Housing affordability remains a concern among Sidney residents, with many increasingly concerned that young people will not able to afford to live in the community.
“It remains a significant topic of concern,” said Corey Newcomb, Sidney’s manager of long-range planning, during a presentation before council last week.
“More recently, what I have been hearing through the OCP review is concern about younger people being able to move into town – a lot of concern about people fearing for their kids … about the coming generation and what they are going to do when they want to buy a house.”
These comments come against the backdrop of new figures that show Sidney as the ‘cheapest’ Peninsula community with a single-family home costing $901,700 in August 2021, according to figures from the Victoria Real Estate Board. A housing needs assessment commissioned by Sidney as part of the OCP review and released in late 2019 broadly confirms many of Sidney’s 11,130 residents living across 5,606 households find housing unaffordable.
Sidney’s demographics also came up later in the meeting when Coun. Terri O’Keeffe asked about the OCP’s draft goal of a “diverse and balanced community supporting a thriving local economy.”
O’Keeffe said this goal should be broken into two parts with the economy receiving its own goal statement.
“I was looking to see something there in terms of (Sidney) capitalizing on its status as a marine hub,” she said. “How do we position ourselves to take advantage of the blue economy, the green economy? I think there is opportunity for us to position ourselves as an accessible community and tap into growing markets for accessible tourism, for example.”
“Keep in mind here too, that this is just a goal,” said Newcomb, in replying. “Any number of policies or sub-sections under that goal could focus on specific areas that are economic-related. I think the key here was to provide a link (between demographics and economics).”
A demographically diverse community will lead to a diverse economy, he said. “As everyone knows, Sidney has a very retiree-focused (demography) right now. Retirees are great. They are a great demographic of people. But retirees tend to do certain things. A broader demographic would give other businesses other opportunities to thrive as well.”
Sidney is among the oldest communities in Canada with a median age of 58 years (compared to 45 for the entire Capital Regional District).