Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne

Sunriver school site, playing field caught in council spotlight

Questions raised by Sooke council on issues of costs, payments, appraisals

Residents of Sunriver Estates want their proposed school site to be located off Phillips Road for a variety of reasons, the main one being safety of the students.

To this end they had 157 residents sign a petition which was presented to District of Sooke council on October 28. Sooke District 62 also prefers the new site as it is flatter and would accommodate the playing fields.

The developers at Sunriver had requested a change in the site of the school and playing fields in 2010 to a six hectare site to the east of the original site. An Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion/inclusion request received conditional approval. The new site has extensive assessments done through test pits and it was determined that more study needed to be carried out on the extend of the unsuitable soils discovered through the survey. There has been a one-year extension granted by the ALC.

At issue with council was the original agreement whereby the developers agreed to build both a soccer field and a slo-pitch field. There was some talk of the developer (Shambrook Hills Dev. Corp.) providing $300,000 to the district to build the fields rather than the developer. This did not sit well with council who felt it could cost considerably more than $300,000 because of the assessments done on the property in question.

At issue as well is the fact that the original agreement stated that two appraisals of the property needed to be completed as well as School Site Acquisition Charges (SSAC) be paid to the district and in  turn to the school district.

Councillor Rick Kasper brought up these other issues.

He asked if money (SSAC) had been paid to the school district by Sunriver for units created in accordance with provincial statutes. The answer was ‘no.’ If each unit paid an average of $500, and there are 715 units at build out, the total monies in SSACs total over $357,000.

“The monies were supposed to be paid,” said Kasper. “The property was never transferred to the school district. I’m at a loss as to why certain things haven’t moved forward.”

On the minds of other members of council was the playing fields.

“My only concern is the playing fields,” said Mayor Wendal Milne, “we need those now. My preference would be to see you guys build those fields. You could do it cheaper than the municipality… we don’t want to be caught with geotechnical unknowns.”

A motion was passed at council to have staff go back and talk to the proponents regarding the preparation and construction of two playing fields.