Summer 2010 :: Vol.2 No.3
Businesses in Sooke and Greater Victoria are invited to contribute their environmental profiles and success stories to this webpage. $59+gst story posting fee for text with contact info and link.
To submit your contribution to this page in 2010, write to email@example.com or phone 250-642-7729.
How Eco-Savvy are you? Try this quiz.
Homes & Buildings
Housing & CMHC funding
Feb.26, 2010. Federal and Ontario provincial governments announce energy efficient upgrades for affordable housing.
Jan.20, 2010. Federal government helps expand financing for student housing.
Hydro Rates - tough on consumers
The rates for electric energy as supplied by BC Hydro are a challenge for those with larger families. The base rate of 5.91 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) is charged for the first 666 kWh consumed by a household over 30 days (Step 1) and 8.27 cents per kWh is charged for any use over that level (Step 2). That rate change came into effect in April 2009. As colder weather approaches, consumers will notice considerable increases in the amount due on their BC Hydro bills, especially if their homes and hot water heaters use electricity. Ironically, it was BC Hydro that pushed several years ago for electricity as a 'cleaner' alternative for home heating. The BC Utilities Commission might be pitched to enforce the installation of smart meters in all electrically-heated homes and offer a low rate for power consumed in the overnight period.
These are some local electricians in the Sooke area who install solar electrical generation systems (arrays) for residential customers: Dale's Electric, HES Home Energy Solutions, Sooke Electric.
SOS Design provides eco-friendly housing architecture and design services. A collaboration between Heather Spinney (graduate, Carleton University's School of Architecture, Ontario) and Peter Schionning (graduate, Royal Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture, Denmark), SOS Design's recent projects include two homes with unique requirements -- one at Telegraph Cover, BC near the northern tip of Vancouver Island (construction issues of labour, accessibility and climate) and one in the heart of South Oak Bay on Oliver Street (renovation turned into a custom, pre-fab new build to achieve the most floorspace on a small lot while maintaining aesthetic appeal). [Photo: Peter and Heather have installed a solar-powered hot water tank at their home office.] Peter Schionning and Heather Spinney, SOS Design, 735 Front St., Victoria, BC. Ph: 250-384-9224
GreenStart Business Program
October 2010. A new pilot program called GreenStart has been launched by the Capital Regional District (CRD) and City Green Solutions, designed to educate and assist small businesses in reducing their environmental impacts and improving their bottom line. Twenty participants were accepted into the program by the Oct.31/10 deadline. Media Release
A Sea of Bloom
Sept.2009. At A Sea of Bloom, when available, I sell flowers from my own garden, less gas emissions (only coming from Grant Road), and no pesticides. I also buy locally grown flowers from East Sooke and Brentwood Bay. I got into floral design by growing and selling cut flowers. I leased a farm in Metchosin but recently had to give it up because I have the store now. Karen Stones, A Sea of Bloom Floral Designs, 6653 Sooke Rd., Sooke, BC. Ph: 250-642-3952
Double 'D' Gardens
Sept.2009. On a day-to-day basis at Double D Gardens we put our imaginations to work creating new uses for old items. Hanging baskets are suspended from an antiquated satellite dish turned upside down, supported with a recycled piece of pipe, providing dappled shade to plants on a warm day. Old metal outdoor chairs with missing seats make great holders for planters. We also recycle and share pots that people have collected. A large moss basket graces an old metal frame that a chair once hung from. We also display old farm machinery and tools. We grow organically and encourage beneficial insects along with housing a healthy honey bee hive in the vegetable garden. All vegetable greens are given to the neighbour's chickens and in return we receive eggs with bright golden yolks and loads of flavour. All garden and household vegetable waste is fed to the chickens or composted. In summer, vegetable cooking water is cooled and diluted for the potted flowers on our deck. Lately we made a fence made from branches that fell in the winds of Dec. 2006. Karen and Ken Longland, Double 'D' Gardens, 1958 Maple Ave. S., Sooke, BC. Ph: 250-642-5469
Sooke Garden Network
Aug.2009. Three gardens are now underway as part of the Sooke Garden Network, a spinoff from the Sooke Food Community Health Initiative. The gardens are supported by VanCity, District of Sooke, Union of BC Municipalities, BC 150 Foundation, and the RCMP Community Consultative Committee. Project coordinator Jessica Bouquist organizes garden work parties that serve to maintain the gardens: T'Sou-ke Nation Lady Bug Garden (behind the field at Saseenos Elementary), EMCS Culinary Arts Garden (other side of the sports field at Edward Milne Community School), and CASA Teaching Garden (2145 Townsend Rd). Jessica's experience as a hobby gardener grew through working in urban agriculture at UVic but it was her ability to work with volunteers and organize workshops that landed her the garden coordinator's job in spring 2009. Jessica Bouquist, Sooke Garden Network. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fruit Gleaning Project
