Original post: May 23, 2023
I want to publish this one before tonight's meeting, so apologies for the sprawl and a promise to do the necessary corrections, clarifications, typo and grammatical surgery, etc. in future ...
1. Summary points
3. Four variances in the CD-7 Zone to be deliberated tonight
4. Property history
5. 2009-2023 timeline
6. Seacliff Properties
7. Site details in general and tonight's Phase A proposal in particular
8. List of reports prepared for the current and original applications
9. Public Pushback and Alternative Visions
10. Minutes from related 2009-2012 council meetings
11. Final thoughts for now
1. The CD-7 zoning applicable to the Seacliff Properties development permit was approved in June, 2009. That zoning is based on the full-scale masterplan provided by the original developer. It includes nature trails, boardwalk, marina and environmental protection areas (the cormorant-nesting trees). It was conceived in context of the 2001 OCP.
2. The applicant is sharing its plan for the upper-tier, Sooke Road-facing portion of the property only. No details nor commitments are provided for future phases.
3. The application is legal as per the approved zoning and wouldn't be coming to council if not for four requested variances. Regulatory "certainty" is the number one ask of the building/development community, and the CD-7 zone provides it.
4. There's been significant community pushback in recent weeks. This notably includes a letter signed by all members of the 2020-22 OCP Advisory Committee, who write in part: "The developer's request for a building height of eight storeys, as well as drive-thru commercial, is contrary to the community's views expressed to us during the planning process and the 2022 draft OCP ... Please stay consistent with our community's vision and decline this proposal."
5. The proposal, IMO, is entirely solid and professional but lacking Sooke flavour and is business-as-usual urban routine. This spectacular, strategically important town-centre location demands something extraordinary for this and future generations.
6. Unlike the original applicants during the rezoning process and at the public hearing nearly 15 years ago, Seacliff has held no open houses nor done any public engagement (as per its right given it has legal zoning)
7. We, as a community working with the applicant and the zoning, can arguably do better.
My possible (quite likely naive but logical, I think) ask tonight
* That council deny the variances (on grounds related to the drastic lack of amenity space required by the zoning)
* This would give the District a period of grace to get our #Sooke house in order (i.e., completion of the Official Community Plan and a substantial start on the new zoning bylaw and refreshed Town Centre Plan)
* Creation of a task force focused on the town centre core and TC transitional designations comprised of reps from council, the District, the Sooke Builders Association, the Chamber, School District #62, developers and other players identified in the Terms of Reference.
* This group (effectively a Town Centre Plan committee) would blue-sky how the OCP and other master-plan policies, values and practices could be applied. What is the best possible outcome for Sooke?
* Once the task force reports out, we compare the resultant Made-In-Sooke/T'Sou-ke vision with the current proposal, see where the synchronicities align and renew the discussion. (Seacliff might even welcome a pause given that its hands must be full elsewhere with its massive west-shore Royal Beach, Westview and City Gate projects.)
Okay that said, onwards with what i prepared this weekend ...
It was envisioned as a game-changer for Sooke's waterside town-centre east end 14 years ago. Yet Mariner's Village didn't progress beyond the first-phase mix of condos and town homes we're familiar with today. The five-storey building with its courtyard and sea views was a first taste of the density called for by our Town Centre Plan, adopted mere weeks before Mike Barrie's ill-fated six-phase project received its own zone (CD-7) within the Zoning Bylaw.
That first cluster of 91 units was followed by the remarkable waterfront Harbourside and West Wind Harbour co-housing projects. Otherwise all has remained pretty quiet south of Sooke Road apart from rumours, flowering real estate signs and tentative first steps.
The pregnant pause is over. WestUrban's pair of mixed-use commercial/residential buildings have been approved for the westside of Brownsey Blvd. and green construction fencing now rings the property. Slimline town homes are beginning to pop up on Aragon's Wadams Farm project at Church and Wadams. And the BC Housing modular complex across from Art Morris Park on Charters is open (now 30% occupied) with the twinned larger buildings on Drennan to follow in 2024.
Now Vancouver-based Seacliff Properties is seeking a development permit with variations for the upper tier, Sooke Road-fronting portion of the former Mariner's Village at Tuesday night's council meeting (see agenda, pp. 5-188). Future development sites in this immediate area are to on the west side of Goodmere and on the northeast-side of Sooke Road. Sooke Elementary School is also due for a major rethink/rebuild.
