Council is at fault for not examining all aspects of Bylaw 500 thoroughly (three of those previous council members are still sitting on the new council). The whole affair only demonstrates how poorly some senior staff did their work.
We now have John Phillips Memorial Park on the table. Seven years ago the committee was called into action, chaired by Councillor Jen Smith. I was on the committee until special circumstances in our family had me resign. I cannot recall any discussion to the large extent for building out this green space, but rather how to preserve it’s character.
We now have the situation that the best “filets” of the park are to be given over to the cyclists club. From personal observation, I know how popular the knoll is, from walks to enjoy the views and the copse of trees to winter time when the hill, with snow, is super active with sleighs and countless children.
Has senior staff even examined the books of the club as to the feasability to pull off this venture? Have they examined the legality of leasing this valuable public space without consultation of the public? The comments of the club member who attended the actual AGM of the club were telling, in contrast to Councillor Maja Tait’s hearsay statements.
There is a perfectly good, though gone-to-seed park by SEAPARC that could be reactivated with some engagements by this club. The excuse that at some time or other the much vaunted connector road will go through it does not hold water, since that dream is a long way away from fruition (only helping property owners along the way for development), but doing nothing for the congestion ahead of the bridge and past.
The park must remain as is with improvements for all the residents of Sooke. For the past seven years development in our area (Townsend, Church and all others) will necessitate a new round of consults with the public to determine what the added residents (and future development) will mean to the green lung of Sooke. Council should never forget that, even though elected, they are servants of the residents and look beyond the tip of their noses – as our forefathers did with Beacon Hill Park, Stanley Park, Edmonton River Park and other towns, big and small. The future is green!
Fred von Ilberg