OUR VIEW: Council rushing its decisions?

Sidney council and staff might want to do a bit more homework, with legal challenges forcing about-faces

This week marked the second time in recent months Sidney pulled a complete 180 on important decisions that affect its residents. Both came in response to legal challenges to the council’s decisions.

The first came after council, in an in camera meeting, terminated the Sidney Business Association’s contract to run the popular summer market. The SBA hired lawyer L. John Alexander to enforce that same contract, which states the town must give six months’ notice to terminate, except in extreme cirumstances. On May 14, Mayor Larry Cross announced the SBA could have its market back. (On July 4, the town issued the SBA with that six months’ notice.)

Now, after a series of protests, a group of Sidney residents hired the same lawyer to challenge the town’s zoning bylaw adopted June 11. Alexander in his petition said residents could be entitled to financial compensation because of how the bylaw nixes their ability to redevelop their own land.

In one sense, the town may be doing the right thing in bowing to the legal challenges. It could be saving Sidney taxpayers hundreds of thousands in legal bills down the road. Mayor Cross isn’t afraid of confrontation – he’s proven that at council meetings where these same anti-zoning bylaw residents became verbally aggressive.

Residents will recognize that if they don’t like the town’s policies, they might get their way with a legitimate legal argument. The town might see more of these in the future.

Further, we question whether the town rushed to these decisions. Was due diligence missed on both occasions, with councillors and staff not fully checking into the real consequences of their actions?

In future, Sidney council and staff would be wise to ensure they know what they’re getting into before the next legal challenge forces them to retrace their steps.

Just Posted

Peninsula firefighters spend the summer in intensive training

No rest for personnel as they improve high tower, role-plays and marina fire fighting skills

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

B.C. police watchdog investigating high-speed crash in Victoria

Police watchdog called in after dramatic early morning crash at Bay and Douglas intersection

Westhills Stadium launches expanded stadium with ceremony, excitement

expanded stadium accommodates 6,000 spectators

NCAA basketball comes to UVic this fall

Eight-team tournament features top university women’s basketball teams Nov. 28-30

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read