PENINSULA LETTERS: Gateway a big issue

The issue being tackled here is much bigger than local politics.

With respect to the recent proposal for the 10 acre gateway proposal at the south-west corner of Beacon Avenue and the highway, I strongly suggest a re-think.

A commercial centre, as discussed, at this site is temptation indeed for YYJ and the Town as a real estate play but is the wrong use. The error reaches beyond just more competition for Town of Sidney’s main street. A commercial development at this site would become an instrument that will eventually destroy the charm of the Town. It would also not solve the traffic challenge at this intersection.

Beacon Ave. is a traditional and well proven main street model with anchors at either end. The past eight years of recession and the anticipated increased competition from Jesken, Sandown and others makes the challenge to keep Beacon Ave. commercially fresh, vibrant and vital one that requires energy and initiative but it will succeed.

Yet another competing commercial Gateway Centre developmentwould harm these efforts. This site offers a mutually beneficial connection between the Town of Sidney and the 40,000 cars per day that run up and down the highway. In 1991 the transportation ministry served notice of expropriation with a plan for a grade-separated interchange. Thankfully for the health of our community this planning overkill was stopped. A far sounder solution that is a fraction of the cost is an “at grade” interchange or roundabout.

I applaud the efforts of the Mayor and Town of Sidney in their task force approach to establishing the new vision for our Town. At the same time find the efforts of the SOS worthy of serious public exposure. The issue being tackled here is much bigger than local politics.

Richard Holmes

North Saanich