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Student prepares to run full 55km of Galloping Goose for peace

Plus, bear destroys shed, spots for new Sooke garden, traffic petition and more

Good morning! 

The Sooke community is gearing up for an upcoming garden project, and the team is looking for input from residents on locations. Hosting two open houses next week, read all about the project and more in today’s edition.


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Local masters student gears up to run Galloping Goose Trail for peace

Zahra Ardali after completing the Oak Bay half marathon. Photo: Submitted

Zahra Ardali has been an athlete her whole life. Prior to becoming a masters student in sports coaching at the University of Victoria, Ardali grew up in Iran and represented her country as a professional duathlete with a third place ranking in both the 2022 Asia Triathlon Duathlon Cup Tabriz and the 2020 Karaj ASTC Duathlon Asian Cup. Now, she’s taking on a new challenge to show the world her resilience in not just sports, but also in her beliefs. 

Ardali is running the full 55 kilometres of the Galloping Goose Trail from Victoria to Sooke this upcoming Canada Day to raise awareness for peace. With war and disasters filling the everyday news channels, she says she wants to bring attention to small but difficult actions and how that can change the world.

“These days I hear very sad news from all over the world and I decided to run 55km, not just to push me physically, but because peace is something that's close to my heart,” says Ardali. 

In preparation, she has been running 20km everyday and mixing in strength training. Despite the difficulty of balancing work and school life with training, she wants to prove to people that when they set their minds to a goal, they can achieve it. 

“It's hard to have a good frequency and continue every day and improve because I work,” says Ardali. “But I took on this challenge, a run that is longer than a marathon, to show to all of the world that something that is very hard can provide a lot of value.” 

Ardali has set up a GoFundMe page to help with her running supplies and is promoting her run across her social media platforms to invite people to watch her accomplish her mission in highlighting peace. By starting with a small action, a run with a message to come together, Ardali is creating a call-to-action for community members to accomplish their own goals and to take a step forward in making a difference in the world. 

“I believe that peace can start with small things and that we should be kind and understanding to everybody no matter who they are or where they come,” says Ardali. “If everybody starts from a point, and I believe that a very small action can show peace to all of the world.” 

No matter if it’s raising funds, hosting a meetup, or even just completing a run, Ardali looks forward to seeing residents support the cause and come together as a community to unite for peace.


Sooke residents asked to weigh in on community garden locations

Sooke Community Garden concept. Photo: Transition Sooke

The Sooke community is growing in more ways than one, and local group Transition Sooke is helping it along the way. The group is looking to the community to help them decide the perfect spot for the Sooke Community Garden project.

In cooperation with the District of Sooke, the Sooke Community Garden project is inviting residents to engage in two separate open houses and decide which option they feel is best suited for a community garden. Located at Woodland Creek Park and Ponds Park Corridor, citizens can check out both and vote on which park they would like to see the garden in. 

“As higher density development becomes more commonplace in the Sooke core, retaining space for residents to learn about and grow their own food close to their homes is growing in importance,” says Levi Megenbir, spokesperson from Transition Sooke.

The intention of the Sooke Community Garden project is to create space for local residents to grow their own food in allotment gardens. There will also be commons gardens designed to grow food to support the Sooke Food Bank. Megenbir told the Westshore that the types of plant species will vary based on the location and members involved, which will be finalized after completion. 

“We have been exploring the possibility of creating community gardens in some Sooke parks,” says Ellen Lewers, spokesperson for Sooke Region Food CHI. “We feel that growing vegetables in our parks is an appropriate activity and could provide direct benefits to the community.”

Transition Sooke has partnered with a number of groups throughout the planning stage; the District of Sooke Community Climate Action Seed Funding grant provided Transition Sooke with a total of $7,000 over two years to support critical start-up costs. Looking for a suitable location, Transition Sooke also worked with community garden location specialist Jennifer Sauter and District of Sooke staff to develop a multiple accounts evaluation (MAE) process with 15 different criteria. Out of 13 parks evaluated, it was deemed that Woodland Creek Park and Ponds Park Corridor were the best options for the project. 

“Community gardening is a valuable recreational activity that contributes to physical and mental health and well-being, positive social interaction, neighbourhood building, food production and resilience, environmental education, and connection to nature,” said Megenbir. “Retaining space for residents to learn about and grow their own food within walking or cycling distance from their homes will continue to grow in importance.” 

Residents can attend the upcoming open houses in the following weeks, with the Ponds Park Corridor open house on June 25 from 4 to 6pm, and the Woodland Creek open house on June 27 from 4 to 6:30pm. For those interested in lending a helping hand, there are opportunities to volunteer.

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Around the 'Shore

📝 Sooke traffic congestion triggers petition: Drivers coming in and out of Sooke are struggling with the traffic congestion due to the recent Charters Road closure. Frustrated over the lack of alternative solutions, resident Susan Jones created a petition which already has almost 2,000 signatures. Jones expects more residents will sign the petition during the week when commuting is most busy. [Times Colonist

🏉 Rugby sevens captain back training after cougar incident: Canadian rugby sevens captain Olivia Apps is back training at home base in Langford after recovering from a cougar incident in Strathcona Park. Apps was treated for a cougar bite, receiving a minor injury, but was quickly able to return to her team to prepare for the Paris Olympics. [Vancouver Island Free Daily

🐻 Bear destroys garden shed in Langford: A Langford resident says they are worried to encounter a bear who has been roaming in their area after the wild animal damaged their garden shed. The incident occurred on June 15 in the West Hills area; a security camera caught footage of the black bear clawing and ripping down wood before climbing up the shed door. [CHEK]

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Community Events

🎨 Indigenous art and storytelling: Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with the Arts and Culture Colwood Society’s Indigenous art and storytelling event. The event will take place June 19 to 21 from 10am to 3pm, and June 22 from 12 to 4pm. Check out a variety of artists and listen to storytellers at the Arts and Culture Centre in Colwood. 

🥕 Bear Mountain farmers market: Enjoy an evening of shopping and eating on June 18 with Bear Mountain’s new farmers market. Offering fresh foods and handmade goods from 4:30 to 8pm, the market will be located behind the Eco Oasis’ offices. If you can’t make this event, there are upcoming dates on July 16, and Aug. 20. 

🪴 Soil amendments: Learn more about soil and fertilizer with a presentation from the Sooke branch of the Compost Education Centre this June 22. Going from 11am to 1pm, guests will hear about different types of soil and fertilizer, their benefits, and when and how they should use them. Registration is mandatory for attendance so make sure to sign up ahead of time.

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