Better public input needed on project

What is this town up to with respect to Sidney Waterfront Partnership’s (SWP) proposed development of Seaport Place? In support of the proposed development, SWP applied for a zoning amendment to allow for apartment dwelling units with a density matching the adjacent downtown commercial zone (C6). They also wanted to alter the maximum lot coverage requirement and expand the range of permitted commercial activities.

Town staff recommended to council the proponent first hold an open house (Jan 16) to obtain feedback. They felt that this was needed before finalizing a land exchange and development agreement; and before the town could move forward with the development permit approval process.

However, the open house failed to mention anything about the required zoning amendment or provide any relevant details on the amendment. The property is, in fact, subject to the current zoning bylaw 2015 (Comprehensive Development Zone 6). The intent of this zoning bylaw is to provide for marine-tourist commercial uses along the waterfront. This bylaw does not permit residential use and allows only a limited range of commercial use.

None of this information was made known to the public at the open house and therefore falls well short of the town staff’s recommendation to obtain feedback from area residents on the proposed zoning amendment.

Instead, the proponent’s strategy, in consultation with the town’s development services department, was to side step the details of the zoning amendment and instead provide a brief overview of the proposed development.

As far as I am concerned any public input from area residents that is based on what was presented at this open house is absolutely useless feedback regarding the zoning amendments. In effect the proponent took this opportunity to sell the development concept as opposed to encouraging discussion and feedback on the proposed zoning amendment.

Do it over and do it right.

Susan Davey



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