The assumption is Seacliff will continue onwards in future with full development of the site in fulfilling the requirements of the CD-7 zone (agenda pp. 59-69), yet I'm not aware of any written commitments or references by the applicant to future phases of what it now calls Harbourview. [This lack of clarity about its intentions for the property as a whole beyond the area now under consideration is a concern. The feedback from the T'Sou-ke First Nation (pg. 82) states as much: "The extent of the project is unclear (e.g., the project footprint) and requires clarification ... Please can the District of Sooke provide a description of the number of phases associated with the project and show extent of these on a map that also shows the archaeological site, the cormorant rookery and marine setback." Agreed.]
Browsing the agenda from pg. 117 onwards, you'll see resident correspondence citing significant concerns about the project's impacts.
i) Eradication, in large part, of the current, character-defining postcard view of the harbour and basin from Sooke Road. (Interestingly, this view wasn't available until the current zoning was enacted and the roadside homes and vegetation was removed. But now over this last decade it has become a defining part of the Sooke experience)
ii) The addition of another drive-thru fast-food and drink enterprise to Sooke Road.
iii) The prospect of our first-ever eight-storey apartment building (duly permitted in the 2009 bylaw. It will front on a new portion of Lanark Road while adding at least 120 more vehicles to an already congested highway.)
On the flipside, it must be noted, nobody is quoting the reasons Mayor Evans and her council championed Mariner's Village as a smart-growth kickstater for mixed-use town-centre development.
Nor why Mayor Milne's council approved a similar, mixed-use development permit (now lapsed) in 2012 for the same phase as Seacliff is trying to advance tonight. (In a consultant's report from a decade ago, Milne is quoted as saying: "Mariner’s Village creates new economic development opportunities, while providing infill in the town centre, and it reflects the principles of smart growth and good urban design. (It) will transform Sooke, through its revitalization of the town centre, and the creation of the heart of the community, all within an attractive urban space.”)
Scroll to the end of this post for a verbatim record of the minutes from those council and COW meetings.
The four requested variances that are to be the focus of council's deliberations
1. Screening and Landscaping Requirements: Removal of requirement for 1.5m wide continuous landscaping along Goodmere and Lanark Road
2. Reduction of the minimum allowable Amenity Area from the required 10% (2,680m2, or 28,847 sq. feet) to 0.006% (164m2 or 1,765 sq. ft). (Amenity area in the bylaw under 807.11-d is defined as "outdoor common space, provided on a lot for use and maintained by the residents of that lot and excludes yards, storage areas, off-street parking, driveways, or areas designated for use by an individual owner, such as Limited Common Property or individual patio/backyard/front yard areas.")
3. Development and maintenance standards for off-street parking: "The seven stratified townhouse units within Building C will be provided with individual garages accessed off of Lanark Rd. that will require them to back onto Lanark Road to exit or enter the parking space."
4. Subdivision & Standards Bylaw requirement: Reduce width of a sidewalk from 4m to 2m to allow increase in boulevard landscapingn from 0m to 2m. (staff support this provided the applicant maintains the landscaping in perpetuity and that it not be a District responsibilty)
Without these variances, the application would have been approved by staff as per their otherwise positive review of the zoning requirements (agenda pp. 71-75). [This said, I'm not clear why the OCP's Development Permit Area guidelines weren't reviewed in depth for this application as they were so rigorously with last winter's WestUrban application. I'll need to ask about that.]
A Little History
From the 2009 archaeological report: "The project area is within the traditional territory of the T’Sou-ke and Scia'new First Nations ... The general subsistence pattern of the T’Sou-ke and Scia’new was focused on salmon fishing. They used reef-nets suspended between two canoes to catch large numbers of salmon. Reef-netting is a highly composite technology that required significant social organization to coordinate. Salmon was dried and stored and provided much of the annual diet. In consort with salmon and other fish species, the T’Sou-ke and Scia’new relied on hunting of deer, waterfowl and sea mammals, and the collection of shellfish and numerous species of edible plants as seasonally available.
In general, there are several medium to large sized shell midden sites along Sooke Harbour. Large middens in the Sooke area are generally interpreted as semi-permanent habitation sites or villages. These sites contain a large number and variety of artifacts and often contain human burials. Shell midden sites have been recorded away from the ocean and likely represent shorter-term camps. Inland non-midden sites are present, but are not as numerous and generally include lithic scatters and burial cairns.
