Sidney is sitting pretty

Town spending $145,000 to replace benches and more

One of Nathan Scott’s sculptures in Sidney that will remain sitting on benches as the Town looks to replace its street furniture.

Sidney will pay a little more than $145,000 for new street furniture along Beacon Avenue.

In close to two months, the Town will be installing new benches, planters, garbage cans, bike racks and even recycling stations along its main street, replacing the existing concrete and wood furniture. Council, at its committee meeting March 17, approved the expenditure to replace the older items with powder-coated, black metal furniture. The decision must still be ratified at council’s next regular meeting on March 24.

The change was proposed by Town staff back in April 2013 with the goal of getting a consistent look to the streetscape, as well as replacing older, high-maintenance items. New furniture, they argued, could also increase space along the sidewalks and help encourage people to linger longer in the downtown core. The public was asked its opinion in consultations online, at Town Hall and during a Beacon Avenue traffic flow open house. Staff report the majority of responses to the change were positive.

The new furniture will be ordered from Maglin, which has been working with the Town on its street furniture plan from day one. The items will take between six and eight weeks to arrive. They will replace street furniture from Seventh Street down to Beacon Wharf.

The statues currently sitting on some of Sidney’s downtown benches will be retained, although due to design differences with the new benches, they will have to stay on the existing concrete ones. Those benches will be moved or rotated to offer better passage for pedestrians.

Over the long term, crews will remove existing wood post bollards with rope. A staff report states they have little practical function and as they deteriorate, will not be replaced.

Councillor Tim Chad was the lone voice of dissent on council at the final vote. He said he had hoped the furniture would better reflect the Town’s maritime heritage. Chad added spending close to $150,000 on this project will do little to bolster the Town’s economic or tourism fortunes.