It’s no secret there are new buildings going up in the Town of Sidney. In fact, development growth has been pretty much a constant for years. Still, over 2016 and 2017 there was a significant uptick in the pace of construction – and 2018 looks to be no different.
Already, there are nine active development applications before the municipality. These are considered major by the Town and typically will be reviewed by council at their public meetings.
Some started the process last year and some have been filed early this year, but all nine are expected to be reviewed by either municipal staff or by town council.
Who gets the final say depends on a couple things: does the proposed project meet current regulations and does not require a zoning or other change? (If so, council may never review it.) Or, is it a significant enough project that requires more of a political debate before the community, before it either proceeds or fails? Of course, there are plenty of fine details along the way.
That’s a current question in front of Sidney councillors.
In January, the Sidney Community Association asked the council to consider what constitutes a ‘significant’ project in Sidney, and then to think about making it public at an earlier stage so the community can see what’s on the table.
Councillor Peter Wainwright has now asked municipal staff to consider some (not all) of what the Association was asking for. And the Association, while thankful for that recognition, has said more projects on Sidney should be considered ‘significant’ and better publicized in places like the Peninsula News Review.
Be that as it may, certain projects get plenty of publicity. Such as the proposed Sidney Crossing commercial development, which could change Sidney significantly, or at least have an impact on its commercial core.
Other developments have received attention (not least in the local media), including the new affordable condo building under construction on Fourth Street, a four-storey residential building at Fourth and Oakville Avenue (now complete), as well as the proposed multi-storey commercial-residential building at Third Street and Sidney Avenue that could be home to a new Star Cinema.
Of the nine active development projects, six are multi-storey buildings. From four to six storeys, and from Beacon Avenue to the blocks just off the main commercial core.
These proposals were not hard to find. The Town of Sidney publicizes them on their website (www.sidney.ca) and all you have to search for is ‘Active Development Applications’. There, you can find some of the early plans set out by builders and architects, descriptions and images of the plans and where the application is within the municipality’s approval process.
The page also looks back on previous years’ applications than went before council and their status. In 2017, for instance, there were 31 applications for various construction projects – large and small. Of those, one was denied by council. Another – Sidney Crossing – was a referral from the Victoria Airport Authority.
In 2016, there were 36 such applications and two were denied by council.
The question being considered now is, should more of those projects under consideration be classified as ‘significant’ or ‘major’ by the municipality? The Sidney Community Association seems to think so. And it’s safe to say there are some people in the community who agree and will likely make growth in the Town as major election issue later this year.
Still, it’s not like these projects have been a secret. There have been store closures and building tear-downs in the central commercial area of Sidney throughout 2017 and even early this year. It’s safe to say most of those sites are being redeveloped and, in order to increase the density of population and services in Sidney, they will be building up.
We’re interested in hearing your thoughts on Sidney’s development growth – specifically about what’s yet to come. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or have your say on our Facebook page.