The Chruch Road property in question as it currently awaits development. (File Photo)

The Chruch Road property in question as it currently awaits development. (File Photo)

Sooke council removes bus station requirement

B.C. Transit wants bus shelter, but bus doesn’t service new development

A developer of a senior housing facility on Church Road may not need to build an additional bus shelter after all, as Sooke council amended the “unnecessary” requirement last week.

The development, which initially announced 146 units in 2011, was paired down recently to 40 units, drastically reducing the need for a bus service along that route, council argued.

Up until last week, the developer was required by the District of Sooke, with a recommendation from B.C. Transit, to build a bus shelter at the cost of $15,000, adding it was deemed “desirable” (for the previously-proposed 146 units).

Comprised of three lots – 2096, 2110 and 2120 Church Road – the development is known as the Knox Community Centre, featuring a senior residence facility and a church redevelopment. It will be located on the west side of Church Road between Throup and Sooke roads.

“Asking somebody to put a transit stop where the bus doesn’t go up or down that street would be unnecessary, so I have no problem taking it off the table,” said Coun. Kerrie Reay, adding to build a bus stop without any bus service would only create confusion among residents.

Currently, there is no bus service on Wadams Way, given that it’s a fairly-new road, but demand for such a thing could spike up with coming developments, such as the new Vancouver Island Regional Library.

Going forward, this is something hard to ignore, noted Mayor Maja Tait.

“When Lot A gets developed, and there’s a library there, and potentially other community facilities, we may easily make the argument that we need to see the community bus move back along Wadams Way and come down Church Road,” she said, adding that under B.C. Transit’s current rules, the bus stop has to be in place prior to occupancy, making implementation tricky, at best.

Elaine Kouwenberg, a Knox Vision Society representative, told council the bus shelter would add to the cost, which isn’t ideal.

“We do not want to incur any more costs as our building is imminent. We are waiting for funding to be released by the B.C. government, and we are seeking to proceed as quickly as possible,” she said.

Council voted unanimously to remove the requirement for the bus stop, citing there wasn’t enough evidence to show a bus stop would benefit the residents.