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Car wash plan gets go ahead

A proposed car wash/laundromat development behind Village Food Markets is one step closer to being built after it was given the green light by District of Sooke council on Sept. 18.

Public Hearings for the Murray Road “car wash” were held on Sept. 10 and Sept. 18 and the public got a chance to express their opinions on the proposal to build a car wash. The proponents were seeking a site specific Text Amendment to the Town Centre Commercial 2-South (CTC2) Zone to allow “car wash” as a permitted principal use.

Most people who came before the microphone were not opposed to a car wash but rather to the location and what they perceived as development contrary to the Official Community and Town Centre Plans. Issues of traffic congestion, pedestrian-friendly areas, preferential treatment, nimbyism, and environmental concerns were all brought before council during the two sessions of the public hearing.

Doug Wittich, speaking for the property owners/developers J.C.B. Holdings, said this was the first time he has been through a public process such as this. He was impressed and said he had tremendous respect and appreciation for the people who got up to speak on the project.

“I appreciate the fact of the immense level of respect for both parties,” said Wittich. “The whole process was amazing, I had to leave my trust with council.”

Wittich said he was “thrilled” that it was done as it had been emotional. He encouraged everybody to step up before council and speak their mind.

Robert Martin, one of the opponents, said there was no issue with the car wash just with the location.

Mayor Wendal Milne said he felt the decision was very difficult as there was an equal number of people for and against the car wash. He said the car wash is something the community needs and would be an asset to the community.

“It was a good exercise and I think they (opponents) understand the Logan group will do a good job,” said Milne.

Before the vote, Mayor Wendal Milne said council does not take the OCP or the Town Centre Plan lightly.

“They are not specific. They are visionary,” he said. “In reality the town centre has shifted to Mariners’ Village, that puts Murray Road on the periphery in my opinion.”

He also stated that voting for the car wash was not an assist to business and was no different than rezoning a chunk of residential property to  CD zone.

Council voted five to two in favour of third reading. Opposed were councillors Kevin Pearson and Maja Tait.

Both Pearson and Tait stated that this was  a difficult decision for them and Pearson said the OCP lacked clarity.

“It’s a tough thinking process for me, and I’m not happy about that,” said Pearson.

Tait said there were pros and cons to both sides of the issue.

Prior to final adoption of Bylaw 545, the owner have to enter into a Development Agreement by way of a section 219 covenant with the District of Sooke, to be executed by the mayor and the chief executive officer. They will also release Covenant FB152757 and approve the Modification Agreement to the covenant.

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