Sooke Travel Guide British Columbia Vancouver Island:
 travel tourism
 whale watching  
 local classified
 out of town ads
 tide tables
 add listing
 web hosting
 .com domains
Sooke Travel Guide British Columbia Vancouver Island complete vacation information guide
Sooke Harbour: News: Deertrail Property

TLC crosses Deertrail threshold

Norman Gidney, Times Colonist
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

The end was in sight Tuesday for The Land Conservancy’s efforts to preserve the Deertrail property at Sooke as parkland.

A half-dozen lawyers assembled for the signing of documents that put TLC in control of the 63 hectares of property along five kilometres of the Sooke River.

“I signed all the papers this afternoon to pay off the first mortgage,” said TLC executive director Bill Turner.

A cheque for $1.26 million went to the lawyer for first mortgage-holder James Evans, son-in-law of Deertrail developer Albert Yuen.

There are still a few more steps involved, but “This was the key step,” Turner said.

“Weary jubilation” was a good phrase to describe the mood around TLC, he said. “It’s been a real trial.”

Sooke continues to oppose TLC’s park proposal.
One piece of unfinished business is dealing with four firms with liens against the property — two engineering firms, a building supply company and a general contractor who together claim $200,000 for work done for Yuen’s project.

They are unsecured creditors and normally wouldn’t get a cent in a foreclosure, but Turner said, “We don’t consider that fair.” The Land Conservancy will negotiate payment, although not the full amounts.

An appraisal of the property is another step in the process, needed before TLC can bring in the province and the Capital Regional District as financial partners on the land acquisition, likely for $1 million apiece.

The estimated value of the land has fluctuated over the years because Yuen stopped work at times, changed course, altered the original plans and got the property rezoned for a film production centre.

Turner said TLC will also be able to restart fundraising efforts, which stalled two months ago when it seemed that Evans might be successful in taking over the property.

That would have left the land trust out of pocket for the $1,375,000 it paid for the second mortgage and $120,000 for back property taxes to Sooke.

TLC needs $800,000 to $1 million to complete the deal on the Deertrail property, said Turner. Expenses have been higher than expected, including all the lawyers who have billed for a total of $50,000. While signing off on the legal paperwork, Turner was also looking ahead to plans for the new park on the scenic riverfront site.

“The first step will be safety and security measures to make it safe for the public. It’s not safe now,” he said.

There will be fences, and signs warning hikers and swimmers, but only around the unsafe areas close to the canyon edge and around the derelict lodge. People will certainly have access to the Deertrail property, he said.

“It’ll take five years to get this to where we want it, but the public will be in it from Day 1,” Turner said.

An engineering report on the status of the lodge and stone masonry around the site will be commissioned, to check for weather damage and deterioration.

Another early project will be a contest to design a visitor building that will have an interpretive centre, food services and gift shop. It might be just a trailer at first, but Turner said it will be important as a gateway and trailhead for the Sooke Hills parkland. The campsite that Yuen opened on the river farther upstream will also remain to generate revenues.

“It’s the beginning of an awful lot of work,” said Turner.

Copyright 2004 Times Colonist (Victoria) Quick Links

Sooke in the News
Archive of Tourism related News Stories about the Sooke area.

Parks, Trails & Beaches
Endless miles of unspoiled beaches and parks.

Bed and Breakfasts
Sooke is renowned for it's hospitality - B&B style!

Cottages & Cabins
Nestled on beaches or in the Sooke Hills. Privacy and nature.

Vacation Rental Homes
Larger groups? Staying a little longer? Enjoy all the conveniences of home.

Inns, Hotels, Motels & Resorts
From pampered luxury to affordable accommodations.

Affordable accommodations & plenty of outdoor fun.

Travel & Tourism
Services specifically catering to travel and tourism in Sooke, BC.
fishing, hiking, kayaking, birding, cycling, whale-watching ...

From a 60's diner to Haute Cuisine, you'll eat well in Sooke!

Other Businesses
Arts and crafts, marinas, real estate, shops, services and other conveniences.

Chamber of Commerce, schools, real estate, churches, arts ...

Goods & Services outside Sooke
Here you will find goods and services from outside Sooke  listed geographically.

Oak Bay Village
A vibrant community only 10 minutes from downtown Victoria yet a world away from the rush of everyday life.

East Sooke
Nature lover's paradise with a sparse population and many wide open spaces.

Victoria, British Columbia
A Traveler's guide to the Garden City of the Canada's west coast.
Get listed on
FREE Listing given for any non-profit and community web sites
PAID Listing Package
Look good and be
found! Search Engine
Optimized Design
and spam-free Hosting

Sooke Potholes


Entire contents of this website Copyright 2001 - 2005
All rights reserved by and