Sidney council approved a memorandum of understanding with the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society (SBIA) to create a business development manager. (Black Press Media File)

Sidney council approved a memorandum of understanding with the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society (SBIA) to create a business development manager. (Black Press Media File)

Sidney council narrowly approves funding for business development manager

Debate before 4-3 vote revolves around questions of accountability, effectiveness

Sidney council approved an agreement designed to help the community recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by a single vote.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith joined Couns. Sara Duncan, Chad Rintoul and Peter Wainwright to support approval of a two-year-agreement with the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society (SBIA) to fund a business development manager for “support services to all business areas in Sidney,” (not just the downtown core).

The municipality’s total annual commitment toward the post is $60,000 while the SBIA will contribute $65,952. Couns. Barbara Fallot, Scott Garnett and Terri O’Keeffe opposed the measure. Sidney’s share of the fund comes from the federal-provincial COVID-19 re-start grant of $2.75 million announced last year.

“What I am concerned with the current MOU (memorandum of understanding) is there is no provision for a review, there is no option for council to consider not funding the second year if we feel that the program is not meeting the expectations of the people in the community,” said O’Keeffe.

RELATED: Sidney mayor says economic impacts of COVID will reach into 2021, if not beyond

She also pointed to language that speaks of providing more direct support to negatively impacted sectors such as hospitality and tourism.

While that might be true, this language could be read as conflict of interest, said

O’Keeffe said that could be seen as a conflict of interest, as the SBIA could want to support its members who are primarily in those sectors. “If the SBIA feels that their members need more attention, it should fund support through its own levy. The taxpayers and other business sectors shouldn’t have to pay for that via the town’s contribution of $60,000,” she said.

Wainwright, who helped to draft the final MOU, defended it, including changes to its length to a true two-year-term. A one-year-term followed by a review six months into it (as O’Keeffe favoured) would have made it difficult to find somebody qualified, he said. “After quite a bit of discussion, it was felt that two years were essentially necessary for the evaluation of this.”

McNeil-Smith said the agreement could be revised in the future once the development of a $60,000 economic development strategy funded through the re-start grant had run its course.

“I contrast this (agreement) with doing nothing — we are in the worst economic crisis in at least a generation,” he said, predicting that the economic recovery will go beyond 2021 and 2022. “I strongly urge council members to consider this.”

Humble said earlier that the agreement strikes an appropriate balance between accountability and flexibility.

The business development manager reports directly to the Sidney BIA with the economic advisory committee (EAC) playing an advisory role. This said, the manager will attend EAC meetings to provide updates and receive advice. The BIA will provide direct reports to Council as Council will provide oversight of the agreement.

Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

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

Just Posted

A portion of West Coast Road in Sooke was closed for several hours as emergency services responded to a “serious incident” on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.
West Coast Road reopens after ‘serious incident’ propted Tuesday afternoon closure

The road was closed between Grant Road West and Otter Point Road as emergency services were on scene

Grandmothers to Grandmothers is a campaign that connects Canadian grandmothers with grandmothers in Africa who are caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Here, they are in Kakuto, Uganda in 2018. (Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar photo)
Greater Victoria and African grandmothers celebrate solidarity with virtual concert

Grandmothers to Grandmothers supports women in Africa caring for children orphaned by AIDS

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

Supporter Gordy Dodd cheers on HeroWork Victoria executive director Trevor Botkin, who will be in a lift for 36 hours beside Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress on April 16 and 17 to raise funds for the organization’s next project, a makeover of the Salvation Army’s Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre on Johnson Street. (Courtesy HeroWork Victoria)
HeroWork Victoria tackles makeover of Salvation Army rehab centre

Executive director to spend 36 hours living in a lift as fundraiser

West Shore RCMP is seeking information about a collision involving a car and a bicycle on Six Mile Road, near the Island Highway, at 11:30 a.m. on April 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP seeks information about collision between bike, car

Collision occured on Six Mile Road on April 7 and a bystander got the blue car’s plate number

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read