OUR VIEW: Now’s the time to talk Gateway

Residents of Sidney only get one official chance to comment on the project through the municipality — during a land use debate.

Gateway is now officially on the table in Sidney.

In the coming weeks, the municipality will deliberate over whether a commercial site is the best use of the land to the west of the Pat Bay Highway, along Beacon Avenue.

In fact, the issue has been debated for months now, as one would have to be blind not to see how the project could fundamentally change the Town of Sidney. The debate hasn’t been official, however, as the council had stated from day one that until they saw an application from the proponents, they would not comment.

Still, that didn’t stop the Town from signing a memorandum of understanding with the Victoria Airport Authority and swapping land with them to better facilitate some form of development of that 10 acre property.

All without seeing an ‘official application’.

Yet, it is a good thing the Town and VAA signed the MoU — for without it, the VAA might not be held accountable for what is eventually built there.

Residents of Sidney only get one official chance to comment on the project through the municipality — during a land use debate.

The VAA and its developer, Omicron, are only applying to the Town for a land use change. Should the Town approve that, the actual development and building permits are issued by the VAA — not Sidney.

The MoU asks that the VAA consult with the Town on the development application by Omicron. So, in some form, the municipality will see the actual site plans. Will that be made public, or debated in public? We’ll see.

In all fairness, the VAA has been a great corporate neighbour on the Gateway since 2014 and there’s no indication they’re going to clam up now. No one who is interested in this issue can say they haven’t seen those plans right from the start. Agreeing or disagreeing with them is another matter.

And that’s the matter now before the Town of Sidney. Whether the community agrees Gateway is, on the whole, a good thing, or not so good.

Residents get one solid, guaranteed look at the proposal.

Take that look. Ask the questions. Express yourself.

What’s the worst that can happen?