In the Town of Sidney, Cliff McNeil-Smith is challenging incumbent Steve Price in the mayoral race while 11 council candidates run for six seats. We asked each candidate how they would make the municipality a better place and to outline their top three key initiatives. Here are their responses.
1. Provide more meaningful opportunities for public engagement and demonstrate that council listens.
2. Renew a shared vision for the whole community and update the OCP and related bylaws, particularly for appropriate development.
3. Form a task force to pursue a range of affordable rental and housing options.
My vision is to see Sidney achieve growth in a balanced way: attract people of all ages to reside here by providing affordable rental and housing options and amenities for all ages; renew our community vision; increase density while retaining a town character that values design and green space; sustain and grow our diverse business sectors; pursue increased access to physicians; meet transportation and parking needs; maintain support to our vibrant community organizations; remain attractive to visitors; meet the challenges of climate change and habitat protection; and provide more opportunity at regular council proceedings and new town halls for public engagement.
1. Working with the Saanich Peninsula Primary Healthcare Society to establish one or two more clinics in Sidney with five to 10 more new doctors; offering incentives to new doctors.
2. Working with the CRD and local developers to bring more below -market rental units for families, seniors and workers to the Town of Sidney.
3. Continue the slow revitalization of our downtown area to allow enough new tax revenue to enable us to pass on 0 per cent tax increases to our residents; which is my plan for 2020.
My council has being doing that for a while. Sidney has already financed the Peninsula Medical Clinic in 2016, which allowed it to stay open. We have extra funds in place now, from the sale of the firehall property, to move to the next level with our support for more clinics. We will offset rents and/or offer other incentives to bring new doctors to Sidney, and also work to provide locum and resident doctors with housing. It will take money to solve this crisis and Sidney is now in a position to partner with the province and the clinic to make this happen. This has all been made possible through the new growth we are experiencing . Prosperity is a good thing for our small town.
1. Improving housing affordability and transportation options at lower cost by allowing intelligent infill and suite projects and making minor improvements to connect or upgrade existing infrastructure.
2. Planning our infrastructure and economy for resilience to the economic, ecological and demographic shifts in our society projected for the coming decades.
3. Helping Sidney become a model municipality in the demonstration of collaborative decision making and informed public engagement.
I would make Sidney a better place by strengthening what it already is, and what makes it unique. Sidney’s great opportunity in a rapidly growing region is that we are constrained on all sides by ocean or another municipality; we can’t waste money or land in sprawl. We have three core business areas that can be walkable neighbourhood hubs, and the most productive tax base businesses – small ones – are what we are already known for.
1. Develop a revised vision for the Town and review the OCP
– How do we define charm?
– Should we have design standards?
– Is the OCP a guideline or is it prescriptive?
2. Broaden engagement opportunities with the community
– Perhaps holding informal discussions around current interests and concerns
– Connect with our youth and young families
3. Address the pace of development along with issues around parking
– Should we regulate the number of development permits?
– Should we stipulate passive house/green building in new construction?
– Develop an affordable housing strategy.
I believe my experience will benefit the next council to improve communication, collaborate with each other, and to connect with others on the issues that lie before us. To re-establish good neighbour relationship with our municipal neighbours to address our common needs, such as improved and expanded public transit, affordable & attainable housing, and doctor retention.
1. Re-establish trust with the residents of Sidney by encouraging, respecting and incorporating their input in the decision making process.
2. Making affordable housing strategies part of all new developments.
3. Revisiting the recently passed off-street parking bylaw.
I would make my municipality a better place by trying to make our community more inclusive through open and respectful discussions with the residents of our community, the next council, as well as the neighboring municipalities. Furthermore, we need to achieve a more balanced income demographic by working collaboratively with developers and aggressively seeking solutions to our affordable housing shortage.
Finally, we need to pursue housing and commercial building strategies that will attract young physicians to live and open a family practice/clinic in Sidney. Collectively, I believe, the new council and residents can find creative solutions to these and other issues facing our community.
1. Decision making is full of power plays, politics, personal nuances, and institutional history. We need to foster constructive, rather than personal, conflict; making sure everyone knows that their viewpoints are given serious consideration even if they are not ultimately accepted.
2. Finding a way to balance the housing shortage and keeping what makes Sidney unique and attractive. Sidney is the third oldest per capita in B.C. We have a lack of workers for the services Sidney residents need. Focusing on housing forms that are geared towards families.
3. The lack of doctors is a nationwide issue. Finding creative ways to attract and help doctors set up their practices in Sidney is a high priority. This is not traditionally the jurisdiction of local government but the need is so great we have to work on all levels of government to solve this issue.