One area of relatively level well to moderately drained terrain was identified in the southwest portion of 6569 Sooke Road and this area was considered to have high archaeological potential. Previously unrecorded archaeological site DcRw 55 was identified in this portion of the study area ... The study area has sustained a significant amount of disturbance from past residential construction, landscaping, service installation and land clearing. Midden deposits have been affected by bioturbation but otherwise appear intact. The lithic artifact identified in the field, just under the sod, was likely transported and deposited from another portion of DcRw 55. Historic debris including glass fragments and a square nail were identified in a few of the subsurface tests in the field. It is possible that this artifact was part of a different site that has since been destroyed as a result of years of land clearing and possible plowing."
Elida Peers prepared a post-settler history of the property as part of the Wittich Environmental report filed a year ago.
It states that the land was owned circa 1870 by stonemason Jonas Throup and his family. They grew oats and planted an apple orchard, site of the Apple House (later moved to Maple Avenue near Millennium Park and coverted into a single-family home.) A barn on the property housed oxen.
Circa World War I, the property was split into two and roadside homes were built by the Richardson and Duncan families. One half eventually featured the multi-unit Sooke Motel, built in 1969 and demolished in the 2000s. A roadside commercial building at the current site entrance first housed Richardson Building Supplies and later such tenants as Juan de Fuca Reality, Hallgren and Faulkner Solicitors, the Sooke Mirror newspaper, a florist shop and two drycleaning businesses. The traffic light at this corner was installed in 2002, Sooke's second.
- March 21, 2009: Mariner's Village public open house
- April 20, 2009: Architect's presentation and overview to council
- June 29, 2009: Public hearing on rezoning
- July 13, 2009: Zoning Amendment Bylaw 270-57 adopted
(creating the Mariner's Village CD-7 zone within the Sooke Zoning Bylaw - see pg. 149-160)
- Feb. 13, 2012: Development Permit issued for "Merchant's Landing," a four-to-six-storey mixed-use building with two floors of commercial space, one floor of office space and 36 condo residences fronting Sooke Road
- March, 2012: Mariner's Village first phase residential (33 condos, 16 town homes) completed
- 2015: Enters receivership with $20m debt - 2015 (Times Colonist article + Sooke News Mirror)
- 2016: Purchased by Rowanwood, sold to Seacliff in ?
- 2018: Mick Rhodes campaigns on turning the property into a waterfront park (SNM + What Is Your Vision Sooke)
- 2022: Seacliff Properties announces plans for Harbourview project utilizing using CD-7 zoning: July 2022
This big-league Vancouver-based developer announced last summer (Times Colonist, Sooke News Mirror) that it had purchased the property from its former owner Rowanwood Capital Corp. Seacliff promised, as the headline said, to "breathe new life into the stalled (MV) Sooke development."
Our waterfront was thus added to Seacliff's sizeable South Island project list, currently topped by City Gate across from the Langford Costco (site of the Island's first Tesla Centre), the Westview housing development on Skirt Mountain and Colwood's Royal Beach (i.e., the waterfront parcel south of Metchosin Road in Royal Bay; it will feature 930 residences and 50 acres of oceanfront parkland). Over three decades the company's been involved with the construction of GM Place and the Bentall Centre in Vancouver, the 2010 Olympic speed-skating oval in Richmond, and Victoria's Hillside Shopping Centre.
From the press release: "Seacliff Properties is excited to invest long-term in Sooke and move this much-anticipated project ahead. We're looking forward to working with the District to bring the high-quality amenities that will significantly enhance the area and be of great benefit to the citizens of Sooke. Our team is also excited to bring a multi-year employment opportunity which will create a ripple effect of jobs and economic benefits to local businesses."
[Seacliff clearly recognizes the value of building quality neighbourhood communities. Amenities being provided at the 134-acre Royal Beach development, for instance, include an extensive trail network, a village plaza, outdoor amphitheatre, picnic shelters and BBQ pit, viewpoints and lookouts; public gathering areas, playgrounds and kids splash pads, a dog wash station and off-leash dog are, outdoor fitness stations and a significant art and culture corridor which highlights the seaside beauty while reflecting on the mining and Songhees First Nations history of the site."]
