Council considers Soule Road right-a-way sale

Area property owners want to know if the district would be interested in selling the property.

District of Sooke council will consider the potential sale of a Soule Road right-of-way allowance to adjacent property owners, but first it must decide whether the municipality has any future use of the land.

Area property owners Shirley Roodbol and Rob Barry in a recent presentation to Sooke council wanted to know if the district would be interested in selling the property.

“The land would be very difficult to develop as a park due to access,” Barry said.

Five years ago, the land was considered as a potential pedestrian river crossing connecting Soule Road to Sunriver Nature Trail Park, but abandoned due to cost.

The land is about 0.2 acres (8,712 square feet) in size.

Councillors were warm to the idea of selling the property.

Coun. Bev Berger acknowledged that the street was heavily treed, narrow and difficult to drive along.

“Soule Road has popped up several times for us in the last four years, added Coun. Kevin Pearson.

“I’m not opposed to the idea of turning this over to the landowners. [We need] to ask the engineering department: what does this look like for us in the future? It doesn’t make sense for us to keep this as a road.”

The land cannot be subdivided because it is in the agricultural land reserve and there is no beach along the riverfront.

It wouldn’t be the first time the district has sold a right-of-way. Over the last three years, the district has sold land three times, the most recent on Kennedy Road.

Chief administrative officer Teresa Sullivan said the value of the land would be done through an independent appraisal, with an added value evaluation for the property it’s being added to.

If the district was to consider the land sale, it would check its policies and bylaws on road closure, she said.

Roodbol said the neighbours will follow due process and cover all costs, but wanted to see council’s interest in selling the land first.

“We just want to keep that land,” Barry said.

Council decided to send the information to a future in-camera session for discussion.