Last year, a local architect representing an Ontario Pension Fund, tried to assemble a group of buildings in the heart of Sidney, including the Town Hall, to develop a strata development. Apparently, approved in principle, by the town, the development was thwarted by members of the Army and Navy, who refused to join as a key component,
When the town announced a public meeting in 2017 on zoning by-laws, I assumed another development was in the works. However, the meeting proved to be more about facilitating operations for developers of high-density residential projects, affordable only by people who have cashed out of other high value markets. Sidney has large numbers of people working in retail, home-care, and associated services for our aging population, who can’t afford to live here.
We do have under utilized areas in our single story malls. Why not change the zoning to allow apartments over the parking lots and existing buildings? People could live close to work and public transit reducing the need for parking.
Pension funds and income trusts generally own shopping malls and are looking for increased rental yield from their properties. We should look at property utilization in other parts of the world. It seems we are into another phase of short term development profit at the expense of long term planning for the overall benefit of the community. This is reminiscent of the period in the 80’s when the town lost control of our waterfront to the Port of Sidney developers.