Opportunity is knocking, says Sidney’s mayor, and hopefully the town can capitalize.
Mayor Larry Cross spoke to the business community Monday morning during the annual Mayors’ Breakfast at the Institute of Ocean Sciences. Mayors Alastair Bryson of Central Saanich and Alice Finall of North Saanich also addressed the crowd in the Ocean’s Cafe.
The Tsawout proposal for a large shopping centre, called Jesken Town Centre, predictably made the agenda for Bryson who referred to early concerns about the highway access options presented to council.
“It’s an opportunity but there’s also risk,” Cross said, of the proposed 650,000 square feet of new retail space at Jus Kun Road.
The town should come together to promote the unique small town atmosphere so people would opt to shop Sidney after hitting the big box stores, he said.
“By golly you’re halfway there. If you come the rest of the way you’ll have a unique experience,” he said.
With three business groups currently working to promote the community, the town needs to “combine the energies,” Cross said, to develop a “formidable marketing team.”
The annual mayor’s breakfast is put on by the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, which recently renewed its call for workforce housing on the Peninsula. In response, all three mayors addressed their housing work, including the ongoing densification study in Central Saanich and Sidney’s rezoning bylaw.