UPDATE: SEAPARC land acquisition referendum passes

Referendum passed with a total of 978 votes in favour.

An updated version of the original story is below:

 

Residents of Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area have voted overwhelming in favour of buying land for future recreation development.

In a referendum Saturday, 978 Yes votes were cast for the purchase, against 209 No votes.

There were 12,307 eligible voters.

“This is a tremendous investment for the future generations of the Sooke and Juan de Fuca children. In the short term, SEAPARC will continue running the golf course as a break-even operation, and in the long term, the property will provide the necessary lands for the future recreational needs of the local residents,” said regional director Mike Hicks.

The vote allows the Sooke and Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission, also known as SEAPARC, to spend $1 million to purchase the former 23-acre DeMamiel Creek golf course.

The negotiated price includes the cleared, manicured land, a five-bedroom home and miscellaneous equipment used to maintain the course.

As a result of the referendum, Bylaw 4052 will now proceed to adoption at the May 11 Capital Regional District board meeting and $250,000 will be transferred for the land purchase. The remaining $750,000 will be financed over 15 years at a fixed rate of approximately three per cent.

The current tax rate will fund the payment for the land and will continue to build the reserves towards the SEAPARC Leisure Complex’s exercise and weight room expansion.

“The land provides opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy Sooke and get active. It’s just more opportunities for leisure in our community,” said Mayor Maja Tait.

“I’m pretty excited about it.”

SEAPARC hopes to re-open the golf course by mid-June.

Development of the lands could be years in the making, Hicks said.

“It could be six months or 50 years from now before that occurs. It will depend on need and demand,” he said.