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LETTER: Sidney must envision the future of its waterfront

Mr. Klein’s letter “Beacon Wharf is one of Sidney’s most precious assets” should be a clarion call to locals and visitors alike.

Sidney’s town council has asked for public input on the future of the iconic waterfront. It faces what could be significant changes that will forever alter the look and feel of Sidney.

The council wants input on two options: Remove the existing pier and replace it with a football-field-size floating concrete pontoon which would include hotel rooms, commercial/retail space, a 120-seat restaurant and dock space for large yachts; or remove the existing pier and “reimagine” a new waterfront.

Why only these two options? Shouldn’t we ask council to lead a much more meaningful and visionary dialog: “What should Sidney be in 25 years and how do we get there?”

The proposal for the pontoon replacement seems shortsighted. The proposal was made by a local developer who would essentially own and manage the finished project through a 50-year private partnership agreement.

The proposed project has such far-reaching impacts that it begs very careful and objective study with substantial public involvement. First, council should immediately hold a series of well-publicized community visioning workshops.

Second, council should form a comprehensive task force to look at: how can the existing pier be saved/rebuilt? What should the future of the waterfront be and what should it look like? Is this large pontoon-type development what we want for Sidney? If so, where is should it be located? Does it fit well at the end of Beacon Avenue?

Mr. Klein’s suggestion that locals and others could raise the money is doable. For example, the California beach town of Cayucos (population 2,600) successfully raised $650,000 to save their 290-metre pier. Grants paid for the rest.

Do you want a say in Sidney’s future? If so, please contact the council. Email: admin@sidney.ca or mail to: Town of Sidney, 2440 Sidney Ave., Sidney, BC, V8L 1Y7.

Pandora Nash-Karner

North Saanich