Despite complaints before council of “alcohol-fueled soirees,” “drunken karaoke nights,” “dripping water torture” and “noisy cash cow of tent bashes,” Sooke council lifted a covenant limiting the outdoor events at Sooke Harbour House to 15. The inn can now host as many events as they choose, with the proviso that adherence to a noise bylaw be mandatory.
In lifting the covenant planner Gerard LeBlanc said they came to the conclusion that this was not a land use issue but and issue on managing noise. Coun. Kerrie Reay said that rules should be for all businesses.
“I don’t think council has any business in restricting business,” said Reay.
In a two-part motion, the vote to lift the covenant passed with four councillors for and two against, with the mayor against. Milne wanted a trial run where the permanent lifting of the covenant would be reviewed after the summer. In the end, all of the council agreed to authorizing the official rescinding of the covenant.
Frederique Philip, co-owner of the Sooke Harbour House was happy with the vote.
“I am happy,” she said. “I cannot have noise at the Sooke Harbour House for my guests.”
The district in turn will implement a more accessible and effective bylaw complaints procedure. Fines of $150 can be imposed.
Council signed two service agreements, one for the Sooke Community Association and a Licence of Occupation agreement with the Sunriver Community Gardens.