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Sooke mayor says $1 million offer from developer needs more scrutiny

Sunriver Estates pitches DeMamiel Creek crossing
Mayor Maja Tait (centre) cuts the ribbon to officially open phase one of the DeMamiel Creek pedestrian crossing project in July 2020. (Contributed - District of Sooke)

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait believes a $1-million gift to the district needs more examination before council can give it further consideration.

The developer of Sunriver Estates has included a $1 million donation to assist with the construction of a crossing of Little River, also known as DeMamiel Creek, as part of a rezoning application.

Sunriver has applied for rezoning of the northwest corner of the development to add 140 new housing units and has asked the district to make an application on their behalf to the Agricultural Land Commission to have the property adjacent to the development removed from the ALR. If successful, the application would increase the number of homes from 715 to 855.

ALSO READ: DeMamiel Creek pedestrian crossing opens

The fact that the developer did not attend the March 13 regular meeting of council makes it difficult to answer questions council has about the application, Tait said. “It’s an incomplete application at this point, still a work in progress.”

Tait said building a bridge has been part of Sooke’s parks and trails master plan for several years.

“We’re still awaiting word on our federal grant application,” she added.

According to a staff report, after discussions with the developer, the district responded to the original rezoning application submitted on Sept. 18, 2019, with a letter in March 2020 outlining several concerns.

Those included the ability of existing wastewater infrastructure to handle the increased density, secondary access to Sunriver Estates, which relies on Phillips Road for the entire subdivision, increased availability of playgrounds and other amenities for residents, and environmental concerns.

The developer held two open houses to gauge the opinion of Sun River residents, and met with Tait and interim chief administrative officer Don Schaffer last May. The developer on Dec. 1 also provided additional information.

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About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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