Sidney taxpayers would be wise not to tell their neighbours in North Saanich to shove off, when it comes to the ongoing debate over the future of a tract of land being eyed for a 100,000 square foot commercial development.
The proposed Sidney Gateway, touted by the Victoria Aiport Authority and development company Omicron, does fall within the boundaries of the Town of Sidney. It is, however, only meters away from Sidney’s border with the District of North Saanich.
It’s pretty safe to say that what happens there will have an impact on Sidney’s neighbours — and not just North Saanich.
There has been a minor refrain coming out of a pair of public meetings on the issue, as well as in recent letters to the editor. Simply put, some Sidney residents — no matter on what side of the issue they fall — want people from North Saanich to butt out — to take their concerns and keep them within their own boundaries.
The Gateway project does fall within the Town of Sidney. And rightly or wrongly, some Sidney residents feel they will be the ones to pay for it in some form.
That said, does it give people the right to say to their neighbours, “mind your own business?”
The two communities have had a co-operative relationship for years. It’s commonly held that North Saanich maintains its rural nature, while feeding its need for groceries and goods by turning to its more commercialized neighbour, Sidney.
It’s a relationship that extends to a certain degree to Central Saanich as well and in a variety of areas, most notably, sewage treatment.
North Saanich residents certainly make up a significant amount of the retail customers in Sidney already. There may be the potential for more of them — as well as the thousands of people who work in the North Saanich controlled portions of the industrial areas and airport — to stop in Sidney to spend their hard-earned dollars should the Gateway proceed.
Residents in Sidney who feel like their elected officials don’t listen to their concerns, should think twice about giving their neighbours what amounts to the same thing.
Sidney residents and local leaders may tell people in North Saanich to keep their noses out of it — citing they do not pay taxes in the town and that they cannot cast a vote.
They can however, vote with their feet.
Making them feel unwanted could simply drive them to shop elsewhere.