1. Pursue diligently and responsibly on a refreshed Sidney council the implementation of a renewed and updated community plan that considers a ‘shared’ community vision.
2. Actively explore initiatives that will promote Sidney as ‘a destination’ that will exude a warmth of life and vibrancy in the downtown core.
3. Along with council diligently seek a parking review and strategy that will say ‘welcome’ to Sidney.
Towards making Sidney a better place I will act earnestly to ensure that Sidney continues as a place of beauty. A town to be valued and truly appreciated as a preserved and loved heritage. I will be available to hear and respond to ‘your say’. In this I look forward towards that which ‘keeps and restores’ the character of Sidney. Let’s together enhance that which is true to the reason you chose Sidney as your home.
1. Attracting and retaining of more doctors
2. Construction of more affordable and market rental housing
3. Creating a more inclusive community by adding more amenities for youth and young families
Over the last four years I voted for affordable housing, supporting doctors and creating more amenities for young families. If re-elected, I would continue to vote for these type of initiatives, work closely with fellow council members ensuring that these goals get to the forefront of our discussions, and are included in Sidney’s upcoming OCP review.
Yes, Sidney is a retirement destination, but it is also a thriving industrial town with three-quarters of a billion dollars in exports coming out of the west side every year. We need to listen to our industry leaders and create housing, transportation, and amenities to support Sidney’s businesses. We have the ability to have the best of both worlds, a world class tourist destination and an inclusive community catering to retirees, youth and young families, a thriving downtown and healthy industrial area with green space and housing for the workers in our community.
1. Establish an affordable housing task force.
2. Achieve a more balanced approach to development.
3. Collaborate more with our citizens and other municipalities to improve transportation, housing and economic development.
By restoring trust by changing the way we communicate with citizens, allowing more opportunities for dialogue and understanding. By bringing a capacity for strategic and analytical thinking, and a collaborative approach, that will give citizens confidence that decisions will be based on evidence, community input and future-focused. By bringing 34 years experience in public service that brings an appreciation for fiscal responsibility and accountability, and the importance of being a good steward of the public’s money. By bringing a sincere interest and curiosity to understand all aspects of an issue. By bringing my energy and creativity to navigate issues that will come up in the next four years, that we haven’t even imagined yet.
1. Development – Sidney needs to ‘catch its breath.’ We must renew the Official Community Plan and Local Area Plan. We can address infrastructure requirements like parking for the town centre and be better positioned to guide future development through public consultation.
2. Health Care – The doctor shortage is chronic. We need to work with neighbouring municipalities, healthcare foundations, and the province to create incentives for physicians to establish or expand clinics.
3. Affordable Housing – Affordable housing options must be encouraged by partnering with the Capital Region Housing Corporation and the Greater Victoria Housing Society and by working proactively with developers to encourage rental units.
I will be attentive and engaged, and I will bring an open and collaborative approach to council, consultation with Sidney residents, the business community and neighbouring municipalities. Working together we will build community pride, and make Sidney an even better place to live, work, shop and enjoy.
1. Affordability in Sidney
2. Proper growth management
3. Fiscal responsibility
If elected I hope to bring more energy and a youthful viewpoint to Sidney council. Sidney is an amazing place to live and we as a community can continue this. Making Sidney more affordable is essential if we want our town to stay vibrant. We need to attract young families and those who will work in our businesses to live in Sidney. The only way to accomplish this is by working together, this includes the residents of Sidney and other levels of government.
1. Restore trust in council and ensure meaningful opportunities for public involvement in decisions
2. Clarify the community vision to guide future decisions on developments
3. Revise the parking bylaw, limit the amount of payment in-lieu for parking spaces, and develop and implement a parking strategy
Protect the Town’s character, our environment and quality of life; support arts, culture and events in Sidney; revitalize the downtown; support affordable housing and attracting more doctors; support better public transit and transportation alternatives; and support our advanced manufacturing and marine industries.
1. Working with the west side to give the residents and businesses better access to services and customers. This is something that needs addressing.
2. Being a direct conduit for business and property owners in Sidney to council. Having someone with “skin in the game” is very important. Understanding what tenants and property owners needs are, is paramount to making good decisions.
3. Helping to grow Sidney in a responsible manner. Looking at environmental and architectural issues. Understanding all sides of the issues and making decisions based on what is best for the future of Sidney, over the next 20 years, not just the next four.
By keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past 25 years. Providing Sidney with serviced-based businesses and attracting tenants to not only properties I have an interest in, but others as well.
Keep being positive about Sidney. Positivity breeds success. I love Sidney and want Sidney to provide the same opportunities for my son and his friends, as it did for me.