A former mayor of Sidney has announced his intent to seek the job once again in the fall.
Don Amos, who was mayor from 1996 to 2008 and a councillor from 1990 to 1993, was sparked into seeking office again by land use decisions on the Sidney waterfront.
Earlier this year, Amos spoke out against plans for a mixed commercial and residential project on the Seaport East lands, adjacent to the Pier Hotel. He calls the future of the site his unfinished business from his 15 years on Sidney town council.
“It’s a challenge for the community,” he said. “The mayor and council have to work with the lease holder to provide satisfactory development of the area.”
During Amos’ tenure on council, he was a part of the land negotiations that saw the building of the Pier Hotel and the designation of Beacon Park.
He said his vision for the Seaport East land is for more public, waterfront space with any other development limited to the existing parking lot area.
“The waterfront land is the community’s land,” Amos said. “We must safeguard the waterfront portion.”
Amos is, however, approaching his candidacy with more than just that single issue, although he did say the waterfront is unfinished business from his terms of office. He said the community as a whole is facing new pressures, not the least among the town’s business sector. With new retail pressure coming from new developments nearby Sidney, Amos said there are opportunities for the town.
To take advantage of those, he said he would hold a series of community forums, designed to gauge what the public wants.
It’s a return, he explained, to a portion of the Vision 2000 process he was involved with during his time as mayor in a process that established a direction for the town on various areas. Amos said he doesn’t think the process would need to go as far as a complete official community plan overhaul, but at least give a new council a better idea of what the community wants.
“Change always occurs,” he said. “The community may decide it needs to proceed in a new and different direction.”
Amos was on council during the change of Beacon Avenue’s traffic direction, making it a segmented one-way and two-way street. He said the future of Beacon cannot be set in isolation but noted any change will have serious impacts on the rest of traffic through town, as well as direct costs to the taxpayer.
He said he knows the issue will come up during this election and asks the question: do people want the change? Amos added this municipal election is not about one or two specific issues, but a variety and moreover is about the future of Sidney. He said he has the experience to do the job as mayor and the willingness to seek the public’s feedback including on sensitive topics like amalgamation.
“A non-binding question should be asked,” Amos said about the chances for a referendum question on this fall’s municipal ballot in Sidney.
He added such a question doesn’t mean amalgamation would proceed, but would at least ask the public and set in motion an information process to explain the ramifications of amalgamation.
Amos is the third mayoral candidate in the Town of Sidney this fall. He faces newcomer Steve Duck and current councillor Steve Price.
Mayor Larry Cross, who took over the job from Amos in 2008 after Amos decided not to run for mayor again, has stated he will not seek re-election this November.