A special meeting on February 4 saw a couple of items brought before District of Sooke council in regard to the Prestige Hotel. At issue were amendments, variances and shared easements for the hotel.
A Development Variance Permit was authorized for the height of the hotel. Mechanical equipment and elevator shafts were not included in the original plans and height adjustments had to be made and a variance permit issued. Council authorized the issuance of the DVP as well as a Development Permit Amendment for the design of the public boat launch. The DPA was issued to reflect the existing design of the boat launch.
What council did not approve was parking spaces for the hotel.
“One of the issues of great concern to us is the issue of parking,” said Mayor Wendal Milne. “It is insufficient at best and quite frankly council wants to look at it.” He went on to say he was not prepared to approve the Development Variance Permit.
The variance would have seen the hotel requiring only 95 spaces with another 25 spaces allotted for the public boat launch. One of the issues around parking is the necessity for trucks and trailers to park along West Coast Road when the parking lot at the hotel is full.
Councillor Kevin Pearson felt the hotel would have control over the parking and by giving them access to parking on District of Sooke property this could be seen as disposition of district assets.
“We need to put them (Prestige Hotel) on notice that they need parking,” Pearson said.
In looking over the Shared Easement Agreement, Pearson said some of the language in it would guarantee Prestige the use of the boat launch’s parking spaces.
Milne said he did not want to see parking reflected in the easement document.
Council approved the Shared Easement over the property owned by the Prestige Hotel and the District of Sooke but stipulated that the easement shall not grant any parking rights.
John Brohman spoke out and said the hotel should be restricted in how many rooms they can book in relation to parking spaces.
“I’ve never seen ‘no vacancy’ there yet,” he said.
“This is not about bashing Prestige, shortcuts were taken and we are trying to fix them and protect the interests of the taxpayers of Sooke,” said Milne.
Council recommended discussions take place with Prestige to work on the parking issues.