Various local organizations including the Sidney Community Association won’t be able to participate in the committee tasked with advising Sidney’s Official Community Plan (OCP) review and update. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Local associations left out of Sidney’s OCP advisory committee

Non-residents of Sidney will be able to take part in the OCP review and update

The Sidney Community Association and other local groups won’t be able to participate in the committee tasked with advising Sidney’s Official Community Plan (OCP) review and update, while individuals who do not own property or live in Sidney will be.

These outcomes flow from the terms of reference for the select Official Community Plan Review Advisory Committee that Sidney councillors recently approved.

Coun. Peter Wainwright said the committee would have to be “very large” to accommodate and balance various groups and their respective interests if the body were to allow organizations to participate.

“Our feeling was that we wanted people on the committee who were going to be looking at the town as a whole, rather than bring in an interest that might be specific to a certain sector — be it economic, or arts and culture, or whatever,” he said. “At the end of the day, it would be council picking the people who they think are going to do their job well, not organizations appointing people, just to be clear on that,” he added later. “I know there has already been some discussion out there with some organizations wanting to ensure that they are represented. I want to make it quite clear up front that that isn’t what is being proposed.”

Steve Duck, president of the Sidney Community Association, said he understands the point that trying to have a representative from every organization would make the committee unwieldy, adding that there might be excellent candidates who are not members of any organization. But he also tried to challenge the argument that the association just represents its members by saying that the association believes every Sidney resident is part of creating Sidney’s future.

Chaired by Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith, the committee’s membership also includes one councillor, one member of Sidney’s Advisory Planning Commission, and six members-at-large, which “shall be members of the public with a significant connection” to Sidney.

Wainright said this language gives Sidney the ability to appoint individuals like Graham Debling (who has been involved with a number of local organizations) and Susan Simosko (longtime former president of the Sidney Business Improvement Association), who would not be eligible if Sidney were to limit membership to residents or property owners.

“This gives us flexibility to appoint people who clearly have a significant connection to Sidney and might be very good to contribute,” he said. “At the end of day, council will decide and it is simply based on who applies.”

RELATED: Sidney mayor says housing will be priority in 2020

RELATED: OCP update will review development, density: Sidney mayor

As for the committee coming from Sidney’s advisory planning commission, Wainwright said that Sidney will encourage current members of the commission to apply for the committee. In other words, the commission does not get to pick its representative.

Would-be voting members of the committee (which will also include non-voting members including internal staff and external yet-to-be-hired consultants) have until Feb. 18 to submit their respective applications.

Sidney adopted its current OCP in May 2007, before the economic downturn of 2008, but also well before the residential construction boom that followed.

The review of the OCP, which spells out broad goals concerning land use planning and provision of municipal services, has been one of, if not the top priority of the current council following the 2018 election, and the process cleared a major hurdle last year with council receiving a report on local housing needs as mandated by new provincial legislation.

RELATED: New report finds many Sidney residents struggle with housing affordability

Among the next major steps is the hiring of outside consultants through a request-for-proposal (RFP) to assist with the review. Pending approval of council during current budget talks, the cost of the review could rise to $150,000 by the end of next year, up from $100,000 originally budgeted.

A report before council late last year points out that other recent RFPs for OCP review ranged between $125,000 and $300,000.

The high end of this range would be a “significant jump” from Sidney’s budget and require either reconsideration of the review’s scope or a budget increase,” it read. “However, these other communities are also substantially larger in population and geography than Sidney, and not yet built out, so the Town’s budget may yet be sufficient.”

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two Scout leaders found near Sooke

The pair went missing Sunday afternoon

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

‘Not the monster everyone thinks’: Sister of human-trafficking suspect speaks out

Trish Kelly’s brother was one of four Vancouver Island residents arrested last month in Saskatchewan

Oak Bay ups deer management budget to $96,100 for 2020

Provincial grant approved for deer contraception program

Battling bullying covers a lot of ground, says Safe Schools manager for Sooke School District

Jamie Adair’s background is tailor-made for the work he does with the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

Most Read