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Sooke Harbour: News: Sooke Growth Boundary

Council working to define areas for Sooke growth boundary

By Pirjo Raits
Sooke News Mirror
May 18, 2005

An informal meeting to discuss a proposed Bylaw amendment to the Official Community Plan ,held May 16 at Council Chambers, brought out a half-dozen people concerned with what the Regional Growth Strategy might mean for Sooke.
The Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), part of the Regional Context Statement, would define a boundary for growth in the urban core of Sooke.

The CRD adopted a Regional Growth Strategy in August 2003, giving Sooke an opportunity to determine the Urban Containment and Service Area in a regional context. The purpose of the document is to aid in realizing an overall vision for growth and change.

The protection of the rural character and lifestyle of Sooke was foremost in the minds of some of the attendees. Cluster housing, densities in the urban core, and water were the topmost issues discussed.

"It's all about servicing," said Mayor Janet Evans. "We are not amending the OCP, we are adding to it."

Evans reiterated that it was critical for Sooke to have control over development as well as the provision of services without having to look to the CRD Board for unanimous approval. The Urban Containment boundary would be set in place to provide servicing, and to encourage more population and commercial development in the core. The lands outside the boundary are intended to stay rural in nature. Growth would be controlled by other regulating documents, such as the zoning bylaw.

The idea of subdividing rural lots to a minimum one-hectare size to encourage larger homes, while retaining the rural character, was brought forward. This would also discourage cluster housing, an idea few of the people attending the meeting liked or wanted.

Following the adoption of the RGS, each municipality is required to, within two years of adoption, adopt a regional context statement.
The context statement must identify the relationship between the OCP and the content of the RGS and if applicable, specify how the OCP and the RGS will be made consistent over time.

A public hearing of Proposed Bylaw No. 212, Official Community Plan Amendment to include the Regional Context Statement is scheduled for June 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.
Verbal and written submissions will become part of the public record.

Copyright 2005 Sooke News Mirror

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