We are fortunate on the Peninsula to have well informed, local news coverage in the Peninsula News Review. Your Friday editorial, “Change Keeps Popping Up”, accurately summarized the effect of decisions being made by Sidney and North Saanich. However, the third paragraph caught my eye.
“And if councillors are to be believed, the only concern resident have left about the Crossing is the preservation of some trees.” The Town of Sidney made the key decisions to approve the Crossing/Gateway development September 12, 2016. The minutes of the Special Council Meeting, and the submissions made by Peninsula residents are available on the Town website under Council Meetings – Agendas & Minutes 2016. Those minutes show that the Town received 140 written submissions and four petitions. Over 40 people spoke during the Public Hearing. A few people expressed support for the shopping centre in that location, to be sure, but the overwhelming majority of resident comments and over 2,000 petition signatures were opposed to it. Their concerns were expressed eloquently. However four out of the six councillors and the Mayor voted to approve it and authorized the VAA to proceed.
So, it should be understood not that a year later residents are only concerned about preservation of trees, but that residents know the big decisions were made by Sidney council over a year ago. I am grateful that last Monday, council was willing to speak up for the trees in its comments to the VAA, but would be very surprised if residents’ concerns expressed September 12, 2016 have magically disappeared in the past 14 months.