Q: Why is the Town undertaking this project right now?
A: Over the past years, the Town has received comments and concerns from both the industrial area and the adjacent residential area in regards to the lack of services and amenities. This project will seek to address these concerns through a long-term, comprehensive vision founded in community consultation.
Q: Will businesses be affected during this process?
A: This process is designed to create a long-term plan that can be implemented in the future. Therefore, businesses will not be affected while the plan is being developed.
Q: What is a Local Area Plan?
A: A Local Area Plan is a long-term plan for a defined project area, which is usually founded in strong public consultation and addresses physical design, policy, and programming/land use.
The West Side Local Area Plan will go beyond the general policies that are already in the Official Community Plan to provide a series of specific recommendations, concept designs, and implementation strategies for the area. The LAP will subsequently inform future capital investment, bylaw/guideline development, and Council decision-making regarding the area.
Q: It seems like the Town is working on other similar projects. How are they all related?
A: The projects that the Town is currently undertaking are connected in different ways. The study areas for the Parking Study, Density Review Study, Downtown Waterfront Vision, West Sidney Local Area Plan, and Downtown Streetscape and Urban Design Standards project are all connected physically by Beacon Avenue. Many of the projects overlap in terms of study areas as well as context. For example, the Density Review Study, Parking Study, Downtown Waterfront Vision, and Downtown Streetscape and Urban Design Standards are all focused primarily around the downtown core. Additionally, aspects of each individual study affect other projects, such as the relationship between density and parking or businesses being affected by the connectivity between the waterfront and the downtown.
While the projects are connected in some regards, they are each individual projects with different timelines and their own public participation events. Please check the Projects & Initiatives page for more information on each individual project.
Q: When would the proposed changes happen to the residential neighbourhood?
A: These are privately owned properties so it would be a property owner’s choice to decide to redevelop their property or sell it to a new owner who in turn would have to decide to redevelop in order for the proposed land uses in the residential area to be constructed and built out as they are proposed in the draft West Side Local Area Plan (WSLAP). The Town has no intention of purchasing properties in the area to redevelop them; it would be up to the individual property owners to decide whether to and when to make a change if the WSLAP is adopted by Council.
Q: Why are these changes proposed for the residential neighbourhood?
A: The changes are proposed to accommodate more housing in Sidney close to the large employment areas of the Industrial area and the downtown commercial area, and also to allow for additional light-industrial, hi-tech and some commercial uses. The mixed-use concept would allow both the housing and the business growth in the same area.
Q: What happens next with this plan?
A: When the comment period closes on August 8th, staff will go through all comments received and discuss them with consultant, revising the draft LAP document as necessary. The draft will be finalized and presented to Committee of the Whole (COW) in September, likely on Tuesday September 5th (the agenda for this meeting will be available on Thursday August 31st). Staff will prepare a report which will likely recommend that the WSLAP be added as a schedule to the Official Community Plan (OCP). Doing so would require a bylaw amendment to the OCP. Public comments received would be attached to this staff report as an appendix, as was done with the staff report on the final Downtown Waterfront Vision plan.
COW’s recommendation would be received by Council at the next Council meeting. Should Council decide to move forward with bylaw amendments, a major component of this process is a public hearing. The public hearing would be advertised and held during a specified Council meeting. Please note that Council meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month. All Council agendas are available here.