Addressing the future of Beacon Wharf and the huge interest that has generated, Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith said a “major change to the wharf is not imminent,” and promised council will consider all viewpoints to determine next steps.
His comments came in a prepared statement he read at Monday’s council meeting.
“It will likely be several years before the wharf is removed or replaced. But (council) felt it was prudent to start the planning process early, during this term,” the mayor said. “This allows us to take the necessary time to plan for the wharf’s future with input from the community.”
McNeil-Smith opened by saying council appreciates the iconic status of the current wharf, noting it has been a part of the town’s waterfront character for decades.
That said, he reminded the public about the central problem facing the municipality, namely what to do with an aging facility approaching the end of its lifespan.
“Over the last 10 years, engineering condition assessments of Beacon Wharf, along with the experience gained in spending some $400,000 on repairs, indicate the wharf will reach the end of its life in the coming years,” he said.
Two formal options currently exist: remove the wharf without replacing it, or replace it with a floating wharf as part of a public-partnership with Marker Group, with the second option having met considerable opposition based on publicly available correspondence.
McNeil-Smith mentioned neither of the two options, but pointed to the rationale and details of the engagement process, as well as the immense interest the subject has generated following public consultations. The municipality has received more than 1,000 survey responses, as well as letters from the public.
“All of the individual survey responses and letters will be available to (council) and the public when they are published in the agenda package for a (council) meeting in November,” McNeil-Smith said. “I want to assure members of the public that we are listening and we will consider all viewpoints when we determine next steps in the Beacon Wharf process.”
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