Sooke residents will soon be able to participate in the Sooke Lions Club’s vision for John Phillips Memorial Park.
The club will host an open house on Sept. 25 to gather feedback on the club’s proposal for a multi-use community amenity facility at the park.
“The Sooke Lions are in service to our community and are looking to better understand what type of facility and related amenities could best meet the needs of Sooke,” said Lions club member Danny Willis.
“Our members will be on hand to answer residents’ questions and address concerns about the potential project.”
Several residents oppose the plan, including a startup called Sooke On Fire Taxpayer Group, which has demanded more public consultation.
Willis said the open house would provide an opportunity to clarify any misconceptions.
“The biggest key is that it is a fluid process, and nothing is set in stone at this time,” Willis said. “The plan will adapt to the changing times and the community’s needs.”
The Lions club’s plan focuses on a half-acre of the seven-hectare park at 2201 Otter Point Rd., the second largest park in Sooke.
Proposed plans include a community centre, daycare, clubhouse, offices, and an outdoor stage and concession.
Concepts for the park’s future have been in the works since 2006, when the John Phillips Memorial Park Trust Committee was formed with a mandate to consult the public and develop a plan for the park. Early proposals that included a community amenity building, dog park and green space were shelved.
“We have a general idea of what we want to build, but it’s difficult to estimate the cost because of rising costs of materials, supply issues and other factors,” Willis said. “One of the reasons we want to include a daycare is the proceeds from that would help with operating costs and sustainability.”
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said that the district has not yet entered into a lease arrangement with the Lions club while feedback from the community is gathered.
“How best to use John Phillips Memorial Park is certainly not a new conversation,” Tait said in the Aug 11 media release from the Lions club. “For years, we have heard from our residents about optimizing the use of the space while respecting the park ecology.
“We have a reputable community organization looking to establish a not-for-profit society to oversee the facility, including the construction and management following existing zoning. It’s certainly something that warrants consideration.”
The open house takes place Sunday, Sept. 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Sooke Community Hall at 2037 Shields Rd. Signage will be displayed in the park, along with markings that outline the park boundary and the potential footprint of the facility.
Questions or comments can be submitted to sookelions.com.