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Sooke Harbour: News: Sheringham Park

Lighthouse Society gains Provincial support

By Pirjo Raits
Sooke News Mirror
August 10, 2005

Lighthouses were the bright beacons that became symbols of hope for seafarers around the world. The British Columbia coast is home to some of the most rugged and dangerous waters found anywhere and her lighthouses historically were the salvation for many a flailing ship at sea. They are the romantic and historical icons of our time and their preservation most often falls to non-profit societies.

Sooke Lighthouse

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, built in 1912, is the reason for the existence of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society. They have been working for the past three years to preserve and acquire the lighthouse within a 10-acre park site. On Aug. 7, one of the last remaining pieces of the acquisition puzzle fell into place with the announcement of support from the Province of B.C.

"Government is prepared to consider support for the efforts to acquire the lighthouse and have the Capital Regional District hold title to the property for the use of the general public," said Premier Gordon Campbell in his support letter to CRD director Erik Lund.

Michael Galizio, president of the society, is elated over the support now received from all three levels of government.

"This is the piece we were missing," said Galizio. "We are now awaiting the Fisheries and Oceans determination in making the property surplus and we expect this to happen any day."

Once the federal ministry declares the property access it will first be offered to other federal jurisdictions, then consultation with First Nations bands will take place. Normally what has happened in the past, is a portion of the negotiated fee is paid to First Nations. The next level is provincial and that is why Galizio says support letters are so important in the acquisition process. He commends the strong support shown by both Director Lund and MP Dr. Keith Martin.

The CRD Parks Commission would administer the park and lands.

The membership, at their annual general meeting, overwhelmingly adopted a resolution endorsing a signed agreement between the society and the adjacent property owner.

The agreement provides the society with $200,000 to assist with the purchase of the lighthouse if it becomes available. The CRD had voted to accept cash-in-lieu from the developer.

The adjacent owner/developer has reached an agreement with the society and the CRD to give 3-4 kms of statutory right-of-way for walking trails on his property.

Galizio said there had been concerns expressed by residents of Sheringham Point Road. The residents raised the issues of notice, road speed and maintaining the rural nature of the road intact.

They were, at one point, dead set against any development. They were notified that the society membership has been working with the Ministry of Transport and the adjacent landowner to mitigate any negative affects resulting from the road access.

"We want to work with the community to see that it is done the right way," said Galizio.


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Sheringham Lighthouse Society clears the air

By Pirjo Raits
Sooke News Mirror
Sept. 07, 2005

Road issues and a poor choice of words has left Sheringham Point Road residents wondering what the truth is in regards to road access to a new subdivision development on 165 acres of oceanfront property close to the Sheringham Point Lighthouse.
On August 7 the Sheringham Lighthouse Preservation Society (SPLPS) adopted a resolution endorsing a signed agreement between the Society and the Vancouver-based developer, Guiding Owl Development. The agreement would provide the Society with $200,000 to assist with the purchase of the lighthouse if it becomes available from the federal government. A cash-in-lieu agreement with the Capital Regional District would see 3-4 kilometres of public walking trails on the property.
In an article in the Sooke News Mirror on August 10, Michael Galizio, president of the SPLPS stated that the membership "has been working with the Ministry of Transport and the developer to mitigate affects resulting from the road access."
Rob Howat, Approving Officer of the Ministry of Transport, said this was false. He said there has been no contact or talks with the Sheringham Lighthouse Preservation Society. "The only dialogue is with the applicant's consultant in establishing a physical width (for the road) which would be required to serve the development if the development proceeded," said Howart. Galizio said he realizes that his choice of words in the August 10 article was unfortunate. "While it appears our choice of words has led to some confusion, our intent is to work with all parties to mitigate the affects of road improvements in the community. To that end we have written to the Ministry of Transport and included road issues in our negotiations with the adjacent landowner."

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