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Sooke council gets wires crossed on park plans

Two proposals considered by council
The District of Sooke is mulling plans for the development of John Phillips Memorial Park. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)

Plans to create a festival and event structure at John Phillips Memorial Park are on hold so municipal staff can consult with other groups considering projects in the park.

District council defeated a recommendation that would have seen Sooke Program of the Arts (SPA) committee receive $30,000 for a design consultant to determine the best location for festival infrastructure in the park, and develop a 50-per-cent design drawing.

The request is separate from a proposal by the Sooke Lions Club to build a two-storey, multi-use building in the park that would include a community centre, daycare, clubhouse, offices, concession and outdoor stage.

ALSO READ: Lions eye community centre at John Phillips Park in Sooke

There was confusion by councillors and those in the public gallery on why the item came before council: it had nothing to do with the Lions club proposal.

Mayor Maja Tait said they were two separate agenda items, pointing out any recommendations from a committee must come before council.

The SPA committee discussed the proposal in July just as council decided to send the Lions plan to an alternative approval process. Council used the AAP to determine the opinion of the electorate.

“It was strictly coincidental that the SPA committee had been discussing creating infrastructure to hold festivals and events (at John Phillips Memorial Park),” said Coun. Dana Lajeunesse, council’s representative on the committee. “It just happened this item came onto the SPA agenda at the same time the AAP was announced.”

On Thursday (Oct. 14), district chief administrative officer Norm McInnis met with Sooke Lions Club representatives to discuss the next steps in their project.

“It will likely take some time (into 2022) to produce the concept design information for a community meeting,” he said.

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Kevin Laird

About the Author: Kevin Laird

It's my passion to contribute to the well-being of the community by connecting people through the power of reliable news and storytelling.
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