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Posts tagged ‘safety’

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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A Day In The Life of A Hero: Sooke Fire and Rescue Blog

Sooke Fire Department image credit: Mike Byrne,

I’m not sure how this escaped my Sooke Internet Radar™, as I’m usually up to speed on just about anybody doing anything online in our town, but did you know that the Sooke Volunteer Fire Department has a blog?

I discovered it yesterday via a Twitter search for Sooke. It appears to be mainly a forum for keeping the department’s many volunteers up to date on what’s been happening lately, but makes an interesting read for observers who’d like to know what all the sirens are about.

The blog is regularly updated, with the latest post being from January 18th, its tenth post so far of the year. There are a few pictures and lots of insight as to what it’s like being the first on the scene.

I highly recommend you check it out, and follow along the daily activities of those volunteers who help keep us safe in Sooke. Make sure you check out the sidebar near the bottom, which shows the most recent 30 incident responses.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Bear Safety in Sooke and on Vancouver Island

Photo Credit: Bobengr on Flickr

Photo Credit: Bobengr on Flickr

It seems that scarcely a day goes by without some news story about an encounter with humans and bears in British Columbia. Fortunately, injuries are rare, but unfortunately, the animals end up the victims, having to be killed in order to protect the public.

Last month saw the sensational account of a fisherman from Salt Spring Island who was on his boat, cleaning his catch in nearby Port Renfrew, when a black bear swam across the river, climbed into his boat and attacked him. It was only after several bystanders attacked and killed the bear with fishing gaffs and knives that the old, hungry animal relented.

This morning’s Times Colonist featured a story about a man beating to death a bear with a makeshift club after being attacked. Side note: Holy crap, get that guy the Manly-Man Of The Year Award!

As our urban development spreads further into forested and natural areas, these encounters become more common. Since living in Sooke, I’ve come across a couple of bears (from a distance, thankfully).

Here are a few safety tips to consider to keep you, your family, and the bears out of harm’s way:

  • Consider storing your garbage cans and compost behind a fence to make it less tempting for wildlife.
  • Stick to established, well-worn paths with good visibility. This will enable you to spot bears from a distance and you’ll be less likely to surprise one in dense foliage.
  • Make some noise while hiking. Bears rarely want confrontation; most incidents are from surprising an animal.
  • Be careful with food in the bush. Use food caches at Provincial parks, seal your garbage in plastic bags, and store food away from your tent
  • Consider carrying bear spray, but don’t use it as a substitute for smart planning and avoidance techniques.
  • Travel in groups – you’re safer in numbers. Don’t let kids or pets wander.
  • If you come across dead wildlife, leave the area and report it to park staff; carcasses attract bears.

It’s our responsibility to protect bears from becoming food conditioned by being careful with our food supplies and our garbage. Most encounters occur with bears that become used to frequenting an area for an easy source of food. The only solution for a food conditioned bear is to destroy it, hence “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

For more safety tips and bear facts, the BC Parks website has an excellent bear safety page.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Warning About a Creep in Sooke, Victoria, Colwood!

From an e-mail I received moments ago:

Just to let you gals know that there is a guy with a ORANGE TRUCK WITH BROWN CANOPY creeping around Sooke , Victoria and Colwood…He has a matress in the bed of his truck!  He usually hangs outside womens fitness places and then follows them. He has followed women running and walking down the street as well. He followed [name redacted] and I into [a] cafe today after our workout and apparently sat and watched us eat… We didnt know that until we left and the manager of [name redacted] told us.. Creeepy! She got photos of his truck and the licence plate to let the police know what he has been up to around Sooke. Apparently he is ” a person of interest ” to the police….so keep your eyes open and if you see him, you are supposed to call 911.

Be alert, people. If you have any information you’d like people to know, send it to me.

Tim Ayres

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Personal Safety – Complacency Can Kill

Good Morning Professionals,

With the news on the front page of the Victoria Times Colonist this morning about the murder of 24-year-old Lindsay Buziak while showing a house, I’m sure we’re all thinking about our own experiences with clients that just didn’t feel right. Remember, if in doubt, get out. That sale isn’t worth it. You might anger a legitimate client, but anyone worth dealing with would understand your need to take care of your personal safety. You might save yourself a headache from a difficult client or even worse, your life.

I never met Lindsay, but [edit for clarity: she had paged me to show one of my listings on Saturday].

Here are a few safety tips for REALTORS®:

  1. When you are introduced to new clients, meet them in your office first.
  2. Photocopy a client’s driver’s license, obtain the car make, and license number.
  3. Ask them to complete a client identification form and verify the client’s identity.
  4. Let your office know where you are, your schedule, and who you are meeting when going to a property.
  5. Limit the amount of personal information you share about yourself with a client.
  6. Be friendly with neighbours near the listed home and let them know when you will be showing the property.
  7. Program speed dial on your cell phone for 911 and use it when danger first appears.
  8. If you get a strange feeling about someone, pay attention to those gut feelings.
  9. Pre-plan escape routes from each level of a home, before you show it.
  10. Ask a friend to join you at a showing with a client that makes you somewhat uneasy.
  11. Arrive at the location in separate vehicles.
  12. Take a self-defense course.
  13. If you’re showing several properties, phone your office occasionally to check in (if you’re suspicious or fearful of someone, use these calls as a reason to return to the office immediately — BE CREATIVE).
  14. Never put yourself at risk to avoid social awkwardness. You have every right to be cautious. When in doubt—don’t.

The REALTOR® safety guide can be found here.

The real estate community in Victoria extends its deepest sympathies to Lindsay’s family.

Be careful out there.

EDIT: I’d love to hear your comments on safety. Any personal stories or suggestions? Use the comments form/link below.

Tim Ayres

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