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Sooke Harbour: News: Development

Huge marina hotel complex proposed for Sooke Harbour

By Pirjo Raits
Sooke News Mirror
July 20, 2005

Sooke Harbour Marina
pirjo raits photo

This stretch of Sooke Harbour is the subject of a proposed hotel and marina complex. The plans for the potential of 79 housing units, boat slips and more is already in front of Sooke council members.

Plans for a proposed destination marine resort on the site of Sooke Harbour Marina drew concerns from District of Sooke council during a presentation by principals involved in the development on July 11.

A destination marine resort appealing to the global tourist is the vision of developers aiming to build quarter-share residential units at the site currently occupied by Sooke Harbour Marina.

Council raised concerns over the density, displacement of local boaters, parking, ocean views, walkways and the building plans.

In a discussion report prepared for council, staff stated the density appeared to be very dense with the potential for 79 units, well above the permitted density of 34 units.

Councillor George O'Briain asked whether the developers were intending to make each of the units capable of being divided into two thereby increasing the density of each of the 34 units.
Robert Rocheleau, director of Praxis Architects Inc. stated that only two of the units would be lock offs.

The biggest concern voiced by council was the displacement of current marina users and the lack of launching facilities from the easily accessible site.

Of the current 130 slips, 35 would be used exclusively by the resort's residents with the remainder available for weekly and monthly rental. The marina would not allow trailer parking for members of the public who would use the boat launch. Parking would be only for residents of the resort.

"The principle purpose is fishing, the existing facility is underdeveloped," said Rocheleau. "The boat ramp would be kept open to the community of Sooke."

Councillor John Stephen was concerned that if access was decreased or cut-off an economic source to the community would be lost.
"I wonder where people from other parts of Southern Vancouver Island would put their trailers, I see this as becoming restrictive," said Stephen.

The developer stated that boat trailer parking was not the best use of the land and to ask them to provide this would be a limited benefit as they were bringing in a captive audience (in tourists).

Mayor Janet Evans stated that this was private property and the public could be shut out.
The plans for the walkway on the waterfront show it to be 3m while Councillor George O'Briain suggested a 10m walkway would be more appropriate. He also felt there might not be adequate parking for tenants if they had two vehicles.

Parking for public boat trailers would not be permitted at the resort and users of the boat launch would be required to remove their trailers and bring them back at the end of the day to load their boats.

Councillor Lorna Barry had an issue with the flat roofs on the units, the blank walls on the buildings and the views.

The development would see 34 quarter-share investment units built on the 2.81-acre site. The units would be between 1,100 and 1,350 sq. ft. with the potential for lock-offs in at least two of the units.

Plans also include a commercial support area catering to guests and the marina, providing staff laundry, whale watching offices, a convenience store and an area for fish cleaning and storage.

There will be a control booth at the entry, two hot tubs and a barbeque area near dockside.
Developer and investor Tim Touround is involved in a similar resort, Big Horn Meadows at Radium Hot Springs.

Also in attendance at council was Peter Kelly, head of capital development and Adrian Small.
The resort would potentially generate approximately $100,000 in property taxes to the District of Sooke, while maintaining the ambiance of Sooke Harbour said Rocheleau.
"We would be selling Sooke, the beauty of Sooke, the beauty of the ocean," he said.
The next step in the process will be reviewing revised drawings from the developers and architect.

If the drawings are adequate and meet the concerns, a development permit may be issued, says Cheryl Wirsz, Director of Development Services for the District of Sooke.

"We are hoping we can work it out," she said.

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