There have been some ups and downs for Sidney Mayor Larry Cross this year, yet at the town council’s annual organizational meeting Dec. 3, he focussed mainly on the positives from 2012.
Plenty was accomplished by the town, Cross said in his annual mayoral report. He highlighted the search — which began in late 2011 — for a new chief administrative officer. Cross said the town began a national search for a new CAO at the time, but instead found a well-qualified candidate here at home in Randy Humble. The new CAO assumed the role in early 2012.
In May, the town unveiled its Sculpture Walk, a collection of artist works erected along the waterfront. Cross said he’s looking forward to seeing that grow in 2013.
Sidney’s Iroquois Park was upgraded. Cross pointed to the contributions of groups like the local Rotary Club for their contributions. Rotary added a new watermark.
There were a few controversial items on the council’s agenda this year, Cross pointed out. The Sidney Street Market, he said, is a popular event that now has a new contractor running it. He said the goal was to keep it a community event, instead of only an event put on by one organization.
“The new operator,” said Cross, “will breathe new life into it.”
A new zoning bylaw was finished after two years’ work. It includes provisions that would allow a variety of affordable or workforce housing options. It’s focus, he continued, is on helping make the document more user-friendly.
Storms took their toll last year. Damage to the seawall along Lochside Drive had to be repaired and in so doing, the town had to close a portion of the walkway south of the town. That work was completed at the end of October. As well, structural damage to the Beacon Wharf had to be fixed last spring and summer. This work, Cross said, was the result of work not being done to the satisfaction of the town.
“Both,” Cross said, “were premature failures, so it’s important that we do not skimp on infrastructure spending.”
Jobs like those — and future infrastructure projects — must be done right, he said.
The town, in recent days, changed its committee structure, disbanding some of them and folding them into the council’s committee of the whole. There are still plenty of committees (as seen in Monday night’s council appointments list, available at the town’s website), but now some of their roles will help council make more efficient use of its time.
Looking ahead to 2013, Cross said the town will be building a new roundabout on Fifth Street and Ocean Avenue. Funding for this project, he continued, will come out of the town’s accrued gas tax revenue, contributions from ICBC and the B.C. government. No property tax revenue will be used, he said. The roundabout is slated to open in June, 2013.
Public input is a focus in the town’s ongoing communications plan and the mayor praised the efforts of local organizations “in enhancing the cultural and social richness of Sidney and the Saanich Peninsula.”
Part of the council business Monday night was setting the next year’s deputy mayor roster. It became more important than ever for Cross, who was away from the municipality for a couple of months, after suffering an illness.
“(The list) was never more significant than it was this year,” he said.
Cross said he’s looking forward to more hard work in 2013 and over the rest of council’s term of office, “thanks to the support of a dedicated staff with the town.”
Read the full text of the mayor’s annual address at www.sidney.ca/Municipal_Hall/Mayor_and_Council.htm.