Hicks, who has received CRD board approval in principle for internal borrowing of up to $1.5 million for the project, is now looking to rezone three lots in Otter Point’s Sooke Business Park to a new public institutional zone to permit a new Juan de Fuca administration building.
As CRD electoral area director, Hicks is the de facto mayor and council for the sprawling Juan de Fuca electoral area, which encompasses the west coast of Vancouver Island from Otter Point to Port Renfrew. Also included are the geographically separate communities of East Sooke, Malahat and Willis Point.
Cobbled together from the former Langford and Sooke electoral areas, it is the largest jurisdiction in the CRD with land mass of 1,512 square kilometres and about 4,480 residents.
Hicks says the project makes financial sense.
There will be no property tax increase associated with it, as the annual building costs will be equal to or less than the $117,000 in rent and $17,000 in utilities electoral area taxpayers currently pay for rental offices in Sooke.
The three lots in the business park at 7450 Butler Rd. cost $400,000, and the anticipated cost to build the 4,500-square-foot, rancher-style office building is approximately $900,000. If there is enough money is left over, the hope is to build Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue its own garage and command centre.
Because Hicks is borrowing the money internally from the CRD’s office facilities capital reserve fund and there is no anticipated tax increase, there is no requirement to go to electors for approval to borrow the money.
The lease on the current office space expires in December, Hicks said.
“We can build a brand new, better office on our own land in the Juan de Fuca … and I can have the place paid off in 15 years for less than rent we’re paying now,” he said.
The building would provide office space for about 10 people, including Juan de Fuca planning, building inspection, parks, emergency services and search-and-rescue, as well as meeting space.
Hicks, who says he has designed and built a few fishing lodges, said he sketched out the original building design on a napkin. He then took it to CRD staff and his alternate director, Wally Vowles, who helped refine the plans.
The new building will be situated at the entrance to William Simmons Memorial Park, Hicks said.
“It’s going to be absolutely magnificent,” he said. “We’re going to have a hitching post so we can ride our horses to work.”
Hicks hopes the building will go to tender in March with a June construction start and occupancy by Christmas.
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