Editorial: Retain amenity contributions

Amenity contributions not the reason for lack of development in Sooke

District of Sooke council is taking another look at an amendment they made to the Community Amenity Contribution Policy when they were first in office. It appears the amendment was fine until they came to a real case sceanrio. Amenities are what developers pay the district for allowing increased density  or zoning changes in certain zones and the  policy and monetary commitment was changed to try and encourage more development in the town core. Well that hasn’t happened in the town core but it has outside the core and with a new proposal before council, it was realized the gain to the district would be zero with the policy as it is.

The whole amendment was “pushed” by one councillor who complained that no one wanted to come to Sooke to build anything in the town core. It is highly unlikely that an amenity contribution was the off-putting consideration. There are many reasons why, the least of which is an amenity contribution that most communities have in place. Developers expect to pay something and if they really want to come here they will, a contribution won’t scare them off.

What the big problem with increased development in the town core is money, or lack of it. The world economy, still has not recovered and developments are going belly up all over the place, take Colwood Corners as an example. What we don’t need is a huge hole in the ground with nothing being built. It is hoped the Evergreen Centre office building will be rebuilt soon, but it’s doubtful. We will be waiting a few years for that.

The point is, the district should not be giving up on development and they should not be giving up the amenities so desperately needed for infrastructure. We have to wait out this economic climate and not be so anxious that we get nothing.

Council Briefs are on-line at www.sookenewsmirror.com.