Larry Cross’s reasons for seeking a second term as mayor are simple.
“I’m enjoying it,” he says. “It’s been interesting. Challenging and time-demanding, but I like people and I like administration. My school administration background in working with teachers and parents gives me a pretty good background.”
Cross served many years in the school system as a teacher, administrator and private consultant.
In his first term, the goal was to invite more residents into municipal decision-making, and he feels that was achieved through developing the Healthy Community and Community Development commissions.
“We’re rallying the energies of the residents,” he says. “Both have done good work.”
That includes successful collaborations with other community groups to create events such as the ArtSea Festival.
The commissions will soon tackle what Cross calls an “out-of-date” bylaw to create coherence within Sidney signage.
“The way-finding in Sidney is confusing,” he says.
Of projects completed during his first term as mayor, Cross is particularly proud of the south-end work.
“People love it and it is so well used. If we hadn’t secured the federal and provincial grants, the project wouldn’t be done. Not in my lifetime.” The two-thirds funding from upper levels of government made completing the project “a bargain” to getting the project complete, he says.
The improvements include the landscaped walkway on Lochside Drive, redevelopment underway at Iroquois Park and upcoming seismic upgrades to the nearby public works yard.
Another plan for the future, one that goes hand-in-hand with signage and way-finding, is a parking and traffic study that will look at costs and the viability of various options for traffic in town.
“On the agenda will be a two-way Beacon Avenue,” Cross says. He wouldn’t support two-way traffic, however, if it hindered the pedestrian atmosphere that “gives it that richness,” allowing for alfresco dining.
It also provides the unique character that is a top priority this election.
“A fundamental issue is maintaining the small-town character. I think deep in the minds of the electorate, that’s what they care about.”
He’s been known to say the core is a little frayed around the edges, and feels there is room to improve there. Buildings that are “in scale and appropriate to a small town” like the one recently built at Fourth Street and Bevan Avenue are a start, he says.
“It’s that authentic small-town character and appearance. That’s what I want too.”
The unique town, with a main street that ends at a stunning waterfront is “a gift,” he says. “We just have to manage it properly.”