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Fall election, OCP review help explain apparent rush of proposals in Sidney: councillor

Committee-of-the-whole to consider Beacon Avenue proposal on March 7
Coun. Peter Wainwright says the fall municipal election and the official community plan review are prompting more development proposals to come forward in Sidney. (Courtesy Town of Sidney)

What is one to make of the apparent rush of development proposals coming forward in Sidney, such as the proposed five-storey development on Beacon and the potential redevelopment of the Cedarwood Inn?

One councillor sees two main reasons.

“Not being facetious, what I read into it is that there is an election in the fall,” said Coun. Peter Wainwright. “People know how the system works currently and how the current council would do things. They don’t want to wait and risk.”

The second reason relates to the municipality’s ongoing Official Community Plan work, now into the draft stage.

RELATED: Sidney staff reviews plans for five-storey building near Highway 17

Recent applications include plans for a five-storey, 141-unit development at Beacon Avenue West and Highway 17, details of which will be discussed at council’s committee of the whole meeting March 7. Late last year, the public also learned of a proposal to redevelop the Cedarwood Inn site at Lochside Drive and Weiler Avenue. No formal application has appeared before council yet.

“(An) OCP is an opportunity for the community to say, ‘here is what we think is appropriate for (a property),’” Wainwright said. “Why would we not actually address what the community wants to happen at Cedarwood as part of the OCP review?”

Waiting until the “ink is barely dry on the OCP,” then applying for an amendment does not seem like a good process, he added.

When developers such as Kothari Group come forward with specific plans, he said, they are signalling their interest and desire to make a project work for the municipality. “In fairness, Kothari Group has done a lot of work in advance, so they have a pretty good idea of what we are looking for and what will be necessary to make it work,” Wainwright said.

RELATED: Preliminary vision for Sidney’s Cedarwood Inn redevelopment shared with community

GMC Projects and Chard Development, jointly proposing to redevelop the Cedarwood Inn site, communicated to area residents this month that open houses held in November have helped with continued modification of the proposal.

“In anticipation of the (municipality’s) draft OCP plan early this year, we will be working with our consultant’s team to align our proposal application timeline with that process,” read the statement. “We look forward to reviewing this draft document and understanding how it will help inform the future vision for Cedarwood.”

Preliminary plans presented late last year include a 104-unit condominium building on Lochside Drive, with 36 family-oriented townhomes also on the site. The northern portion of the condo building would be five storeys before stepping down.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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