Site Details in General and this Phase in Particular
Amenities for the CD-7 zone were pre-determined in 2009 in negotiation with the original owners and are itemized in the bylaw: construction of a public boardwalk (for future connection with the Rotary Pier) and wharf area on the waterfront; a "nature trail" leading through a "green corridor" towards the water from the site's lonely but majestic oak tree; careful preservation of the cormorant-nesting trees; a multi-use public trail descending to the wharf; public washrooms; public art; a fund for flower baskets and banners; and contributions to the affordable housing fund. (Many of these items were costed out in 2009 dollar values, which is unfortunate given the rising costs of everything.)
This recent Citified article explains the plans for Seacliff's first phase of three buildings -- roadside commercial with drive-thru, a second set of commercial buildings paired with town homes, and (brace yourself) an eight-story rental mid-rise that will translate as six-storeys when viewed from Sooke Road.
All told, the full property is zoned for 194 residences. This phase combined with the 49-units in the original existing building would bring the count to 147. This leaves 47 units for future phases, though it is noted that further density is possible once the zone's amenities are delivered.
The three buildings proposed:
* The structure closest to the current site entrance off Sooke Road is to be a one-storey commercial building with four commercial units (576 sq. meters), including a TBD drive-thru business. (Rumoured: Starbucks or a new location for Sooke's existing McDonalds).
* Further east along Sooke Road will be a three-storey mixed-use building with 1,088m2 (11,711 sq. feet) of commercial space and seven townhomes accessible from Lanark Road.
* Down the hill at the southern edge of where the food trucks parked these last few years will be an eight-storey building (Sooke's largest to date) featuring 91 multi-family, market-priced rental apartments.
Aesthetic, environmental and quality of life aspects cited in Tuesday's report include:
- BC Energy Step Code level 2 and 3 construction as per the Sooke Building Code;
- low-carbon concrete to be used in construction (as per the City of Langford's Low Carbon Concrete Policy);
- three public art installations;
- a living (green) wall;
- a small amenity area for residents;
- pedestrian passageways through the site;
- raised, speed-bump style crosswalks on Goodmere and Lanark;
- 120 residential parking spaces (1.6 per unit);
- 52 commercial parking spaces;
- EV charging roughed in for all parking stalls in the rental mid-rise with 12 active EV parking spots and availability of a single stage-2 EV charger;
- the roof of the rental building will be solar ready (but not equipped with panels);
- 98 bike stalls (80% of them indoors for residents);
- simulated wood panelling is to be used on exteriors
A covenant was finalized in 2010 dictating road work to be executed on a TBD schedule by MOTI should the DP be granted at this time:
- second eastbound lane along full frontage of property
- east-bound left turn lane into Sooke Elementary
From the staff report: "The applicant has provided the community amenity space and pedestrian walkway as a view corridor" (?)
Additional requirements requested by staff:
- Rainwater Management Plan
- Frontage works (sidewalks) on Sooke Road
- Erosion and sediment control plan
- Street tree planting plan
- FireSmart landscape plantings
T'Sou-ke referral: Acknowledgement that the property's one known archeological site -- a shell midden - was identified in an Archeological Assessment Study and must be treated with care and respect.
From FOI releases ...
Documentation prepared for the current DP application for Phase A
- Traffic Impact Assessment (Watt Consulting, July 4, 2022)
- Geotechnical Assessment (C.N. Ryzuk & Associates, May 13, 2022)
- Environmental Assessment (Corvidae Environmental Consulting, July 2022)
- Harbourview Phase A Development Application (Seacliff, June 2022)
- Harbourview Design Brief (Islander Engineering, June 30, 2022)
- Rainwater Management Plan (Islander Engineering, June 30, 2022)
- Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (WES Environmental, June 8, 2022)
- Sooke Historian Report (Elida Peers, June 3, 2022)
- Serviceability Review (Stantec Consulting, April 19, 2022)
Documentation for the original proposal in 2009:
- Geotechnical Assessment (C.N. Ryzuk & Associates)
- Conceptual Civil Design (Focus Corp.)
- Rainwater Management Plan (Focus Corp.)
- Environmental Impact Assessment (Trow Associates)
- Archaeological Impact Assessment (I.R. Wilson Consultants)
- Traffic Impact Assessment (Boulevard)
- Parking Study
- Proposed Site Plan
- Plans re: Marina Expansion, On and off-site servicing
- Merrick Architecture/Focus Development Permit application
Public Pushback and Alternative Visions
Yes, this is a charged and emotional issue locally. Council has over the last week received several dozen letters from the public (most included in Tuesday's agenda, pp. 103-188). Two-time majoralty candidate Mick Rhodes earned a significant number of votes with his well documented vision of purchasing the land and transforming it into a public park (see his update on pp. 169-179 of tonight's agenda).
