One of the most common laments overheard as the Town of Sidney proceeds with its plans for a community safety building — or new fire hall, since that’s the largest component of the project — is the lack of public consultation.
From neighbours of the proposed site next to Sidney Elementary School and advocates on behalf of education, to school district parent group representatives, the fact that there hasn’t been any public participation has been noted.
That’s unfair at this stage.
The Town and School District 63 (Saanich) are considering their options when it comes to this proposal. There are also plans for the building in circulation and a feasibility study done on behalf of the municipality.
But let’s be clear, the time for public input on the building’s design or cost has not yet arrived.
While the concept of the building is available for all to see, and it is being discussed by community leaders, those debates hinge on whether it’s going to be worth it to proceed.
At this stage, school board trustees have the power to eliminate the site under consideration — or give it the green light.
And while there are plenty of people commenting on whether this is the best site, it’s a decision the Town of Sidney is waiting for before it spends more time and money on moving to the next stage: their full public consultation process.
It would potentially be a big waste of time to seek public feedback now. If the school board nixes the plan, the public process would have to be repeated for another property under consideration.
We know there are a lot of people chomping at the bit to have their say as to the merits, or lack of them, on this proposal. To demand it now, or complain about not having had a say yet is premature.
Be patient. Your time will come. There are too many interests and issues at stake for people to be left out of this conversation.