upgrades

Bradders 8 months ago

Presumably any new development and/or investment in the area will need to tick all the boxes of the co-benefits flow chart in order to be approved to make sure the end-goals are being met?

alisonhogan 8 months ago
Page last updated: 11 Mar 2022, 08:18 AM