Drivers Welding at 5536 Sooke Rd. has had its application for a zoning variance denied. The move threatens the long-standing Sooke business. (Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke council threatens to close long-time business

Driver’s Welding application for a temporary zoning variance denied

In a move that threatens to shutter a long-time business, Sooke council has denied a request to issue a temporary use permit for Driver’s Welding at 5536 Sooke Rd.

The decision could result in enforcement action by the district, and force the business to close

“I’m numb at this point,” said Driver, after the decision.

“I’m going to need some time to look at my options. Right now, I just can’t comment.”

Council denied Driver’s application due to lack of information.

Over a two-month period, municipal staff requested a rainwater management plan, a landscape estimate for the remediation of Ayum Creek which runs past his property, and a height verification of buildings on the property.

Appearing at council, Driver said he did not have time to collect the information, and asked for more time.

“This was not fun. It was the most gut-wrenching decision I’ve had to make on council,” said Coun Al Beddows adding his decision was influenced by his belief some of the uses listed on Driver’s application were not historically what had been happening on the property.

Beddows also referred to the environmental concerns related to Ayum Creek.

“The tide has changed and the environmental concerns related to the salmon stream have become more important,” he said.

Beddows said while he’s aware that shutting down Driver’s business could lead to job losses in the community and regrets that outcome, he had to consider those impacts as “collateral damage.”

ALSO READ: Passion for classic cars

The two dissenting votes on the issue, Coun. Jeff Bateman and Coun.Megan McMath did not share the majority opinion to deny the permit.

“I wanted to see a scenario that would allow him to continue into next year. I especially thought his (antique) car lot was a cool thing,” Bateman said.

McMath agreed and said she didn’t want to see the business go.

“I voted to give him more time. This is a long-running issue and we should have found a way to have him stay,” she said.

The long-running issue was noted in an administrative report to council citing events dating back to 2002. But the issue seemed at least partially resolved last January when council passed a bylaw to allow for temporary use permits for historic non-conforming non-residential uses in the Gateway Residential area, including Driver’s business.

RELATED: Tearful accusations

It was noted at the time that it was possible the new official community plan could allow Driver’s Welding to be an acceptable use in the area.

But the new OCP is still two years off, Beddows said, and under the new rules, Driver still needs to apply for a variance permit and meet all the requirements of the bylaw.

Derek Lewers, a next-door neighbor of Driver, who has appeared repeatedly to speak in opposition to the welding business, spoke at length at the meeting as well.

He praised municipal staff for its report and the recommendation to deny the application, saying “it almost feels like I had a hand in writing it.”

As to what will happen next, there is no clear path forward.

“This is now a legal matter and the staff report will be considered in-camera before anything happens,” said Norm McInnis, the district’s chief administrative officer.

” It won’t be a swift process. It’s going to take some time before this is all over.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Province launches lawsuit over Esquimalt sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after being dropped from marine lift in 2018

Land sale could threaten Shirley’s water supply: officials

Sale will allow for the subdivision and development of forestry lands

North Saanich Fire Department wins national Movember challenge

Team raises more than urban Edmonton, Toronto firefighters

Crash backs up northbound lanes of Pat Bay Highway

Drive BC warns of heavy congestion along busy route

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read