A saga of competing interests may finally be drawing to an end in Sooke as district council has engaged a consultant to help determine what should go onto Lot A.
The property, located on Wadams Way, was originally bought in 2014 for the location of a new library.
The vagaries of the library debate aside, the land was rezoned in 2017 to allow for a library development to begin. The land was designated as town centre mixed use, also known as CTC, a zoning that would allow for the library as well as a potential for a mix of commercial, residential, and institutional use.
“Council had acquired the land for the library, but then we realized that there was a need for seniors to have a social gathering place. They (representatives of the seniors’ community) came to council, and we agreed to include that component for the property as well as some housing,” said Mayor Maja Tait.
“But we realized that we’d made a commitment to two groups, but what about everyone else?”
It was decided a formal consultation was needed and council hired Keycorp Planning Ltd. to engage with the community to determine the property’s future.
“It was time for us to get that consultant and have a good conversation about how we’re going to use the property in the most meaningful way,” said Tait.
Enter the charrette.
According to Keycorp, the term charrette is derived from the French term for a cart and used to describe a final intense work effort expended to meet a project deadline.
It involves a collaborative planning process that harnesses the talents of all interested parties
In an effort to embrace the process and, presumably, to ensure that the municipality doesn’t put the charrette before the horse, Keycorp is hosting a public workshop at the Sooke council chambers, 2205 Otter Point Rd., on Dec. 8 between 2:30 and 6 p.m.
“We’ve also engaged in additional stakeholder meetings that are going on right now and have a website at www.sookelota.com/forum where people who want a separate meeting can let us know,” said Keycorp planning consultant Niall Paltiel.
“The library is 1.1 acres of a five-acre lot and it’s very open at this point what goes on the remaining property.”
Following the charrette, Paltiel said Keycorp will be refining its proposals and hopes to be back to council in late January.