District of Sooke

Sooke council proposes closing a portion of Soule Road

District councillors will also hold a public hearing into closing a portion of Maple Park Terrace.

The District of Sooke is moving forward with a plan to sell off a Soule Road right-of-way allowance to adjacent property owners, but first district council will seek public comment on the proposal.

The property owners want to consolidate the unimproved portion of Soule Road with their properties. The land is about 0.2 acres (8,712 square feet) in size.

Soule Road is one of three dedicated public accesses to Sooke River.

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 right-of-way has not been used in more than 100 years, municipal staff wrote in a report to council.

A steep slope and flood plain at the Sooke River, along with the land in the agricultural land reserve, could be reasons why the construction was not completed beyond the current pavement ending.

“I’ve been to this site it is difficult to navigate … it’s challenging,” said Coun. Kevin Pearson.

Coun. Kerrie Reay questioned what could happen with the land in the future.

“It certainly it makes sense to be doing this in 2016,” she said, [but] do we do this deal today at the cost of some applicants in the future?”

And Pearson doesn’t want the potential land sale to set a precedent for property owners.

“This is a one-off (for the district) – it’s not precedent setting,” he 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 sells the land, it must exchange the property for other property that will provide public access to Sooke River. It can also put money into a reserve fund to acquire property that will provide public access to the river in the future.

A public hearing into the Soule Road sale is expected in October.

In the meantime, district councillors will also hold a public hearing into closing a portion of Maple Park Terrace.

The developer of View Pointe Estates will extend the road beyond its current dead end turnaround and connect with Winifield Drive.