The big issue at council on Monday night was the denial of access off Harbourview Road into Sooke Mountain Provincial Park.
There were those who wanted motorized vehicles to have access and there were those who wanted the land kept as wilderness accessible to those who hike, horseback ride or cycle.
The arguments were reminiscent of the debate that went on with the lands in the Juan de Fuca that Ender Ilkay wanted to turn into a recreational resort. This went on for a few years and in the end nothing happened, which was what the greater populations outside of Sooke wanted.
One side of the argument over the lands past Harbourview is that it could provide economic and tourism opportunities for Sooke, families could fish and swim there and the CRD “stole” the lands from Sooke residents.
On the other side people want to retain the pristine area as it is. The property is private and owned by the CRD, covenants are in place and private citizens helped raise money for the purchase of the lands. There were issues of noise, garbage and safety brought forth as well.
Old Sooke wants access like they had in years past but they forget that the population is now much greater than when they were young. Thousands of people accessing the wilderness area will destroy it because not everyone is kind and considerate of the environment. Some are, definitely but how do you police that? How do you ensure everyone thinks like you do? It will not be the same wilderness Old Sooke enjoyed.
Either way, it is going to be a battle. Legal opinion will be had on both sides of the issue and once again Sooke will be divided on what each thinks is the best approach.
A divided Sooke is a conquered Sooke and no one wins.