Is Gateway inevitable? That’s a question many people think they have the answer to. It was raised following the Thursday, March 17 presentation by the Victoria Airport Authority and Omicron, on the proposed retail shopping area on a chunk of vacant land in Sidney across the Pat Bay Highway from the Mary Winspear Centre.
It was clear, first off, that both the Airport Authority President, Geoff Dickson, and Omicron’s Peter Laughlin spoke in terms that would seem like they are firm in their course of action. Since 2014, they have been crystal clear in their intent to seek a clear path to develop the site. And like the idea or hate it, Gateway could be one of the most important issues facing Sidney right now. It represents, if successful, a significant change in the look and feel of the town.
For some, that look and feel includes more shoppers, more residents and increased prosperity and community sustainability.
For others, it’s desolation on Beacon Avenue, a glut of traffic and enough change to possibly drive them out.
Clearly, there are many opinions on this project.
As there should be, due to its size and scope. It must face scrutiny because of its potential to change Sidney in a significant way. To credit the VAA and Omicron, they have been standing up and telling people exactly what they have planned.
Now, residents are looking for leadership on the issue. So far, however, they are hearing little from their elected officials, who have fallen back on the position that they can’t say anything until the VAA applies to the approval process.
Yes, the Town asked for an independent study on economic impacts. However, people are worried that’s a little too late.
In that vacuum, people are turning to anyone who will back up their position — and that will further polarize the issue.
With the Gateway plan under full steam, there’s no reason to stay quiet. The next steps could be only a month away at most. It’s time Sidney’s leaders stepped up to talk with their residents about this big change.