Council gave the Sooke Slo Pitch Association the ‘OK’ to develop angle parking along the west shoulder of Sooke River Road, across from Fred Milne Park, on June 25.
The association will bear all the costs and perform the work in developing a temporary parking lot. The work includes excavating and levelling out the area to make space for 50 to 60 cars — doubling the number of parking spaces.
“We’re paying for it,” said Mike Gibson, Sooke Slo Pitch Association vice-president. “We didn’t ask for any money from the municipality.”
Costs of the preliminary work are currently unknown.
According to figures provided by District staff, a fully constructed parking lot to municipal standards and split rail fence would cost $25,000.
During the regular council meeting, councillor Maja Tait suggested the funds should be provided to complete the project in its entirety.
To which, Mayor Wendal Milne objected.
“We don’t have 25K and I don’t think that’s where we should be spending it,” he said. “I don’t think good business is done in the heat of the moment.”
According to Gibson, the parking lot will improve safety conditions on the narrow road, and will be made available to all community members.
“It’s for anyone who’s using the park,” he said.
Gibson stated the parking space will be utilized for the association’s Sooke Slo Pitch Invitational tournament on August long weekend, which is expected to bring in 40 teams from around the Island.
“On August long weekend, there’s a lot of people going to the Sooke Potholes. If I could take 50 to 60 cars off Sooke River Road, (it will) cut down some of the congestion.”
The Sooke Horseshoe Club once eyed the area for horseshoe pitches.
The project is to be completed before August 2012, and council will re-evaluate the temporary parking lot next year.