Mike Barwick believes his more than 20 years as a public works employee and his extensive coaching experience would be beneficial, should he be elected to Sidney council.
Three major issues lead his agenda. He said council needs to assess the fine line between holding the line on taxes while still maintaining essential services. “Business taxes in Sidney need to remain the same or be lowered to continue to have a prosperous business environment, which leads to employment opportunities,” he said.
Secondly, he said Sidney “must welcome development that will be beneficial to the town while not diminishing the sense of community.” That, he believes will open new areas of taxation, which could, in turn, allow the town to offer more affordable housing for seniors and young families.
“Council must study the pros and cons for any new proposal and consult with the community as a whole to make sure it fits within the vision of the town and does not conflict with the OCP. Answers to the developers cannot take years of red tape,” he said.
Finally, Barwick said the town needs to determine where the arts directly contribute to the economy of Sidney. “We need to make sure that grants from the town directly contribute back to the business community.”
He said parking in Sidney is a major concern, both within the town and for boaters at Tulista Park. He said a review is needed, and new action required to make the boat launch area acceptable to residents who live in proximity to the park.
Land use throughout the town should be evaluated, both on the west side of Highway 17 and along the waterfront. “Expansion of commercial use on the waterfront will continue to be an issue. We must allow for development only when [it] is suitable and beneficial to the residents of Sidney,” he said.
Barwick said there needs to be more done to inform tourists about Sidney, especially those coming from Anacortes by ferry, so they can plan a vacation in Sidney rather than heading south into Victoria.
“I am confident that my employment history and experience as a negotiator will enable me to be an effective member of council,” he said. “While I may lack the political experience I believe strongly that I have all the tools to carry out the duties of Councillor for the Town of Sidney. I stand for, and will represent the citizens of Sidney with honesty, integrity and respect. I will make decisions based on the evaluation of research while respecting the opinions of the community.”