Transition Sooke is urging Sooke council to make climate action the overarching framework for Sooke’s new official community plan.
“Sooke supported the Capital Regional District’s Declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019 to move to carbon neutrality by 2030. Sooke does not have a climate action plan, so the OCP is the logical place to address the climate emergency,” Susan Belford, a Transition Sooke volunteer, told council this week.
The official community plan, commonly referred to as an OCP, is a document that sets design guidelines, policies and expectations on development throughout the community.
The district is reviewing the plan, adopted in 2008, with the hopes of creating a new plan within two years.
“Climate change is already happening, it’s inevitable, and it will radically change our community,” Belford said.
“We’re not looking for a few inspirational words here. Climate change can only be achieved with an overarching framework that recognizes that the climate emergency impacts every aspect of community life.”
In 2017, the province amended the Local Government Act mandating municipalities to set greenhouse gas emission targets in their OCPs. Several cities, including Courtney and Campbell River, have taken the climate emergency as an underlying frame for their OCP.
Mayor Maja Tait said the district wants the OCP to be an “all-inclusive” document, and input from all Sooke residents is necessary.
Council referred Transition Sooke’s request to staff and the OCP committee for further review.
“Sooke council recommends a practical OCP. In my mind, there’s nothing more practical than addressing the certainty of the climate emergency,” Belford said.
Formed in 2011, Transition Sooke focuses on regaining control of the future of Sooke by reducing the impacts of climate change, dependence on fossil fuels, and vulnerability to global economic instability.