LETTER: Sidney contradicts its own message

I don’t know whether you realized it but the unintended juxtaposition of headlines from some recent Letters to the Editor combined with an ad in the same paper was pretty funny.

“Sidney could become a leader in COVID safety” is one headline. Sure. Why not? Then we have “Sympathy for Peninsula restaurant operators.” Absolutely we need to support them. Then on page 10 we have the Town of Sidney COVID-19 Response survey ad.

What’s so hilarious you ask?

As we know, months ago the town blocked off the parking in front of the bakery and Canada Post, and decked it level with the narrow sidewalk, essentially doubling the width of the sidewalk in a congested area. At the time I wrote the mayor and suggested they extend it further towards First Street and curve it back to the curb so as to keep vehicular traffic access to the Fairway Market parking. My reasoning was it would widen the sidewalk in front of Quince which is equally narrow. They did.

Several weeks passed until I was in the area and I was shocked to see what should be extra sidewalk occupied by three tables that heretofore where along the bench in front of Quince. So I did some rapid measurements.

There are two heavy steel handrails for disabled access at the front door of Quince which extend out about 55 inches into the sidewalk, or if you will about half the width of the sidewalk at that point. From the handrails to the curb is about the same distance. However, the owners of Quince have also put planter boxes on the top of the curb so what was more or less 55 inches is now 45 inches.

If the tables had remained by the bench and the road decked over the sidewalk from the handrails, it would be effectively 11-13 feet in a congested area. When challenged, the reply from the town was the owners of Quince applied for and council approved a permit.

Now consider this in the conflict of the two issues noted above, and how interested the town seems to want us to think our input is important to them but its actions are in fact just the opposite.

All over town we have social distancing signs or businesses marking things to aid social distancing. They are controlling numbers in their shops yet here we have the town contradicting its own message by doing directly opposite things within the space of 70 per cent of one block.

You have to laugh otherwise you would go mad at the insanity of the decisions made.

Alex Currie

North Saanich

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