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Posts from the ‘Sooke Parks’ Category

Sooke Beaches: Fishboat Bay Park

Sandy beach

Beautiful Sandy Beach at Fishboat Bay

I know summer is drawing to a close and school is back in next week, but I noticed this morning that the forecast had changed – where rain was called for on the weekend, it now looks like the sun will be out on Saturday and Sunday. This could be one of the last weekends of the year to enjoy some beach time on our beautiful island. While sandy beaches seem to be few-and-far-between in the Sooke Region, when you find one you’ll want to return again and again.
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Sooke Parks in Profile: China Beach (Juan De Fuca Provincial Park)

At low tide there is plenty of sand to play on.

It’s been way too long since I posted about parks in Sooke. My wife’s sister is in town for a few day and we took advantage of the great weather we’ve been having lately for an excursion out to China Beach. Located at the trailhead of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail just a few kilometres west of Jordan River, China beach is a bit of a hike from the parking lot, but is well worth it! Read more

The Whiffin Spit Christmas Tree – A West Coast Christmas Tradition

The Whiffin Spit Christmas Tree

When I first came to Sooke to look at the house I eventually bought, I took a walk out Whiffin Spit. I knew nothing about the community that would become my home and my chosen place to start a family. I didn’t even know what Whiffin Spit was, I was just driving around exploring and found this cool seaside park with a light at the end of the path. It was just after Christmas, and as I meandered along the path, in addition to the many friendly people I saw and lots of dogs, there it was, this tree. Read more

Sooke Parks in Profile: French Beach Provincial Park

French Beach Provincial Park is a 59 hectare (146 acre) camping and day-use provincial park, about 22 km from the centre of Sooke. It’s a scenic 15-20 minute drive along West Coast Road. Roughly triangular-shaped, the park fronts upon the Strait of Juan de Fuca and its sand-and-pebble beach is about a mile (1.6 km) long, so there is lots of shoreline to explore and places to relax and enjoy the scenery. Read more

Sooke Parks in Profile: East Sooke Park

The Coast Trail in East Sooke Park

Welcome to a new series on What The Sooke?!: Sooke Parks In Profile. Sooke has some amazing parks – and I want to tell the world about it. From East Sooke to Port Renfrew, our region is dotted with pockets of green space and vast swaths of wilderness, and I’m sure there are even parks you never knew were there. This series is dedicated to profiling our region’s parks.

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Sooke Seeks Your Opinion On Galloping Goose Connector

Cyclists get a great view of Sooke Basin on the Goose.

A few weeks ago, my Twitter feed for Sooke turned up a post from a justifiably irate cyclist from Vancouver, who heard about this little town called Sooke at the end of a fantastic little bike trail known as the Galloping Goose. Much to his chagrin, to actually get to Sooke from the Goose required hopping off the trail and heading west along Sooke Road (Highway 14). As we all know, the only road in and out of Sooke is very busy at peak periods. Not surprisingly, our friend from Vancouver didn’t exactly feel safe, and was even introduced to one of our more, shall I say, colourful locals in a “… giant pick-up truck who … while honking loudly … roared away… giving us the finger…”

Way to welcome the visitors, buddy.

Anyway, his scathing blog post got me on the defensive, because I knew that the town had already recognized the problem and had been working to fix it. In fact, Joe the Cyclist posted an update with quotes from emails he’d received in response from Mayor Janet Evans and her staff (good job!).

The District of Sooke has been contemplating a separate crossing of the Sooke River for cyclists and joggers for quite some time. And, as it turns out, the design work for this project is well underway. At The District of Sooke Community Open House on October 21st, residents (and visitors) are invited to give feedback about the four proposed designs. All four designs will also include the associated connecting trail networks to link the Galloping Goose with the east-west trail network north of Sooke Road/West Coast Road that has been quietly building out over the past decade or so. Construction of the crossing is expected to take place in 2012.

Another thing that Joe mentioned was the lack of cycling-friendly facilities in the town centre. Even something as simple as a bike rack was difficult to find outside a business. This is something the Chamber should get behind – perhaps a bulk buy of some bike racks or arranging sharing the cost outside a central location near several businesses. Also mentioned was the lack of a bike rack at Whiffen Spit Park. Cyclists are not allowed on the Spit, but should certainly still be provided a safe place to secure their bike so they can enjoy the best views in Sooke along the Spit.

I’d like to thank Joe for his constructive criticism of our cycling infrastructure. It’s direct input like this, from visitors to our town that carries the most weight for improving our increasingly tourist-based local economy.

Thoughts? Opinions? I’d love to hear from the business community, if you’re reading.

The District of Sooke Open House will take place on Thursday, October 21st, 2010. It starts with a tour at Municipal Hall from 1:30-4:00 and then the open house at the Sooke Community Hall, Sheilds Road, from 4:00-8:00. More information can be found in the latest District Quarterly.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke Potholes Camping To Resume Spring 2010

Image Credit - The Land Conservancy of BC

Since the Capital Regional District and The Land Conservancy bought up some formerly private land around the Sooke Potholes a few years back (they recently bought some more), lots has been done up there. Expanded parking, trail work, Galloping Goose Trail upgrades, and the Sooke Potholes Campsite.

