Silence may be golden for this Saturday’s referendum on the purchase of the former DeMamiel golf course in Sooke. Or it may not.
There’s been little said – positive or negative – on the Sooke and Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission’s plan to spend $1 million to buy the land to address the future need for recreational space and facilities in Sooke.
The commission, also known as SEAPARC, and the Capital Regional District, held five information sessions in Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area this month and only 27 residents attended. Sooke attracted the most attendees with 12, while no one showed up in Port Renfrew.
Low numbers were also recorded in the advance poll where only 100 cast a ballot. A second early vote is set for today (April 27).
“I’ve never seen a referendum vote so quiet,” said Sooke Coun. Rick Kasper and a member of SEAPARC.
The commission negotiated a $1 million offer for the 9.5-hectare of land in January, which includes cleared and manicured lands, as well as a five-bedroom house and miscellaneous equipment used to maintain the course.
“We have zero idea what to expect from the referendum. There’s been no feedback,” said SEAPARC chair and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks, adding the commission hasn’t promoted the land buy because it only wanted to present the opportunity to the community.
“We’re giving the facts. We’re not lobbying one way or the other.”
If the referendum passes, SEAPARC will pay $250,000 for the property and taxpayers, through the CRD, will be on the hook for $750,000.
The cost of financing will be $61,000 per year or $4.80 for Juan de Fuca homeowners with a home assessed at $400,000 or $8.41 per year for a Sooke homeowner with a home valued at $400,000.
SEAPARC will make the payments from its existing requisition and will not raise taxes.
Both Kasper and Hicks said they’re backing the purchase of the golf course because it represents a great investment for the community.
“I believe it’s a great move for the community, but that’s just my thought and maybe the majority doesn’t share my view and that’s OK,” Hicks said.
Voting day for the referendum question is Saturday (April 30). Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Port Renfrew, Shirley, Otter Point, East Sooke and Sooke.
Referendum set for April 30
EVENT: Referendum to vote on purchase of DeMamiel Creek Golf course
WHEN: April 30, Saturday; 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
WHERE: Port Renfrew Recreation Centre, 6638 Deering Rd.; Shirley Community Hall, 2795 Sheringham Point Rd.; Juan de Fuca Planning Services Office, 7450 Butler Rd.; East Sooke Community Hall, 1397 Coppermine Rd.; SEAPARC
Leisure Complex, 2168 Phillips Rd.