Quō vādis Sidney? That is the question a lecture series titled Sidney 2030 tries to answer. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Lecture series tries to forecast likely future of Sidney

Series starts Oct. 27 with a presentation from Jim Bottomley, a futurist

Sidney’s community association hopes to spark discussion about the future of the community through a lecture series titled Sidney 2030.

“We will be covering issues like sea level rise, the economy, affordable housing and transportation,” said Eric Diller, a community association board director. “The purpose is to think ahead about our community. We already know that some things like the demographics of Sidney are changing, and we are just going to be talking about where we see the community going into the next 10 years or so.”

More than two in five people were 65 years of age and older in 2016 in Sidney, according to Statistics Canada. As a coastal community, Sidney will also have to deal with the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels.

RELATED: Saanich’s population is aging faster than the rest of Canada but less than Victoria and Oak Bay

The series starts Oct. 27 with a presentation from Jim Bottomley, described as a futurist, at the Sidney All Care Residence on Mills Road. “What we are hoping that he will do is give us a big overview of the trends that are happening right now, and how those might play out by the year 2030,” he said, adding that Bottomley has worked with communities across the country on their long-term plans.

Diller anticipates up to six speakers over the course of the series, which will unfold over several months into 2020, with future speakers announced closer to their respective appearance.

Ultimately, the series hopes to inform residents about the changes that are coming down the line in broad strokes, said Diller, who hopes that the series will draw interested residents, starting with younger ones.

“Obviously, more of them are going to be around in the future,” he said. “And then the second group we are trying to attract are local politicians who are currently in the office, especially some of the younger ones, who we are hoping are going to be carrying on in office closer to that mark [2030].”

He acknowledged that the future is very unpredictable. “We are just going off what recent trends are,” he said. “We feel 10 years is not that long of a time. So the trends that we are seeing now are going to have some relevancy.”

Aside from a local gift, the speakers will not receive compensation. “We feel that the speakers that we are trying to attract to the series also care deeply about the region and their community, and would be more interested in providing this information as a benefit to the community,” said Diller.



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