Sooke Harbour: News:
Lund challenges Sooke's annexation plans
Sooke News Mirror
August 24, 2005
Annexing more properties in to Sooke is
something citizens should be wary of, says the Capital Regional
District's director for the Juan de Fuca region.
The reason Sooke citizens should be
interested in a pending annexation of 36 properties, in Erik Lund's
opinion, is that Sooke has not completed its Urban Containment
Boundary, the designation for areas that can be developed under
Lund said Janet Evans, Sooke's mayor,
has repeatedly said she wants the municipality's boundaries the same
as the containment boundary. Waiting until the current annexation
proposal is decided gives Sooke the option to include East Sooke's
Grouse Nest and other large parcels within their development review
Otter Point, Shirley and East Sooke,
Lund said, just completed their boundary delineation. Waiting, Lund
said, puts the developer in charge rather than council.
"(Sooke) ought to wait until the OCP's
have been established," said Lund. The approvals, he said, are
expected before the November provincial and municipal elections. "We
created Settlement Containment Boundaries and Sooke was going after
all these big lands in between."
He added his belief that Evans' comments that Sooke is not actively
recruiting developers and landowners to annex in to the municipality
is, "simply not true."
"If that is the case why are they trying
to encourage people to come in and making promises to developers?"
Evans, however, stood by her earlier
comments Sooke council and staff never solicited any land owner to
annex their property within the district boundaries.
"We had to advertise to let people
know," said Evans
"After running three ads, people still
called and said they did not know," added Evans. "This is a one time
chance for them to (have properties moved in to the district
Councillors approved by a 4-3 vote Aug. 15 annexing four parcels
west of the existing Sooke boundary and a 32 more properties in the
East Sooke area.
One of the largest of the East Sooke
parcels Sooke Council narrowly approved sending to Provincial
officials for review is the Grouse Nest property, described by Evans
at a June Sooke Rotary Club meeting as being a $265 million
development for homes, hotels and more. She said the developers
propose to bring residential water and sewer service to East Sooke
if the annexation and development plans go through.
Evans, Lorna Barry, John Farmer and Marcus Farmer voted yes on the
measure, while George OBriain, Tom Morino and John Stephen opposed
Lund said allowing the proposed annexations to go through
establishes a poor layout for the district, with large developments
scattered over a wide area from East Sooke to Kemp Lake.
"You are going to have spot developments all over the place," said
Lund, "and that brings immense municipal costs. It is just not the
way to do things.
"I find it bizarre," Lund added, that no
one in the electoral area has applied for development.
He said he believes a more logical approach would be to ask the
municipality or district a property exists in, learn what
development options exist, then look for annexation to the adjoining
municipality if the developer did not like what he or she saw.
"Once you join Sooke in holy matrimony it is until death do you
part," said Lund. "If you stay in an unincorporated area you can
still join Sooke any time you want."
His involvement in the annexation, Lund
said, is because CRD land would be going to Sooke if the annexations
are approved, and because land owners in his area have asked for
"If someone has a large parcel and wants
to join Sooke, then they should go, that is democracy," said Lund.
"Others who come crying to me, it is my job to represent them."
Although he is encouraging people to
petition to send annexation to a vote, Lund said he is neutral on a
"I am not necessarily in favor of
joining Metchosin," said Lund. "If we are going to join somebody, it
has to make sense."
"Why should people in Sooke sign a
counter petition?" added Lund. "If they do not their rural land is
going to be urban. People who do not want this, they have only one
shot at it."
Lund wrote to the Metchosin council a year ago, asking they consider
annexing East Sooke within Metchosin boundaries.
"The council said in short not at this
time and they would not consider it until after the amalgamation
vote," said Lund.
He contacted Metchosin officials again
and said he has not heard back from them, despite writing to
Community Services Minister Ida Chong on July 25 stating Metchosin
council, "is deliberating on whether they are interested in
extending their boundary into East Sooke."
John Lambrie, Metchosin's chief administrative officer, said
annexation of East Sooke, "was not under active consideration," at
the time Lund sent his letter to Chong. "Certainly not to the extent
of a boundary revision. That was not the case."
Lambrie said Lund has since sent another
letter to Metchosin council that was discussed during an in-camera
Lambrie said Metchosin council reviewed
Sooke's letter regarding the pending annexation proposals.
"We had no objection to the district's
proposed extension," said Lambrie.
Lund emphasized people voting on a
referendum should remember a new Sooke council is going to be
overseeing development because elections take place in November.
Evans talked of this as well when
referring to whether Sooke is going to tackle more annexations in
"That is for another time, for the next
council to decide," said Evans.
Registered Sooke voters have until Sept.
24 to decide whether to petition for council to send the proposed
annexations to a vote of the people.
Some 725 petition letters would need to
be submitted for council to either call for a referendum or drop the
© Copyright 2005 Sooke News Mirror
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house set for Grouse Nest property and for Sooke
Sooke News Mirror
August 31, 2005
Learning more about pending Sooke
annexation matters is going to be easier now that two open houses on
the matter are planned during the next nine days.
Developers Ken Mariach and Kurt Bohn Jr. are hosting an onsite open
house at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1 at their Grouse Nest Resort in
East Sooke. The Grouse Nest property is the largest of the East
Sooke lands where owners have applied for annexation in to Sooke's
Grouse Nest developers are setting up shuttle buses in Sooke
(leaving the community hall at 6:30- p.m. and Edward Milne community
school at 6:40 p.m.) for the trip to 1424 Gillespie Road for people
to talk about potential redevelopment of the area.
A second session is being arranged by the developers for Sept. 15,
but they do not have a time or location set for that public open
District of Sooke staff is holding an open house Sept. 8 from 6-9
p.m. inside council chambers at Municipal Hall on Otter Point Road
for citizens to take a look at the annexation proposals filed for
all 32 East Sooke and four Kemp Lake area properties.
Both annexation proposals were approved earlier this month on a 4-3
vote of Sooke Council. The proposals go on to the Ministry of
Community Service for approval unless 725 or more registered
District of Sooke voters petition to block the move. Should enough
petitions be received, council can call for a referendum vote or
drop the annexation proposals. Deadline for the petitions is Sept.