Plans mulled to beautify roundabout, town centre

As multi-million-project's end draws near, plans begin for next phase

As work on the Brownsey Boulevard roundabout nears completion, plans to beautify the area are beginning a slow simmer.

The District of Sooke is contributing $3.1 million for the roundabout, which fuses Sooke Road, Brownsey Boulevard and the Evergreen Centre entrance into one loop.

The province is also revamping Sooke Road between Otter Point and Church roads with improvements which include new sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, curbs, shoulder bike lane and bus shelters.

The project is aimed at improving the town centre and that has always included a beautification element to the project.

At a recent district council meeting, councillors agreed to bring back the Sooke Program for the Arts, whose main focus, at least initially, will to look at plans to beautify the town centre zone. Coun. Brenda Parkinson was named council’s liaison on the committee. The committee’s first meeting is Nov. 26.

So far, councillors have received several letters on proposals for the roundabout from the Rotary and Lions clubs and Sooke Community Arts Council. They have also received several emails.

“We want to see something that really captures Sooke. What that looks like, I don’t really know,” said Mayor Maja Tait.

She added that the district may want to look at something that fits its motto – Sooke where the rainforest meets the sea – that would bring all the elements together.

“I wouldn’t want to say, let’s just plant some marigolds or something,” she said.

Parkinson hopes to have some plan in place in the new year, adding there is no rush since decorative light standards still need to be put in place, and there are plans to decorate the roundabout area for Christmas, including a Christmas tree in the centre of the roundabout.

“It’s not something we should rush into,” she said. “I’m hoping everyone can come together to find the perfect piece for the centre, considering we’re all going to have to look at it.”

Both women agree that there needs to be a lot of public input to get the right image – and one everyone is happy about.

“If we don’t do, then it’s going to be a disaster,” Parkinson said.

klaird@blackpress.ca