When I moved to Sidney from Vancouver nine years ago I knew I was coming to a town that had its priorities in order. It was in the process of improving its beautiful waterfront walkway; it had improved Beacon Avenue, keeping a reasonable balance between pedestrian space and the provision of downtown parking; and it had embarked on an intelligent initiative to increase the residential density in the vicinity of the core to further increase pedestrian vitality and lend support to the retail businesses. It was also looking for ways to draw more tourist business to the downtown core.
Now the current council are about to allow a developer to turn their heads with a promise of increased tax revenue in order to put up a shopping centre that is the complete antithesis of all these other sensible planning ideas.
Hundreds of other small Canadian towns have been ruined in the same way. Gateway will do the town centre no good and in all likelihood will do it irreparable harm.
It is the wrong form of development in the wrong place. The power is in the council’s hands to reject this proposal outright and to send the developer on his way. This is the only intelligent thing to do.
North Saanich should take the same approach with any comparable development at Sandown.
John Crowhurst, Sidney