Horseshoes and grants fill council agenda

District of Sooke considers requests for land and cash

The public will have their say on a proposal to build horseshoe pitches at John Phillips Memorial Park.

The Sooke Horseshoe Club is wanting to build the pitches on one-half an acre at the south end of the park close to the new connector road (Wadams Way). They propose eight pitches to start with, and no clubhouse. The area would be fenced with a 1.3 metre fence and a 1 metre fence at the end of each pitch, for the safety of players and bystanders.

Questions arose from council as to whether the horseshoe pitches would be open to the public and the response from Ron Dumont, speaking for the club, was ‘yes.’

The issue council had with the proposal was the lack of information on the cost of building the pitches and the inevitable cost to the district.

“We need the money question answered,” said Mayor Wendal Milne. He said this proposal was never listed as a priority and he needed to know where the money was to come from.

Milne and other councillors also requested a full business plan.

The club will use a phased approach over five years with the view of eventually having 24 pitches, a 93 sq. metre clubhouse and a small on-site storage building.

The club wants the district to utilize park improvement funds to construct the eight pitches. The club already has $3,000 in reserved funds from when they looked at the property at Sooke River Road as a potential site for the horseshoe club. Costs which would be incurred include the cost for portable toilets, until the site can be connected to sewer, and water and hydro services. It was not clear who would pay for those connections. There will be costs to the district, which include legal fees. The club would be responsible for maintenance of the site.

Dumont stated the club estimates a cost of $9,200 with no room for extras such as environmental studies.

District staff will work with the horseshoe club and the public to determine the feasibility of the proposal.

Also on the agenda was the request for Category A grant funds from various organizations.

The BC Conservation Foundation requested $10,000 to hire a coordinator to work with the public, conservations officers and the district to find ways to prevent human-wildlife conflicts.

Council felt this was downloading to municipalities and voted to table the application.

Funding of $10,000 was denied to the Metchosin Preschool Co-op Society because council felt if they gave to one they would have to consider giving to all, and it did not meet the criteria for funding.

Scouts Canada – Camp Bernard received the nod for $7,000 from the district to upgrade the facilities at the camp.

While Scouts Canada is property rich, each property must be self-contained said Grace Seabrook, chair of the Camp Bernard Committee.

It is expected that over 2,500 youth and 600 leaders will be in Sooke in 2015 for the Pacific Jamboree for one week.

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