Sidney council didn’t do proper job of listening to residents

Council should have addressed concerns from the start, not vowed to fix them after

The decision of the town council of Sidney to turn a deaf ear to what Mr. Pettinger (Letters, June 15) claims is “the opposition of over 90 per cent of affected property owners” defies understanding and smacks of irresponsible leadership.

This is particularly the case, given Mayor Larry Cross’ previous statements in the press and elsewhere that council would be favourably disposed to make changes to remedy hardships faced by property owners affected by the bylaw.

If, as Coun. Tim Chad asserts, the harm being done is also because of significant “unintended consequences,” then it is council’s responsibility to correct it now, not later. Instead, Mayor Cross, in your June 15 edition defends himself and council by saying that passing the bylaw as it stands is the right decision and the problem merely rests with “the misunderstandings and misinformation people are operating on.”

To then require the residents of up to 60 or more homes, now evidently jeopardized by bylaw 2015, to come forward yet again and, in addition, put up $1,900 each, would be ludicrous if it were not so outrageous.

That would require residents to potentially pay more than $114,000 to correct the error of council’s decision.

The right thing to do would have been, as Coun. Chad did, to vote against the bylaw as it stood and additionally suggest an amendment or exception as the owners rightly requested in two separate council meetings.

If that requires more open houses and public hearings, as the mayor laments, then so be it. Clearly, as Coun. Chad noted, the public was not properly informed about this bylaw and its impact on the most affected residents. Council bears that responsibility, not those harmed by council’s decision.

To blame the residents for this “misunderstanding,” especially those most egregiously affected by this process, and to add to their misery by making them do and pay more is not only not right, it is morally reprehensible.

Bob Carey

Sidney

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