Sidney’s review of its Official Community Plan will involve local organizations, says the municipality’s chief administrative officer. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney organizations to take formal part in official community plan review

Committee to include mayor, councillor, advisory planning member and six public representatives

Sidney’s chief administrative officer (CAO) says Sidney values the input of local organizations in promising their involvement in the municipality’s upcoming review of its Official Community Plan (OCP).

Randy Humble made those comments in countering the impression that Sidney is somehow excluding local organizations after council approved the terms of reference for the select Official Community Plan Review Advisory Committee that Sidney councillors had recently approved.

“On the contrary, local organizations will be involved in the OCP project in a very formal way, starting with letters from mayor and council immediately following project kick-off (anticipated to occur this April) asking specifically for initial formal input into the project,” said Humble, pointing to a council resolution from last December.

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The resolution calls on mayor and council to “send letters following project kick-off to affected organizations advising them of the Town of Sidney’s intent to undertake a comprehensive review of the OCP and inviting them to provide early feedback as well as providing information on additional opportunities for consultation as the project progresses.”

On Jan. 31, Sidney issued its request for proposals (RFP) for the OCP review with a current overall budget of $150,000. But the RFP document also says this amount is due to be reviewed in 2021 and may require adjustment based on RFP submissions.

The approved terms of reference for the advisory committee do not reserve spots for local organizations because it would have to be very large to accommodate and balance various groups and their respective interests if the body were to allow organizations to participate, said Coun. Peter Wainwright earlier.

“Our feeling was that we wanted people on the committee who were going to be looking at the town as a whole, rather than bring in an interest that might be specific to a certain sector — be it economic, or arts and culture, or whatever,” he said.

Steve Duck, president of the Sidney Community Association, said earlier that he understands the point that trying to have a representative from every organization would make the committee unwieldy, adding that there might be excellent candidates who are not members of any organization. But he also tried to challenge the argument that the association just represents its members by saying that the association believes every Sidney resident is part of creating Sidney’s future.

Chaired by Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith, the committee’s membership also includes one councillor, one member of Sidney’s Advisory Planning Commission, and six members-at-large, which “shall be members of the public with a significant connection” to Sidney.

Wainright said this language gives Sidney the ability to appoint individuals like Graham Debling (who has been involved with a number of local organizations) and Susan Simosko (longtime former president of the Sidney Business Improvement Association), who would not be eligible if Sidney were to limit membership to residents or property owners.

As for the committee member coming from Sidney’s advisory planning commission, Wainwright said that Sidney would encourage current members of the commission to apply.

Would-be voting members of the committee (which will also include non-voting members including internal staff and external yet-to-be-hired consultants) have until Feb. 18 to submit their respective applications.

Sidney adopted its current OCP in May 2007.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com


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