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Out-going councillors in Sidney are not surprised by 2022 municipal election results

Incoming councillors Richard Novek and Steve Duck identify housing, bylaw review among top issues
Sidney’s Beacon Wharf will stay in place for now, but the fate of the aging facility will likely remain in the public spotlight as the municipality and the community-at-large wrestle with its future. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sidney’s two outgoing councillors are not surprised by the results of the 2022 municipal election in that community.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with the election results for Sidney and feel confident that our town will be well served with the incoming council,” said Barbara Fallot. “In addition, with four returning incumbents (Sara Duncan, Scott Garnett, Terri O’Keeffe and Chad Rintoul) and an acclaimed mayor (Cliff McNeil-Smith), the two newest members on council (Steve Duck and Richard Novek), will have a large support base to help mentor and get them up to speed.”

Peter Wainwright struck a comparable note in comparing the results in Sidney with those in Central Saanich, where all incumbents either won by acclamation (Mayor Ryan Windsor) or re-election. “For both Sidney and Central Saanich – the same mayors and mostly the same councils – it seems like people were comfortable with the directions taken by the current councils and weren’t looking for change.”

The same, however, cannot be said for neighbouring North Saanich. “The change there is significant. While it’s too early to see what direction the new council will take, it seems their OCP process will be changing direction. I suspect it will take a while before we can see how well the new councils will work together,” said Wainwright.

RELATED: Terri O’Keeffe tops the polls in Sidney

Fallot said she looks forward to seeing the three municipalities on the Saanich Peninsula continue to grow their already great working relationship.

“The election night results throughout the CRD held some real surprises and no doubt for some, there were disappointments,” she added. “However, change can be good when it’s done well and for the right reasons. It is now up to all of us to be patient and generous as councils throughout the region get up to speed and settle into their (new) roles and jobs.”

That is what Novek and Duck will be doing in Sidney. Novek said Tuesday afternoon he is still getting his feet week with an orientation session scheduled for Wednesday. “It’s a big learning exercise, but I want to be effective for the people, who elected me,” he said.

As for issues, Novek pointed to the future of Beacon Wharf. “The big one that is going to come up is the wharf,” he said. While it did not get much public attention during the campaign, he certainly heard about it while door-knocking. He would like to see “something that has the character of the existing wharf,” given the iconic status of the current facility and the role it plays in projecting Sidney to the rest of the world. While it might be not feasible to save the existing Satellite Fish Company building, a reincarnation thereof could be part of a larger replacement structure that could also include a separate floating wharf for pleasure boating, an important local industry. Other issues cited by Novek include parking and housing.

Duck said his priorities include active transportation, fiscal responsibility and housing. He also pointed to the importance of updating Sidney’s zoning bylaw following completion of the OCP review, an issue Novek shares.

McNeil-Smith said last month that housing will be a “de-facto” priority for the incoming council, while also touching on other issues such as the future of the proposed roundabout at Galaran Road near the Amazon facility and Beacon Wharf.

Members of the newly elected council will undergo orientation in the weeks ahead with council developing priorities through strategic planning afterwards.

RELATED: Sidney mayor touches on roundabout plans, future of Becaon Wharf during remarks

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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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