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Council backs Bylaw 600 and new Prestige agreement

A settlement with Prestige Sooke Holdings was authorized to be signed following a vote at District of Sooke council on Monday night.

The Finance and Administration Committee had been reviewing the agreement over the past 10 months.

The review found a number of administrative issues which had not been dealt with and resulted in some financial relief to the district. In total $491,825 had been negotiated with the hotel and included an additional year’s use of the convention centre for $1. Other costs included the hotel’s contribution to the pier ($20,000); building permit fee recalculation ($7,360); shared infrastructure cost savings ($38,465); reduction in the convention centre fees for three years ($189,000) and the additional use of the  convention centre ($237,000).

Councillor Herb Haldane was not entirely pleased with the new agreement, stating he did not agree “with the Prestige running the marina off our pier.” He said the district owned the foreshore.

Mayor Wendal Milne said they sought a legal opinion and the district was “protected.”

Parking at the hotel was also an issue that came up, as some of the district’s land is being used for parking by the hotel due to the easements.

“What we have before us is substantially better than the original agreement,” said Councillor Rick Kasper. “We recognize that the original agreement could not be torn up.”

The new zoning bylaw, Sooke Zoning Bylaw 600 (previously Bylaw 500) was granted first and second reading and will now go to a Public Hearing on Jan. 15, 2013.

Mayor Milne stated every household would be receiving notification through a bulk mail out and non-resident homeowners would receive a letter.

“Anybody that doesn’t hear about this is not at home or not getting their mail,” said Milne. “We’re doing everything we can.”

The entire bylaw was reveiwed by council and staff after it came to light that the original public input sessions were not sufficient to notify homeowners of changes in Bylaw 500.

Issues before council on Monday night included such items as; park use in all zones, lot sizes and set backs in Manufactured Home Park Zones, automotive, car wash and car sale uses along Highway 14.

After  extensive review, council finally granted the bylaw first and second reading. Council was not unanimous with Councillors Herb Haldane and Maja Tait voting against.

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