Ancient Roman philosophers understood that to discuss any issue, groups of people must decide on a "common place"; something that everyone agreed is true, before discussing issues where opinions differ.
Starting in 2019, Sidney is scheduled to begin revising our Official Community Plan (OCP), in addition to continuing review of new development. The OCP becomes the "common place" for the Town; a collective idea of who lives here, what it looks like, the economy, the lifestyle, and what is important to us.
2019 will also see the Town begin the Active Transportation Plan; continue an Urban Forestry Management Strategy;start implementing the Parks Master Plan, focusing on neighborhood parks away from the waterfront; and continue implementing the West Side Local Area Plan improvements. All of these plans require assessing the needs for big changes in how Sidney residents build and use infrastructure due to changes in our environment from climate change, changes in energy use and technology, and not least, for our own health and enjoyment!
I want to focus on three core questions to guide decisions made by Council:
- Are we fostering housing, transportation options and services to allow people of all ages, life stages, abilities and incomes to meet their needs here?
- Are we creating sustainable economic opportunities and services for the town over the long term?
- Is our infrastructure resilient to the large environmental, technological and demographic changes expected over the next few decades?
Conversation is more than collecting input or statements of position; it is a genuine attempt to communicate the perspectives, limitations and needs of each party. As one person put it to me: I don't need every decision to go my way - I just want to be able to understand why it was made another way so I can tell whether my concerns were respectfully weighed in the decision.