Sooke to clean up Wadams Way ‘fire hazard’

Municipality acts to remove garbage, brush

Volunteer labourers from Corrections Canada will clean up municipal land on Wadams Way that municipal officials call unsightly and a fire hazard.

Council agreed Monday to ask Corrections Canada to supply the labourers for the project that will involve cleaning up garbage and brush.

The district also plans to post signage to discourage trespassers and encourge “fire smart” practices.

The two-hectare property, commonly referred to as Lot A, is located on Wadams Way beween Anna Marie and Townsend roads, and will eventually house the new 10,000-square-foot Vancouver Island Regional Library.

“If there’s a fire in there, especially in this dry weather, then that could create some serious problems for the district and adjacent property owners,” said Coun. Rick Kasper, who advocated the clean up.

“We should be more proactive in dealing with that piece of property. It’s heavily timbered and there are some extremly dry areas in behind the shopping centre.”

Sooke Fire Rescue has responded to three fires in the area since January.

Fire Chief Kenn Mount pointed out the area attracts squatters and “squatter living” does promote fires.

“The idea is to get into some fire smart practice, whether cleaning up the trash, removing some brush, making it more visible so it doesn’t attract squatters,” he said.

Building a fence around the property masks the problem and would only be a Band-Aid solution, Mount said.

“The advantage with Lot A is it’s close to the fire station and we would be able to supress it quickly.”

Mount pointed out there are other areas in the community that have a higher fire danger level, but Lot A can be used to encourage other property ownrs to clean up their land and take on fire smart practices.

“It’s something we should look at and set a good example of being fire smart on all our property. It’s something that could be impressed on the community,” Mount said.