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Newly released draft vision and goals for Sidney reflect culmination of community input

Sidney, BC.; After 10 months of community engagement, a common vision and set of goals have begun to emerge for the Official Community Plan (OCP) update. During Phase II of the OCP update process, the Town of Sidney heard a range of ideas, dreams, and concerns about the future of Sidney and compiled this feedback into a Key Directions Report, now available for public review.

“This is an opportunity to reflect and make sure we’ve heard people clearly, before moving forward and drafting the updated Official Community Plan,” said Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith. “I am pleased by the diversity and number of people who feel invested in Sidney and are actively shaping its future.”

Engagement efforts indicate that community members are largely united on common priorities such as maintaining Sidney’s small-town character, protecting the natural environment, addressing the affordable housing crisis, and the importance of working more meaningfully with local First Nations communities. Opinions are more varied on issues such as density and parking.

It is time for the community to let the Town know if the Key Directions Report does a good job capturing their perspectives. From September 20 to October 20, community members are encouraged to take a look at the report and share their feedback. All input will be considered by the OCP Review Advisory Committee and will support the development of a draft OCP, to be released this winter as Phase III of the project.

The Key Directions Report highlights general policy direction on issues that were often raised during the community engagement process. The draft OCP will delve further into these issues and also cover a broader range of topics. The updated OCP will look toward 2040, providing direction on a range of issues including future land use, transportation, and environmental protection. Future Staff and Councils will refer to this document as a trusted roadmap to guide recommendations and decisions.

Community input shaped the Key Directions Report and will continue to be crucial to the development of an OCP that reflects a range of voices. The report includes a summary of feedback collected to date. From September 2020 to June 2021, the Town to Sidney heard from the public, local First Nations, and stakeholders through an open house, virtual workshops, meetings, surveys, and other forms of engagement, totaling more than 1,600 interactions.

The Key Directions Report is available online on the project page at www.sidney.ca/ocp. Input can be shared through the website feedback form or by emailing the Town directly at ocp@sidney.ca.