Aug.2009. Rather than have untended fruit from local trees drop and go to waste, the Fruit Gleaning Project (a spinoff through the Sooke Food Community Health Initiative) accepts requests from any Sooke area property owners wishing to have their untended fruit trees harvested. Small groups of volunteers will be sent to the property and the harvested fruit will be divided among the property owner, volunteers, and local non-profit agencies focussed on distributing food to area residents. An additional benefit of the project will be its potential to reduce bear-human interactions. Traditionally, untended backyard fruit trees have attracted bears which often damage trees while foraging for over-ripened fruit; promptly picked fruit helps avoid unhappy property owner and occasionally having to destroy bears. Jordan Marr, Sooke, BC. Email: email@example.com
Sept.2009. A range of composting and landscaping services are available from Compost 21. Garden expert Donald C. Mills can provide you with your own rotating compost barrel setup along with instructions on producing high quality compost (in 21 days in summer, but effective year-round). Mills offers setup services and/or management tips for backyard herb and crop gardening. Donald C. Mills, Compost 21, Sooke, BC. Ph: 250-642-2041
Green Party of BC
May 2009. BC Green Party leader Jane Sterk, spoke with MapleLine Magazine after the May 12, 2009 provincial election. She has plans for ushering environmental issues to the top of the agenda for the 2013 election. See article online or in MapleLine Magazine's Fall 2009 print issue.
Page content copyright 2009-2010 Brookeline Publishing House Inc.
Retail & Accommodation
Sooke Harbour House
Sept.2009. Since 1979, Sooke Harbour House has offered "luxury with a conscience". Environmental practices are incorporated into daily routines of all areas of the Inn, from non-toxic cleaning products to substantial composting programs and a grass-paved parking lot.
Natural cleaning solutions include citric acid, rhubarb and vegetable-based cleaning products, and vinegar. Water conservation efforts include efficient shower nozzles and low-flush toilets in the 28 rooms as well as a water reclamation and recycle program that in 2004 reclaimed 7,397,207 litres of water (of which 1 million litres were used for flushing). Recycled water is also used for irrigation of gardens and lawns. The green parking lot for up to 44 vehicles was created in 2003; the grass turf is built on a rock and sand base.
In the guest rooms, visitors may re-use sheets and towels for more than one night. Efficient in-floor heating is in 50% of the rooms. Insulation, thermal pane windows, and draft proofing for heat conservation is constantly being upgraded. In 2004, Sooke Harbour House converted from propane to the cleaner-burning natural gas. All edible food gardens at Sooke Harbour House are organic. All kitchen and garden plant matter is recycled. An extensive bin compost system provides several wheelbarrow loads of compost per week in summer. Local purchasing of supplies for the hotel, restaurant, spa and art gallery is done wherever possible (to decrease fuel consumption dramatically and to support the local economy). Frederique and Sinclair Philip, Sooke Harbour House, 1528 Whiffen Spit Rd., Sooke, BC Ph.: 250-642-3421
"The Stick" Coffee House
Sept.2009. The Stick in the Mud Coffee House started right off the bat (upon opening, July 2007) with environmental practices that make a difference. The Stick sorts and sends soft plastics, milk cartons, tetra packs and other materials out for recycling at their own expense, and can boast a 70% in-shop waste diversion (aiming for 75% which they hope to reach soon). Paper cups are used (not styrofoam). Metal spoons are provided for stirring in cream and sugar; no disposable stir sticks. The next phase of The Stick business plan is coffee bean roasting, for which natural gas and electric coffee roasters are being considered. David Evans, The Stick, 6715 Eustace Rd., Sooke, BC. Ph: 250-642-5635
Salts Organic Clothing
Sept.2009. Salts Organic Clothing opened its retail outlet in Sooke town centre in 2007. All stock is locally made (most of it right there in the shop) which reduces the cost and pollutants of transportation. Natural fabrics such as organic cotton, soy, hemp and bamboo are used. From every purchase, 1% of what the customer has paid goes to One Percent for Humanity. The Salts Organic website provides educational information about natural fibres. Jennifer Graham, Salts Organic Clothing, 2052 Otter Point Rd., Sooke, BC. Ph: 250-642-2509