While there was no postcard view from Sooke Road prior to the 2009 rezoning (judging by period aerial photos and my failing memory), we've grown to love the widescreen panorama that was created when the property's existing two roadside buildings and a cedar hedgerow were removed from the edge of Sooke Road along with the motel and its parking lot at the foot of the slope.
Much if not all of that view will be eradicated with the three new buildings. Correspondents also warn of still more traffic on an increasingly congested Sooke Road at a time when we're still in the relatively early days of building out the Phillips-Throup-Grant Rd. bypass.
One submission last week that particularly made me jump to attention was signed by all seven members of the 2020-22 OCP Advisory Committee, a VIP group selected by the last council from a stack of applications we'd received. You'll find their letter on pg. 165 of the agenda.
They collectively write: "The developer's request for a building height of eight storeys, as well as drive-thru commercial, is contrary to the communty's views expressed to us during the planning process and the 2022 draft OCP ... The Sooke Basin personifies our community's character. It is a cherished public amenity. It provides potential development opportunities. The creation and embellishment of significant view corridors and green space must be a top priority ... Please stay consistent with our community's vision and decline this proposal."
Substantial submissions have also been received from the Juan de Fuca Community Trails Society, 2022 council candidate Anna Russell and Rhodes himself. Former Lions Club president Loren Christensen is concerned about the pace of growth and the lack of road infrastructure; he asks us to "stop now, let's take a breath!" (aka "the pause that refreshes," as my 2018 campaign slogan put it.)
As Ms. Russell states, "there is still considerable room to negotiate in the public interest." She notes the lack of a full-site plan (unlike that supplied in the original 2009 proposal and on which the CD-7 zoning was closely based.) Given my experience with her on the Climate Action Committee and during the election campaign, I listen attentively to her invariably bright, articulate, thoroughly researched and respectful comments.
Her asks (agenda pp. 181-188) summarized in brief:
1. Protection of the view corridor from top of the site
2. Completion of environmental assessment and rainwater management plans for the entire property, not just its top shelf
3. Echoing the T'Sou-ke request, a site plan for the entire property (as supplied in the original 2009 proposal and on which the CD-7 zoning was closely based) including clarification of how future public amenities and the zoning's amenity requirements are to be actioned.
4. Denial of the drive-thru component on grounds that it doesn't match spirit of current and next OCPs
5. Heat pump and electric hot-water heating in all buildings
6. More creative design (i.e., replace the simulated wood siding with the real thing - see BC's Wood First Initiative)
Original MV Proposal: Minutes from 2009/2010 Council Meetings
Back in 2009, an exacting comprehensive development zone was added to the Sooke Zoning Bylaw (CD-7).
The development permit application stated: "Simplistically, the site can be divided into 3 sections each consisting of a third of the site. The uppermost or northern portion of the site is adjacent to Sooke Road and consists of a mixed-use type development with Commercial Retail, Offices, Multifamily Residential and Live/work units.
The middle portion of the site also consists of Commercial Retail at grade along the Church Road extension with the remainder of this section consisting of multifamily residential condominiums and townhouses.
The last portion or final third of the site is proposed to be a higher density form of residential development. While the buildings may extend up to 8 stories in height, they will terrace down blending in with the natural topography of the site. Locating these buildings at the lowest portion of the site allows the upland buildings waterfront views over them.
A public wharf and commercial buildings with marina facilities, a restaurant and / or pub, and other commercial uses will extend out over the waterfront on piers."
The Mariner's Village CD-7 comprehensive development zone was approved in July, 2009 mere weeks after passage of Sooke's Town Centre Plan. The buzz is captured well in this What the Sooke entry from realtor Tim Ayres ...
"Sooke is quickly becoming one of the province’s fastest growing communities. New neighbourhoods are under construction, new parks and trails being established, and new commercial developments are being undertaken. Perhaps the most exciting of these developments is the Mariner’s Village project. Mariner’s Village is a mixed-use, multi-phase waterfront development which will include condominiums and townhouses, a new marina, restaurants, shops, offices and more. Much more than just a subdivision, Mariner’s Village is the first step in the re-imagining of downtown Sooke. The town’s official community plan calls for enhanced development south of Sooke Road (Hwy 14) to improve public access and sight lines of our spectacular waterfront of the Sooke Harbour and Basin."
