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After much deliberation, Sooke Council unanimously approved the SEAPARC Expansion Development Permit at the November 26 Regular Council meeting.
The changes mean an 11% space increase, with another 500 square feet added to the existing structure. Landscaping is not a requirement at this stage, that submitted with the application is speculation. This application was supported by the OCP.
Mayor Tait asked about the pedestrian connections, keeping in mind that Sooke has wanted Throup Rd to eventually connect to the back of SEAPARC for some time now. The Developer noted that the costing of the project was very sensitive. The Planning department noted that it was difficult to require a private developer to work on lands not owned by Sooke.
Councillor Logins said she was disappointed that the plan didn’t have that connection component, noting that SEAPARC is currently not very accessible by pedestrians.
Councillor St-Pierre took issue with the design, finding that the proposed entrance didn’t seem to reflect Sooke in any shape or form. There’s a lot of glass, a lot of metal, and it’s not attractive. One of the developers noted that there will wood in the interior, adding that there will be more mass timber than any building currently built in Sooke, including beams and slabs in the interior of the building. The outside of the building is clad for maintenance purposes and it was designed to meet operational requirements. There was a lot of covered outdoor seating, with a broad overhang that extended beyond the seating areas. There was also a long-term plan for increased bicycle parking. , including a parking shelter, budget willing. Mayor Tait added that the Commission did have that conversation, but they had to balance costs.
Councillor Parkinson asked if there would be any other grants allowing for application for pedestrian walkways. Development Services noted they recently completed sidewalk work on Phillips Road, and they are looking at revising the crosswalk. The manager at SEAPARC indicated there was to be some remediation on their part in the next year or so, so Sooke has not moved any more on this.
Councillor McMath asked if the budget include the greenery. The developer said if they can afford them, they will put them in. If the greenery runs the project over budget, they will have to decide on priorities.
Currently, they are expecting to come it on budget with the planned spaces (fitness, multipurpose rooms), though the site works costs are going up unexpectedly. They have an overall plan, and they can add and remove the optional elements.
Councillor Logins checked out the 6.6 meters driving aisle, and the Fire Chief confirmed that that would be fine. Councillor Beddows noted that this expansion would be a wonderful addition to our community, and Councillor Bateman called SEAPARC one of the jewels of the community.
Mayor Tait suggested the requisition might need to be expanded, she doesn’t want to see corners cut. Logins added that if they have to go over budget, she would support it.
The motion, that Council authorize the issuance of Development Permit PLN01407 for the purpose of creating an addition to the SEAPARC Leisure Centre SUBJECT TO the attached Prior to Issuance Conditions, carried unanimously.
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