After a decade on Sidney council, Mervyn-Lougher Goodey is retiring.
“I just think 10 years is a good number, and if I told you how old I was, another four years would take me to 80 years old,” he said. “I just don’t want to be doing that when I’m 80.
He arrived in 1998 to Sidney, and over the last 20 years, has served on the Advisory Planning Commission, the Victoria Airport Authority board, and the CRD Water Advisory Committee. He joined council in 2008 during the financial crisis, which left development at a standstill.
Seniors were the most populous demographic, and the buildings were quite old, he said. He wanted to address both during his term, and he believes he’s made progress in both.
“You see a younger demographic in town now, and it really is a wonderful place to bring up young children. It’s safe, and there are lots of things to do. My grandchildren just love coming here,” he said.
He said the most rewarding aspect of the job was meeting constituents and helping them with their issues.
“I think I’ve served the community, done my bit. There were happy times and the greatest part was actually meeting people and solve their problems and that can happen very quickly. I like the face-to-face.”
He said council remains busy by the end of term “trying to clean up loose ends,” one of the largest being the proposal for the old Sidney Fire Hall site. He said there are “perceptions” about a lack of parking in Sidney, and “perceptions are really difficult to change.”
“You hear ‘there’s not enough parking.’ Well, actually, there is sufficient parking. All the studies have shown us that, but it seems to be a bandwagon that somebody’s getting on,” said Lougher-Goodey.
“Now if you can’t park on Beacon whenever you want, thank God you can’t, because if you could it’d mean the stores are empty,” he said, adding it was important to “plan your day.”
“You don’t get on the highway into Victoria when the ferries are running. You don’t come into Sidney to shop at lunch hour, because that’s when the local folks are out there and there’s no parking. But if you pick your time, there’s really no parking [problem].”
More broadly, Lougher-Goodey said the Local Area Plan allows for six-storey buildings mid-block, and “that’s what’s happening.” Land valuations are based on this, he said, and “developers need some ground rules, and people who own these properties know what they’re worth. They have rights.”
“As long as it’s done properly, with the setbacks and things like that, that’s okay.”
He said those with height objections should walk around Sidney, especially Sidney north, to look at apartments from decades ago that are four-storeys tall. “They’re set back more, I’ll give them that, but they’re still four storeys. There’s nothing magic here.”
He was reticent when asked who he would vote for in the upcoming election, saying he takes the secret ballot seriously, but did say he would be supporting the current mayor, Steve Price.
“I think he’s done a wonderful job in very, very difficult circumstances,” said Lougher-Goodey, saying Price understood the needs of different generations with family members across the age spectrum. He also said Price has done a good job despite facing many angry speakers at public meetings, which “puts years on you, actually.”
He said it was hard to envision Sidney 20 years from now, saying he grew up in the age when only one person in town had a rotary telephone, but he said the demographics will likely change and incorporate many new Canadians.
“They have different ideals. They’re the future leaders. They’ll decide what it’ll be like in 20 years time.”