Mayor Evans and her council championed the project, but I can't find any direct quotes from this group apart from the record of council minutes reproduced below. The next council led by Mayor Milne were also enthusiastic, as per this quote from Milne included in an undated (likely 2011) summary of the project written by Sooke's former Director of Planning Marlaina Elliott some years after she'd left that position: “Mariner’s Village creates new economic development opportunities, while providing infill in the town centre, and it reflects the principles of smart growth and good urban design,” Milne is quoted as saying. “Mariner’s Village will transform Sooke, through its revitalization of the town centre, and the creation of the heart of the community, all within an attractive urban space.”
The former motel and two existing Sooke Road-fronting homes were demolished (in part during firefighter training exercises.) Rock was trucked in and the property's vegetation (invasive species mainly) was cleared apart from what was protected in the new zoning -- namely a solitary oak tree and the line of trees along what was (and still is) to be the site's primary public green space with a trail that would descend to a new section of boardwalk (which would link in time with the Rotary Pier and create a complete town-centre loop via Ed Macgregor Park on what is now known as the Sea Walk Trail.)
A development permit was secured for the second (of a planned six) phases that would have built-out a Sooke Road-facing mixed-use building called Merchant's Landing; it was to feature a four-to-six storey building with two floors of commercial, one floor of medical offices, and 36 residential units above. Yet this got nowhere as Condor Properties ground to an end. I'm not aware of why the company went into receivership in 2015, but the project's prospects certainly weren't helped by an extended recession that froze anticipated local growth prior to the accelerated uptick we've seen in recent years.
Minutes from Sooke Council Meetings: 2009-2012
Mariner's Village presentation, April 20, 2009
"Mitch Sakomoto and Paul Merrick, Merrick Architecture, gave an overview of the Mariners Village concept plan. Focus and Condor Properties also attended the meeting.
Mr. Merrick stated that the Mariners Village proposition fits with the proposed Town Centre Plan as to road networks/ pathways and creating residential density mixed with commercial in the town centre.
Mr. Sakomoto stated that the development exists within several zones and proposes a comprehensive development zone with commercial residential nearest to Sooke Road, Commercial residential, multi-family residential, etc. The property is approximately 4.5 hectares, with the development proposing 90 units per hectare, keeping within required
setbacks. It is proposed that the marina will expand from the existing 30 slips to 150 slips.
The development proposes:
- to keep pedestrians walking through the site
- provide landscaped courtyards between the buildings
- promote walking and transit use
- to keep building heights at 4 stories on Sooke Road, higher near to the water as the waterfront property slopes down to the water
- underground parking
- to keep existing trees as much as possible
- to provide treed boulevards
- boulevards to encourage greater use of pedestrian sidewalks
- to install permeable pavers that can be textured for icy conditions
- rain gardens and bio-swales on the roads, with retention ponds so that water can filter down and through the property
sustainable design technologies in the buildings – geo-thermal, natural ventilation, etc.
- to consider community gardens on the roof-tops or in the court-yards buildings with non-combustible construction mix with some wood frame.
- six phase project
Council asked about bike lanes on the side roads and when the rezoning proposal will come forward. Gerald Christie advised the referrals have been sent out and when received and reviewed, staff will bring forward the rezoning.
The pump station will be located by the water and the developers are discussing shared use of the pump by other developers. The developers have spoken to adjacent property owner on water and they accept the siting of the pump station.
Evan Parliament advised that VIHA and local physicians have been in discussion with the District of Sooke staff concerning a new medical facility on this site. This would be a start of the commercial growth in the Town Centre; staff with Council approval will work to meet timelines for the medical facility.
Al Fontes advised that this is good proposal using green technologies; permeable pavers, bio-swales, wide sidewalks. There is a concern about bike lanes which requires 3 metres, but the development has already provided 22 metre wide lanes. The development is very pedestrian friendly. Upgrading will occur on Slemco Road.
Gerald Christie stated that this development fits well with the proposed Official Community Plan and Town Centre Plan and it has integrated most of what was envisioned for the Town Centre. This development illustrates what a 90 units per hectare development and 2 to 6 story buildings looks like when integrated with the right slope.
