Transfer stations and horseshoes on council agenda

A brief recap of items on the District of Sooke council agenda

At the regular District of Sooke council meeting on June 23, council narrowly passed a motion giving first and second reading to a Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw amendment (Bylaw  596, 597) which would allow waste transfer stations in all properties zoned General Industrial (M2).

Mayor Wendal Milne and Councillors Maja Tait and Kerrie Reay were opposed. Milne stated that this should be a site specific deciison rather than a blanket zoning and he said he couldn’t support it.

“We don’t need 14 properties zoned this way,” said Milne.

His sentiments were echoed by Coun. Tait who stated, “I feel the business owner should lead the process, council is doing it the other way around. It looks like granting a special favour to me.”

At issue is a recycling and waste transfer station which is being operated on Idlemore illegally. The district had issued the land owner with a notice to initiate the required amendments, but no action had been taken to date.

Currently the Heavy Industrial zone (M3) is the only zone allowing waste management and recycling as a use. There is one compliant  transfer station operating in Sooke.

Councillor Rick Kasper stated that competition is healthy, and the market will decide. Coun. Herb Haldane said the land owner was paying over $200,000 in property taxes and was just trying to recoup his expenses.

At issue as well is the fact that there is no definition in the Official Community Plan as to transfer stations, recycling or garbage making it open to individual interpretation.

The vote passed four to three, with Councillors Rick Kasper, Herb Haldane, Bev Berger and Kevin Pearson voting in favour. A public hearing will be held in the near future.

Council voted in favour of allowing the Sooke Horseshoe Club to use one-half an acre in John Phillips Memorial Park. The club has only six members currently and they want to build eight pitches in the park.

The club had asked that District of Sooke park improvement funds be considered for the building of the pitches, while the club would be responsible for maintenance and repairs.

There was some talk of also using the fencing as part of an area to be used as an off-leash park for dogs. Cost estimates to build the pitches provided by the horseshoe club were at $10,000, which did not include any work which would be done by the district.

Councillor Kasper said council should dictate where the $100,000 in park improvement funds should go.

Mayor Milne said he had no issue with working towards the club’s goal but it had to  be done right. A public consultation process will move forward.

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