As I foreshadowed in my four seminars last year, within the next two years downtown Sidney will be facing 25 per cent of Sidney’s current downtown commercial space being replicated and/or relocated to west of the Pat Bay Highway (i.e. Sidney Gateway and/or Sandown Commons).
We may also face additional competition from Jesken Town Centre. All, we should note, supported by the previous council and the chamber of commerce.
Given this looming threat, for the past year SOS (Support our Sidney) has been trying to motivate council, Sidney residents and businesses to fix downtown and competitor-proof it by implementing the SOS top ten priority action items.
Sadly only one (creating the SBIA) has been actioned — but no action whatsoever has been taken on the other nine (i.e. fixing our convoluted traffic, improving our highway and ferry gateways, opening a new highway visitor centre, imposing architectural guidelines, introducing façade grants, animating Beacon Avenue and Beacon Pier, co-ordinating store opening hours and creating a new slogan to complement Sidney by the Sea.
Although I note the proposed Town budget is increasing its economic development budget to $100,000, I see no commitment to any of the above priorities.
Lots of talk but no action. As I quoted Andrew Carnegie in my seminars last year: “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
Richard D. B. Talbot, Sidney