Sidney approves controversial condominium development
Kim Westad, Times Colonist
Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Another piece of Sidney waterfront will be home to high-end condos, as the town struggles with the best way to use valuable land, provide new homes and still retain the small-town ambiance that residents love.
"I think council looked beyond the neighbourhood politics and looked to the benefit of the whole of Sidney," developer Alan Jones said yesterday, after Sidney council approved a 34-unit development in a 5-2 vote.
Jones has been working for the last 2 1/2 years to have a .6-hectare parcel of land at 2060 White Birch Rd. in Sidney rezoned to allow residential development. Initial plans for a six-storey, 41-unit building with a café were changed after neighbours, most of whom live in nearby condo or apartment buildings, opposed the height, density, decreased sunlight and increased traffic.
Peninsula Properties downsized the development by two floors. It still includes one storey of marina services and office space for the marina in front.
"The reality is that the development is just too big," said Moira Cameron, who lives at 2040 White Birch Rd. "Peninsula Properties' proposal is like Cinderella's step-sister trying to fit her chubby big foot into Cinderella's small slipper."
Rather than letting developers set the tone for development on Sidney's west edge with "one-off developments," Cameron suggested a detailed local area plan be done. That drew applause from many in the crowd of about 150 people, who also clapped when other speakers talked of lowered property values for nearby properties because of the view and sunlight being cut off by a new building.
Others worried about the changing face of Sidney.
"Are we going to put up condo buildings as high as we can make them? Or are we going to preserve a village atmosphere? That is what a lot of us came here to enjoy in the first place," said George Charlton, of 2050 White Birch Rd.
Fyi White Birch is in the far north of Sidney, near the northern border with North Saanich. 2060 is currently a parking lot.
I went to Sidney today for the first time in ages & it was actually pretty nice. I'm surprised there are so many good bookstores along Beacon Ave.