Sooke Seniors and Youth Community Centre
Created October 14, 2012 by Johanne Thompson
District of Sooke is a small town on the west coast of Vancouver
Island. Incorporated in
1999 Sooke has a population of approximately 10,000 and serves as the
business/service centre to the outlying communities of East Sooke, Otter Point,
Shirley, Jordan River and Port Renfrew,
adding another 5,000 to the total residents served. The Sooke Region has a relatively young
population when compared to the Provincial average and has a healthy retired
population as well. Recent
Capital Region District figures show that the District of Sooke has grown from
8,735 people in 2011 to 11,723 people in 2011. That is an unbelievable growth
rate of approximately 34% in just 10 years.
started out as a farming community and evolved into what it is today due to the
strong volunteer commitment. We have
laid claim to the title ‘Volunteer Capital of Canada’ and are well in the
running to living up to that title. Despite the
small population, Sooke Residents volunteer their time and take part in an
astonishing 160+ Community Groups and Non-Profit Organizations.
do not have a Youth Centre and three years ago our Seniors Drop-in Society lost
their space. Now we not only don’t have
much for young people to do but our seniors are also left without a long term
place to meet and socialize. We need a
Community Centre that will serve all ages with a specific focus on youth and
is perfect for a collaboration of non-profit youth, senior and community
organizations to negotiate with the developers of a new complex called ‘Mariners Village’ here in Sooke. Their newest building will be completely
accessible, at street level and on the main bus route. The developers are willing to work with us to
the level they can to support this project.
The District of Sooke is also committed to supporting the health and
wellness of their citizens of all ages.
The Vancouver Island Regional Library is interested in this location and
the possibility of partnering with a Community Centre. Additionally, many local businesses have
expressed verbal commitments to support a Community Centre.
the various parties involved and their respective interests it is important to
develop a business plan outlining costs, usage of space, and how each user will
fund their use. Regardless, shared
resources will be a win-win situation for all.
believe that despite the size of our small community we will be able to pull
together the many volunteers, generous business owners, grant opportunities and
powers that be to make this project happen.
It took 40 years for our community to convince the powers that be that we
could build and fill a 40 bed extended care facility (which we did). We don’t intend to wait that long for a
number of community groups have been working on finding a new home for our
seniors since 2009. Other groups have
been exploring avenues for a youth centre, and another group has been working
to create a Volunteer Centre for the Region.
of the reasons we are keen to apply through the AVIVA grant opportunity is that
it requires community engagement. We
will be reaching out to the communities in our region through local papers,
radio & television as well as at community functions. We are ready to roll. We have lots of community involvement already
and are looking forward to engaging the greater community to help design a
brand new Community Centre!