Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park
Capital Regional District
With an area of 4090 hectares, the Sooke Hills Wilderness Park is the largest park in the Capital region. The Sooke Hills provide a buffer between the urbanized areas of the Greater Victoria area and the region’s water supply, while offering back country hiking, cycling, and horseback riding opportunities for users.
The Parks Department of the Capital Regional District (CRD) has a desire to create a formalized access to the park from its southeast corner, bordering Highway 14. The access is to include a parking area for approximately 35 cars, a picnic area, and a washroom facility. The access will also allow for buses and vehicles with small trailers to enter the site.
Westbrook Consulting was engaged by the CRD to prepare a feasibility study of three potential locations along Highway 14 to determine which location is the least obtrusive to the environment, while remaining constructible and accessible to the existing trail network.
Westbrook worked closely with Corvidae Environmental Consulting to identify potential constraints and conflicts from environmental, archeological, and geophysical points of view. Once the most feasible potential site location was selected, Westbrook flagged the proposed parking area and access locations and performed a topographic survey of the areas. Corvidae then performed a more detailed assessment of the specific location to ensure any environmental concerns were addressed. Using the topographic information, Westbrook prepared a conceptual design of the parking area and access, which was then used in the preparation of a construction cost estimate for the works.
A complexity of the project included identifying adjacent land owners. Highway 14 intersected several properties creating slivers of land that are owned by different governing agencies, including BC Hydro and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. To access the proposed parking area there was a need to cross said properties and, as such, permission was required to be obtained from each owner to ensure feasibility of the project.
The feasibility study was completed in the summer of 2018.