Council discussed the need to consider how pedestrians can move through the town centre from other parts of the Town Centre in respect to this development; entrances for bikes at Dover, Goodmere, Lanark, Slemko, etc. Parks and Trail Master Plan proposes boardwalk or trail through this area and bike lanes on Sooke Road.
Troy, Bear Mountain asked if the existing boardwalk would meet with this development and connect with the Galloping Goose. Connection to the boardwalk is planned, but there are private boat moorage and properties that must consent. When the Galloping Goose crosses the Sooke River, there may be access to the boardwalk via Sooke Road.
Mr. Christie advised that Staff are comfortable with moving ahead with the development proposal at this time, taking into consideration the status of the OCP and Town Centre Plan. Council suggested that an alternate bike lane could be incorporated into the development, perhaps on the shore.
Mr. Merrick stated that the developers have tried to configure the buildings and the development of the two cross and two water to Sooke Road arteries each to have different character; all existing in a broader fabric of the Town Centre and providing public pathways/trails and spaces. The purposeful treed area on the shoreline is meant to protect the embankment and provide a park land amenity."
First and second reading: June 15, 2009
B-3 Bylaw No. 405, Zoning Amendment Bylaw (270-57)
MOVED and seconded that Council amend Bylaw No. 405, Zoning Amendment Bylaw (270-57) to integrate amenity contributions with the zoning regulations for the Mariners Village Comprehensive Development Amenity Zone;
AND THAT COUNCIL hold a public hearing on proposed Bylaw No. 405 on June 29, 2009, and to direct the Corporate Officer to publish and deliver the statutory hearing notices with the two required newspaper notices appearing in the Sooke News Mirror. CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Public Hearing: June 29, 2009
"Mayor Evans advised that any person who believes that their interest in property is affected by the proposed bylaws would be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard or to present written submissions at the public hearings.
Gerald Christie read and submitted a report detailing the bylaw process and provided Council with additional information as to a second covenant as part of this rezoning.
The second covenant specifically details the works and services required for Highway 14 as part of this development.
The applicants architect provided a PowerPoint presentation of the proposed development. Boulevard transportation provided information as to the traffic Impact Assessment.
A discussion ensued involving questions and comments from Council staff and the applicant’s representatives.
Chris Bryant, Sooke Road asked if an image from Sooke Road could be provided to be able to better understand the elevation view from Highway 14. The architect was unable to provide the view.
Sylvia Hallgren, Sooke Road, asked if details of the grade for the extension of Church Road could be provided. Al Fontes responded that the design is not complete and that the District of Sooke Bylaw requirement is a maximum 15% grade.
It was also explained that this is the public’s opportunity to address the proposed zoning of the property.
Richard Lambert, Sooke Road, asked if there was a bylaw controlling view scapes and that cycle lanes be considered within the development to take the cyclist traffic off Highway 14.
Mayor Evans called three times for submissions. Hearing none, she closed the public hearing at 8:05 pm. MOVED and seconded that Bylaw No. 405, Zoning Amendment Bylaw (270-57) be read a third time. CARRIED"
[Note: Minutes at this time did not include names of movers and seconders. Council meetings were not recorded prior to 2015. Council present at the hearing: Janet Evans, Sheila Beech, Dave Bennett, Bev Burger, Ron Dumont, Herb Haldane and Maja Tait. Staff: CAO Evan Parliament, Director of Finance Dave Devana, Council Clerk Lisa Ulracher, Director of Planning Gerald Christie, Director of Engineering Al Fontes and Fire Chief Steve Sorenson.]
Bylaw Adoption: July 13, 2009
B-1 Bylaw No. 405, Zoning Amendment Bylaw (270-57) - Mariner’s Village
MOVED and seconded that Bylaw No. 405, Zoning Amendment Bylaw (270-57) be adopted.
Development Permit for Phase 1 Residential: March 22, 2010
"Gerald Christie gave a short overview of the development permit application for Mariner’s Village. Mr. Merinick, consultant for Mariner's Village, gave a power point presentation on the preliminary master plan for the overall Mariners Village.
• Water access and water views – re-aligned internal roads for view
• Preserved the natural areas
• First phase 1A – 4 story condo
• Phase 1B coming in next couple of weeksCouncil discussed with Mike Barrie, Applicant and consultant:
- Entrance at Church Road and Sooke Road – will be designed for large trucks during construction; there must a safety plan for site;
- Commercial component will occur in subsequent phases
- Construction to start as soon as possible with proposed occupancy in one year
MOVED and seconded to issue a Development Permit (PLN00758) to construct a thirty- three (33) unit residential building for Mariner’s Village Phase 1 located on Lot 1, Section 72, Sooke District, Plan 9020.
