August 13, 2020
The District of Sooke has closed the Sooke Bluffs staircase at 7218 Austins Place due to safety concerns from its rapidly declining condition. No detours are available for this steep slope. The loop trail linking Austins Place to Bethany Place is still accessible.
This closure comes following a recent ‘’high” risk assessment by the Municipal Insurance Association of British Columbia (MIABC). This new assessment updates the 2018 ‘moderate’ risk assessment which noted tread deterioration on the 18-year-old wooden structure. The ‘moderate’ rating was a strong rationale for Council not to include the replacement of the staircase in the 2020 financial plan. Although basic repairs have been completed in recent years the rot has spread to the stringers and handrails making repairs impractical.
The District’s draft Parks and Trails Master Plan identifies the importance of retaining existing shoreline accesses and improving parking near these sites. The District will consider the replacement of the staircase when the 2021 budget is developed later this fall.
Mayor Maja Tait
District of Sooke
Tel: (250) 642-1634