Letters: Wrong location for car wash

Group of individuals find town centre location not appropriate for a car wash

Congratulations to the District of Sooke for introducing user-friendly video coverage on its website. Now interested citizens can follow up on stories in the press to see exactly what was said in the council chamber.

Regarding last week’s Public Hearing on the Murray Rd. car wash, we regret that the Sooke News Mirror reporter quoted one of the signers of this letter as appearing to support the “environmentally sound” car wash. In fact, he was saying that the proposed site in the CTC2 zone is the wrong location.

For the record, here is what we submitted to the Public Hearing:

As advocates for a more livable town centre and a more sustainable community, we wish to record our opposition to amending the Zoning Bylaw to allow for a car wash in CTC 2.

Amending the zoning bylaw to allow a car wash in CTC 2 runs counter to the Official Community Plan (OCP). The OCP  (p. 78) calls for a reduction of the “dominance of the automobile in the Town Centre.”

The logic of the Zoning Bylaw itself is consistent with the OCP, and the distinction between CTC1 and 2 is crucial: commercial activities to do with cars – fueling, repairing, servicing and washing them – belongs in CTC 1, north of Hwy 14.

CTC2 – the town centre between the highway and the waterfront is zoned for mixed residential and commercial, which means more pedestrian activities, more tourists, and more residents. Integration of working, shopping, and living spaces defines the vision for our town centre in CTC2. You can’t integrate retail shops, office space, or residential with a car wash.

Opposition to the car wash location does not mean opposition to the proposed laundromat. Laundromats encourage sustainability and community. They share access to resources, reduce carbon footprints, and bring people together. They can be important places for social interaction and encourage users to spend time in the town centre.

The OCP and Zoning Bylaw provide an excellent framework for our town centre. Let’s not weaken them. The requested exception may be site-specific but it sets a dangerous precedent for further car related development, undermining both the OCP and the Zoning Bylaw.

Margaret Critchlow, John Boquist, Jeff Bateman, Carolyn Bateman, Michael Tacon

Sooke