Mariner's Village Phase 2 - Development Permit: February 13, 2012
Gerard LeBlanc provided a PowerPoint presentation and overviewed the Development Permit to construct a five-storey building (aka "Merchant's Landing") fronting Sooke Road.
* Implementation of OCP guidelines
* CD zoning
* View Corridors
* Public Space
* Transit Stop
* Landscaping agreement
MOVED and seconded to issue Development Permit PLN00922 for the purposes of constructing a mixed use commercial/residential building located on Lot A, Section 72, Sooke District, Plan EPP16476.
[Still no names attached to motions. Council at this time was led by Mayor Milne and featured Bev Berger, Herb Haldane, Rick Kasper, Kevin Pearson, Kerry Reay and Maja Tait.]
Council Discussion of New Zoning Bylaw: Dec. 3, 2012
"Concerns that view corridor guidelines were not followed in the CD7 zone (Mariner’s Village)"
Final Thoughts For Now
Zooming out for context, I'm hardly alone in recognizing we're in a particularly ripe moment in Sooke's suddenly accelerated evolutionary history. We have an Official Community Plan that is labouring to be born (and will be front-and-centre again at the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 19 at 1 PM.) If adopted, it will be followed by a new Zoning Bylaw and, as mentioned, a refreshed Town Centre Plan. (To repeat: The Mariner's Village rezoning aligns with the Town Centre Plan, which had been adopted earlier in 2009.)
If I had my druthers, and I'm quite possibly being naive about the ways of this harsh, legalistic world, I'd like to see this current DP with variations request paused until we do, indeed, complete the OCP and ensure we are all on the same page (as we theoretically already are with the current Town Centre Plan and will be all the more so when the refresh is completed.)
To ensure progress is made towards that next town centre plan, council could create a task force to look explicitly at the OCP's proposed Town Centre Core and Town Centre Transitional land-use designations. This task force would involve key major citizens, community organizations and investors: Resident reps, the District, T'Sou-ke Nation, Sooke council, School District #62, Sooke Builders Association, the Chamber of Commerce, developers and others to be identified in a potential Terms of Reference. (Day after realization: I'm talking here about possible players Town Centre Plan committee, of course.)
Their mission: Revisit the big picture using the current Town Centre Plan as a foundation and ensure its priorities are being closely followed as we continue to build out the heart of Sooke. I fear this isn't happening, that in the rush to get stuff done we're blowing this opportunity to preserve and enhance our very special place on the island.
[Aside: My thoughts as I write this are influenced by my weekend replay of consultant Brent Toderian's public talk in the City of Langford last week (you'll find it at the bottom of this page). The celebrated former Vancouver and Calgary civic planner has been hired as a "growth, land development and city building" consultant and is following up on the work done over the past quarter century for Langford by the equally renowned Avi Friedman.
An initial contribution of Toderian's is the one-page "early guidance for development connected to the strategic plan update" included with Langford's May 18 agenda. <clip> "Council’s intention is to support growth with an emphasis on successful urban community-building, while increasingly emphasizing the quality of new higher density development, particularly in the context of livability, sustainability, affordability and development viability. The achievement of high-quality urban density will emphasize urban design and architectural design that results in engaging street-level activation and vibrancy, and an ambitious street tree canopy."
Visit Langford's May 18 council replay to hear from Toderian and heavyweight Strategic Plan consultant James Ridge, former North Vancouver CAO, in a formal council setting. Very informative for me as our current council moves towards our own new Strategic Plan (delayed as we necessarily focus on hiring a new CAO, our one/only employee, and advancing the OCP). The difference is that Langford is developing its first-ever Strat Plan whereas the District continues to action the previous council's plans, which in turn have roots in Strat Plans created by earlier Sooke councils.]
To be utterly, absolutely clear: We don't want to be Langford but we can learn from and apply best-practice at our smaller town scale. As Ridge says, land-use decisions are every local government's most powerful tool and that decisions made today will impact communities for generations.]
- Mariner's Village Twitter feed (last updated Jan. 31, 2013)
- "Waterfront Properties Ride A Rising Tide" - Douglas Magazine, 2012
- Merrick Architecture unrealized project for Grouse Nest, 2016