Unfortunately, due to CRD water main construction, the campsite was closed for the entire 2009 season. I’m pleased to report that the campsite will be open from May 21 to September 6, 2010. The Sooke Potholes Campsite, operated by The Land Conservancy of BC, features 65 campsites (55 tenting sites and 10 RV/trailer sites), including 5 that are along the Galloping Goose Trail and are designated as bike-in only. Reservations are taken for most of the sites, but some are held for first-come, first-served park visitors.

Activities at Sooke Potholes Park include hiking, cycling, mountain biking, fishing, and of course, swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Sooke River, in the naturally-formed “potholes” that give the area its name.You can even hike or bike up to Leechtown, a real-life ghost town and relic of a short-lived gold rush on the Leech River in 1864.

Camping is just $21 per night, plus a $7 reservation fee. Firewood is available for purchase (as long as no fire bans are in place – typically in the hottest summer months) for $6.

Find out more information on the Sooke Potholes Campground website, including frequently asked questions and fact sheet. Online reservations for camping at Sooke Potholes will be available mid-April, 2010.

I also noticed that they are hiring support staff for the campground.

What’s your favourite campsite in the south-Island region? Why?

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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CRD Agrees To Buy Sandcut Beach, Jordan River, Sooke Potholes Lands from WFP

Photo credit: sometimes_anna on Flickr

The Capital Regional District (CRD), along with non-profit The Land Conservancy (TLC) has agreed to buy up more than 2300 hectares (nearly 5700 acres) of land that was slated to go up for sale today. The land, belonging to Western Forest Products (WFP) has been the subject of much controversy in our area since the provincial government allowed WFP to remove its private lands from a tree-farm license (TFL) in 2007.

The lands being purchased include Sandcut Beach, the Jordan River surfing beach and townsite, and lands surrounding the Sooke River near Sooke Potholes Park.

While some of the land on the interior side of the highway may be sold off to help finance this purchase, most of it will be dedicated as park. One exciting feature of this deal is that the land acquired near the Potholes completes the Sea-to-Sea Green-Blue Belt, which, besides having the distinction of being the most awkwardly-named park reserve/network on the Island, will now stretch all the way from the Sooke Basin to Saanich Inlet.

The land deal is worth nearly $19 million, most of which is coming from the CRD’s parkland acquisition fund, and will be paid over 3 years. The rest of the money will come from TLC, and hopefully, the provincial government, who have been under fire since the land was released from the TFL three years ago. Many see it as an opportunity for the province to right a wrong that caused great controversy.

And speaking of the parkland acquisition fund… this is part of your yearly property taxes. Since it was established in 2000, it has been $10 per household per year, which has been well used in my opinion, protecting  nearly 3000 hectares of land at a value of nearly $31 million. Your contribution to the fund will be going up this year by $2, and will eventually rise to $20 per year, allowing the CRD to purchase lands such as the Jordan River WFP parcels for everyone’s use and enjoyment, forever. I’d happily pay $50 or even $100 per year to pad this fund and enable the special areas in our region to be protected. It’s a great example of taxpayer money going into something we all benefit from.

The deal is still tentative, but is slated to close in August. I’m looking forward to the CRD’s plan and longterm vision for these newly acquired lands.

What’s your take on this announcement? Good, bad, otherwise? State your opinion, but be nice to one another!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Fall Photo Walk Along The Sooke Harbour Boardwalk

As I watched the sun rising over the back fence and into my home office, I was reminded why I love this season so much.  The crisp, cool air, a bright blue sky, and the golden hue of the morning sun on the colourful autumn leaves prompted me to bundle up and shoot a few photos on a walk along the spectacular Sooke Harbour boardwalk.

Parking the car at the lot on Murray Road, I walked up Murray towards Sooke Road to capture some of the leaves in the trees. I had noticed this the last sunny day we had and had meant to get back there to capture it. Unfortunately the wind over the past few days has pretty much stripped the trees, but they still look pretty on the ground.

Walking down the hill towards the Rotary Pier/boardwalk access, I snapped a few photos of the sun shining through the leaves, and reflecting off the harbour.

I love looking at this house whenever I head out on the boardwalk.

The pier and boardwalk are framed perfectly by the trees

Just because it isn’t summer doesn’t mean you can’t toss a trap in the water for crab. It was deserted on the often-busy pier, save for this couple.

There were lots of leaves left on the trees along the water. The harbour was so still, it was like a mirror, reflecting the trees. Gorgeous!

The harbour boardwalk is a real gem, we’re lucky to have it. It goes from the bottom of Murray Road all the way to Ed Macgregor Park, where it switch-backs gently across the slope offering easy access to and from the water.

I hope you enjoyed the photos! If you’d like to see the whole set, you can view it on Flickr.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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