In casting the deciding vote for the latest series of variances at the recent Sidney public hearing, Mayor Steve Price displayed that rare talent that only politicians possess: the ability to twist logic and law into a pretzel to justify almost anything.
The vast majority of the speakers basically were pleading with Council to not allow variances and re-zoning to proceed. Despite this and numerous petitions, Council passed variances that undermine the public’s understanding of the Official Community Plan (OCP) and their trust in staff and Council. Section 1.1 of the OCP clearly states: An OCP provides a degree of certainty about the location and nature of community change to residents and landowners and provides a framework for guiding and managing future development and growth.
Council removes any degree of certainty from the OCP. Price tunnelled deep into the OCP wording to seek cover for his position by quoting from section 5.2. This section, and for that matter all of the OCP, is a description of the guiding principles that formed the OCP that was accepted by the public — it is not an excuse for continuous tinkering.
Council and staff appear to be incapable of understanding the very fundamental reason for their employment is to listen to the public and act in their interest. This sense of responsibility to the majority of the residents is lacking in our town hall and leads to acrimony and confrontation.
It is truly unfortunate that staff and Council continue to ram through unpopular changes that are clearly contrary to the OCP and public opinion. This is magical thinking by politicians who haven’t figured out what their duties are.
Tony van Wouw, Sidney