The site of the new public boat launch at the Prestige Oceanfront Hotel and Convention Centre

CAO talks about the public boat launch

A talk with Evan Parliament

The District of Sooke’s Chief Administrative Officer Evan Parliament met with the local editor, on June 9, to discuss what was going on with the public boat launch.

He said there were many rumours and a lot of misinformation being spread and he wanted to explain what was going on.

Starting at the roadway, Parliament explained that the road was a public and a private entrance, splitting to go down to the public boat launch or to Prestige’s  parking lot. The public boat launch has 30-40 foot parking stalls along the roadway which will accommodate trailers. Parliament said what appears to be a sidewalk at the end of the parking stalls is a “green” water drainage system, not a sidewalk and trailers can be parked on it.

Some items necessary to the public launch and hotel were not accounted for and cost about $140,000 to correct. These include a fence on the neighbouring property (Jock’s Dock) and moving hydro poles to place them where they belong.

“It was in consideration of Mrs. Smith and her privacy,” said Parliament.

The public boat launch will accommodate two or three boats launching at the same time.

“Here we want to be able to load and unload at any time of the day,” said Parliament.

Issues which have raised some hackles include the notion that the utility building on the launch site used to house the electronics, etc. was a commercial building are incorrect, although both the pier and Prestige will benefit from it.

The pier will have a fuel pump which was paid for by Prestige and it will  be operated by Prestige in some manner.

Heavy Metal Marine is building the pier, which was an amenity given to the district by the hotel. The cost, says Parliament, will be under $200,000 and it will be granted to the district as a public amenity, along with the proposed boardwalk.

Three metres of land in front of the hotel is a land dedication granted at rezoning. This was done to guarantee that the district put in a public boat launch.

“The pier and boardwalk will be public,” stressed Parliament.

Parliament said the taxpayer really wins in this deal as the district got a better deal through partnering with Prestige.

“You wanted a public boat launch, here it is, at 40 cents on the dollar to the taxpayer,” explained Parliament meaning that with the government grant and Prestige’s contribution, only 40 per cent was paid for with tax dollars.

“If we built our own it would have cost between $1.5 and $1.8 million. All we are trying to do is build the best boat launch for the least amount of dollars. We don’t want to under build it. We want people to be proud of it,” said Parliament. “We are building it for tomorrow, not just today.”

In regard to taxes paid by Prestige, Parliament said they did not take the 10-year tax holiday.