Municipal Services Updates
As of Monday, March 16, 2020, public access to all Town of Sidney municipal buildings has been restricted until further notice.
This includes the Town Hall, Driver Services, the Community Safety Building, and Public Works & Parks Yard. We have taken this measure to ensure the health of our staff and the public as we all work together to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Public Washrooms at 9813 Fourth Street (8 am - 8 pm), Iroquois Park (dawn to dusk), and Tulista Park (dawn to dusk) have been kept open for public use with enhanced cleaning procedures.
We are continuing municipal operations to the fullest extent possible during this time and prioritizing essential services. Our standard departmental services will be carried out by phone, email, and through our website. You can find Department contact information on our Contact Us page and access our online services on our Online Services page. Response times to inquiries may take longer than usual - we appreciate your patience during this time.
Scroll through this page or select a specific department from the list to learn more about what changes our municipal departments are implementing to adapt to this situation.
- Bylaw Enforcement
- Development Services
- Driver Services
- Emergency Operations Centre
- Fire Department
- Public Works, Parks & Engineering
Phone Number: 250-656-1139
- Town Meetings
Regular Council meetings will continue as scheduled, but all other meetings of all Town Committees have been cancelled until further notice. Due to restrictions imposed on public gatherings by the Provincial Health Officer, Council meetings will be closed to the public until further notice. However, public meetings will be live-streamed for public viewing. Council meeting agendas can be viewed on our Council Meetings page.
- Council Meeting Live Stream
Council meetings are now being live-streamed. Visit the Council Meetings page for the meeting schedule and the link to the live-stream. A link to the Council meeting video recording will be posted on the Council Meetings page the day after the meeting.
- Council Meeting Public Participation
The public may submit comments or questions to Council via email at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to 12:00 pm (noon) on the day of the meeting. Please note in your email that it is intended for the Public Participation Period; any correspondence marked as such will be recorded under Public Participation Period and read aloud in the meeting. Comments should be kept brief, as the allotted time remains limited. Your comments may have to be summarized to fit within the allotted time.
- If you would like to provide comments to Council electronically (via Zoom) during the meeting, please contact the Corporate Officer at 250-655-5402 or email@example.com prior to 12:00 noon on the day of the meeting to register as a speaker.
General Phone: 250-656-4502
General Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID-19 Related Calls: 250-655-6900
COVID-19 Related Emails: email@example.com
On March 26, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General used the extraordinary powers of the Emergency Program Act to enable municipal bylaw officers to enforce the Provincial Health Officer’s orders. Town of Sidney Bylaw Officers now have the authority to ensure that local businesses are complying with provincially mandated service changes and closures.
- Municipal Bylaw Officers are making regular visits to Sidney businesses. Their focus is on providing guidance based on recommendations and orders from senior levels of government and the regional and provincial health authorities.
- Municipal Bylaw Officers are also visiting the waterfront area and local parks to ensure that people in these public spaces are able to keep 2 metres from other park and trail users they encounter.
If you have any questions or concerns related to enforcement of COVID-19 related public health measures, you can contact the Town of Sidney Emergency Operations Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-655-6900 (phone line monitored Monday - Friday, 9 am to 4 pm, voicemails returned as soon as possible).
- Staff are accepting building permit and development applications digitally. Please refer to Development Service's Application and Inspection during the COVID-19 Pandemic Guide for more information about submission and intake processes.
- Staff are also accepting business licence applications digitally. Please call 250-656-1725 or email email@example.com for more information.
- Driver Services' staff are now able to conduct the below ICBC Autoplan transactions over the phone. Call Town of Sidney Driver Services at 250-656-0614 to access these services.
- Policy changes
- Storage policies
- Temporary operating permits
- Please refer to our Emergency Operations Centre page for information regarding the functions and activities of the Town's EOC.
- Bill Payments
During this time, utility bills, dog licence and business licence renewal payments can be made:
- By credit card on the Town's website;
- By cheque through the mail or dropped in the letterbox at Town Hall;
- Utility bills can be paid at your financial institution or through online banking.
- Utility Bill Payments
The Town of Sidney will not be applying penalties to any current utility billings that remain unpaid at this time.
The next utility bill is scheduled to be mailed in mid-April. At this time, we plan to issue these bills, but will do so with a long due date (some date in the summer to be determined). Depending on circumstances at that time, we may choose not to apply penalties for late payment. We will be inviting those customers who can pay to please do so at that time; for other customers, leniency will be applied to the extent possible.
- Property Taxes
Council asked staff to bring forward options for eliminating the general municipal tax increase for the year, and options for further reducing the tax impact on businesses. Over the course of three meetings, Council considered a series of options, and at the April 27, 2020 Council meeting amended the previously approved 2020 financial plan as follows:
- Reduced the previously-approved 1.79% general tax increase to zero for Residential and Commercial properties;
- Provided an additional 10% reduction in the municipal portion of taxes for Commercial and Light Industrial properties.
