Taking care of our seaside community
means I will be a councillor who:

  • Seeks a new balance between development and the needs of local residents, to allow our infrastructure to catch up to our population growth.
  • Listens to community members - whether they need better sidewalks and bike lanes, affordable housing or a stronger local economy.
  • Protects what makes our rural community special, like our green and wild spaces, parks and agricultural land.
  • Leads a Sooke-specific response to the climate emergency and the risks to our community from extreme weather.
Anna Russell - red haired woman wearing glasses

Meet Anna

Raised on a farm. Experienced in government.
Supported by your neighbours. Ready to serve Sooke.

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sooke harbour

For ten years my family and I criss-crossed BC looking for the right rural community to move to. We had almost given up when we stumbled on Sooke.

In a beautiful natural setting there was this down-to-earth small town with a heart of gold and a wonderful climate. We hadn't found a place like it anywhere else in BC.

large house on a hill

But since then Sooke has reached a turning point, where it seems we’re at risk of losing what makes our home special.

Development that involves clear-cutting trees, blasting rock and blocking our views does not fit Sooke. Many people I talk to are welcoming of newcomers, but express sadness about what we have lost in the process.

Our community has also grown much faster than our medical services, sidewalks, bike lanes and transit. And despite the number of new homes being built, locals still struggle to find affordable suites to rent or homes to buy.

Meanwhile, growth without limits will make it impossible to meet our climate targets, and we’re already experiencing periods of extreme weather linked to climate change.

Anna Russel with a bicycle

We need to seek a new balance between development and the needs of residents, and think more strategically about how to take better care of our community and this place.

Sooke is special. I know: I looked for ten years and never found another place like it. Our community is united in wanting to keep what makes Sooke special. We have been told that it will have to get worse before it gets better, and that growth is the only way to get new services. But there are other tools we can use; we just need a Councillor willing to be a champion for this work.

I have the skills and experience to serve you on Council and I’m asking for your support.

Working in Council

As a Councillor, I will have only one vote out of seven. To be effective, I will listen, be well-prepared, be persuasive, and try to build consensus.
As a Councillor, I will look for opportunities to collaborate with others in the following areas:

  • Parks

    Keep Sooke rural, in part by expanding our parks and recreational areas, and protecting John Phillips Memorial Park.

    Create a jewel of a park in every neighbourhood. (This may include looking for ways to buy important parcels of land before they are lost to development.)

  • Waterfront Access

    Work with community members and property owners to build a consensus on what should happen with Sooke’s waterfront.

    Ensure more public access to the waterfront, while planning for sea level rise.

  • Farming and Food

    Protect our agricultural land base, including land in the town centre, and support farms and food production on that land.

    Create a food hub to process and distribute locally-produced food, perhaps with a pop-up “incubator” space for new restaurants and food trucks.

  • Climate Action

    Ensure real action on the climate emergency, including implementing the 7% Solution I designed to cut our current greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030. Ensure all new homes built come with electric heat pumps.

    Develop a serious plan to address the risks to our community from extreme weather events such as forest fires, heat domes, drought and flooding.

  • Development and Community

    Increase oversight on large development projects.

    Seek a new balance between development and the needs of residents by securing part of the increased value when land is rezoned for major developments, as a financial contribution to the District. The fund could be used to create new parks and truly affordable housing.

  • Traffic Congestion

    Ensure bike paths and sidewalks are funded on par with new roads for vehicles and work with SD62 to reduce school traffic.

    Seek a partner to run a pilot project for a direct coach running from Sooke to a commuting destination shared by a number of residents, and Lobby BC Transit to implement its excellent transit plan for Sooke.

  • Affordable Housing

    Set aside land for affordable housing projects and consider a local development commission so we can build affordable homes ourselves.

    Ensure the needs of renters are given sufficient attention by Council.

  • Reasonable Growth

    Require an updated analysis of our housing needs.

    Challenge the Capital Regional District’s expectations for how much Sooke will grow.

  • Caring Economy

    Explore ways to bring better medical services to Sooke.

    Expand a caring economy based on health services, education and social services with local leadership and good jobs for residents.

  • Green Economy

    Provide supports to local builders so they can take on projects for green homes and multi-unit residential buildings.

    Support construction workers so they can take on important roles in the growing field of building energy audits, retrofits and heat pump installation.

  • Local Economy

    Consult with commuters to find out what supports they might need to “bring home” their jobs.

    Consult local businesses about how the District can help them thrive in Sooke, and explore ideas for new enterprises in a green and caring economy.

  • Integrated Economy

    Investigate the creation of special zones for “maker hoods” or mixed-use spaces where people can live, work in light industrial processes and sell goods and services all from the same unit.

Contact me with your comments or to make a donation

I acknowledge that I live, work and play on the unceded traditional territories of the T’Sou-ke First Nation and the Sci’anew First Nation.