Letters: SEAPARC is the best location

The debate continues over the proposed bike skills park in Sooke

ayor and council:

We think Mayor Milne is on the correct track by updating and refurbishing the SEAPARC bike skills park, and sincerely hope that all the councillors will come to realize that this is the right option and the only option for a bike skills park in Sooke.

The existing SEAPARC bike park is ideal for many reasons:

• ample parking

• washroom facilities

• trained first aid attendants at SEAPARC

• emergency vehicle access

• the SEAPARC site has proven to be, over the years, a safe location for children of all ages.

With restoration of the SEAPARC bike park site already underway, why not, if possible, also increase the trail system.

Regarding the John Phillips Memorial Park location (JPMP), there are too many unanswered questions and troubling issues which must be dealt with:

• an environmental impact study must be conducted (soil erosion, preservation of wild life, etc.). The lower portion of JPMP is very wet and boggy during the rainy season (eight months of the year). Any trails in that area would be completely eroded annually. Who will pay to restore that on an ongoing basis?

• Deadlines must be set for the Sooke Bike Club to come up with adequate and guaranteed funding to cover the costs of development and maintenance. In addition failing that the JPMP proposal should be abandoned.

To date the Sooke Bike Club has proven to all that they have no money, no viable and realistic plan and no membership base. Can we please turn the page and move  on to accepting the most logical and cost effective option for all Sooke taxpayers… the SEAPARC location.

• In addition to the above financial requirements, the Sooke Bike Club must provide proof of insurance/public liability and extended medical coverage of at least $10 million.

• The proposed plan of occupancy of JPMP is not a mere “sliver” of the total area, but more like 70 per cent of the park.

• In the Right of Occupancy Agreement drafted by the Sooke Bike Club there is a clause which, intact, gives the club the right to transfer their occupancy rights to a third party on a 30-day notice to the District of Sooke. What is that all about? Who could the third party possibly be? (land developers?).

• Residential properties surrounding the JPMP bike park will see their property values drop by 10-15 per cent.

• The Sooke Bike Club has assured anyone who will listen that the creation of a JPMP bike park will create a tremendous influx of users/families, traveling here from miles away to use such a park. Yet a bike skills park already exists in Victoria (the Napier site). It is connected to the Galloping Goose Trail system, has parking facilities, and yet is highly under-used. Lack of public interest perhaps?

• The existing JPMP covenant and development philosophy is to cater to and provide services for a large general public rather than allowing planning and control of this public green space to a very small, private, special interest group to dictate its future.

We need a public referendum on this issue. Otherwise too much taxpayer money will be spent/wasted on an extravagant project that will appeal to and be used by a very small segment of Sooke residents and taxpayers.

Stuart and Carolyn Katorsky