In addition to the tax reductions, Council, in combination with the Province, also delayed the penalty dates to be applied to unpaid taxes, effectively providing property owners with more time to pay their tax bill this year. The 5% penalty date for Residential properties shifts from July 3 to August 1, 2020 and the 5% penalty date for Commercial properties shifts from July 3 to October 1, 2020. A second 5% penalty date for both Residential and Commercial properties shifts to December 15, 2020.
- Changes to Pre-Authorized Withdraws for Property Tax & Utilities
Changes can be made using this form. Please return the completed form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped in the letterbox at Town Hall.
- Tulista Boat Launch Permits
Boat owners wanting to renew or purchase six or twelve month permits are asked to purchase an individual launch pass at the boat ramp and keep the receipt for a credit towards the purchase of a permit when the Town Hall reopens.
- Accounts Payable
Vendors are asked to submit invoices electronically by emailing them to email@example.com. To ensure payment during the COVID epidemic, we encourage all vendors to enroll in the Town’s Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Payment Plan to ensure uninterrupted payment. To receive EFT payments, please complete this form and return it with a void cheque to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note this is exceptionally demanding time for the Fire Department and your patience is appreciated.
Visit the Prevention page to read more on the current modified operations regarding inspections.
- Public Education
Fire hall tours and public educational seminars have currently been cancelled until further notice.
- Response to Incidents
Our dedicated volunteers and staff continue to serve our community through incident response under the parameters from the Provincial Health Officer to preserve First Responder and public health.
The Town’s contractor is working hard to ensure curbside garbage and organics collection service levels are maintained. Here are a few things that you can do to keep these important people safe and healthy:
- Until further notice, please bag your garbage. This helps contain any material that may be contaminated. Garbage containers with loose garbage will be tagged and not emptied.
- Please place cleaning & hygiene in a plastic bag in your garbage container. These include used tissues, cloths, disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves, personal hygiene products and all similar items. Please do not flush any of these down the toilet or place them loose in your garbage or organics container.
Parks & Playgrounds
Refer to our Parks & Pathways Updates Page for the latest updates about parks, pathways, and outdoor recreation facilities.
Public Works & Parks Activities Around Town
With the declaration of a provincial state of emergency along with public health authorities urging people to stay at home and minimize contact with others as much as possible, the Town of Sidney has reduced service levels to the extent possible, while still providing our essential services. This means that you will still see our Public Works and Parks staff around Town carrying out essential duties. This work is being performed with physical distancing guidelines in place, while following safe work practices. Minimizing risk to both Town staff and the public is the top priority when carrying out these activities.
Public Works Activities
Town staff in the Public Works Department continue to carry out essential operations, including maintaining critical infrastructure such as water and sewer systems, roads, sanitation, and municipal facilities. Town staff will also continue to plan and construct capital projects that have been approved as part of the 2020 budget.
Public Works staff also play a key role in supporting and implementing many of the initiatives developed by the Town’s Emergency Operations Centre. This includes increased cleaning and sanitizing of the Town’s public washrooms and shower facility. Public Works staff have also been installing physical distancing signage around Town, including in our parks and along our busier pathways.
Sidney parks and pathways currently remain open for use, with social distancing guidelines in place, to support our residents’ physical and mental health. There are minimum levels of maintenance that town staff in the Parks Department must perform to ensure they remain safe for use. Additionally, our municipal parks and gardens require a certain level of upkeep to ensure they do not become fire hazards or fall into a state of disrepair from which they cannot be recovered. Furthermore, by not completing at least a minimum level of maintenance, the Town would simply be increasing future costs to undertake the work once the pandemic ultimately subsides.
In order to balance reduced service levels with essential maintenance, we are taking the following steps:
- Grass cutting frequency will be reduced by 50% with the grass cut at a higher level and fertilizers and irrigation set at minimum levels to maintain the turf.
- Annual lawn maintenance activities such as aerating and top dressing will continue in order to maintain long-term lawn health.
- Boulevards, beach accesses and pathways will be maintained to a standard that minimizes fire and safety risks.
- Trees and plantings will be watered as required to maintain health.
Due to ordering timelines, the Parks Department will proceed with the following projects so that materials are not wasted:
- Floral Displays
Floral displays are planned and materials ordered well in advance of when they are actually planted, so with some plantings already delivered, we feel it is important to proceed with some of these displays. We have reduced our seasonal floral displays and the majority will be planted in areas that have automated watering systems.
- Street Banners
The Town’s annual street banners were designed and ordered many months ago, so the Town will proceed with installing them. Town staff in the Parks Department are able to meet physical distancing requirements while they install the banners.
We hope that these floral displays and street banners bring a sense of happiness, pride, and vibrancy to our Town during this stressful and challenging time.