Sidney's Beacon Wharf

LETTER: Save Sidney’s seafood market

Something is missing from the illustration accompanying the recent article on proposals for the Beacon Avenue wharf in Sidney. Where is the fish market?

Wolf Depner’s July 22 article on the News Review website also makes no mention of it. A July 15 article refers to “the iconic wharf” but fails to say what’s iconic about it. Hint: it’s the fish market!

Forget that members of my family, which has roots over a century deep in Sidney, have owned and operated Satellite Fish Company for nearly 60 years. Consider instead what exists on the Beacon wharf right now and what people who frequent it might miss if it were to disappear. Complementing the fish market for the last 17 years has been the Pier Bistro, yet there’s no indication in town council’s two options for the wharf that the bistro has a future either.

The stewards of most communities perform backflips to preserve their heritage icons. The current stewards of Sidney, however, are not merely iconoclasts; they have chosen to act as though the iconic fish market doesn’t even exist.

It’s an interesting strategy to get rid of something by pretending it doesn’t exist. It also lacks imagination.

The federal government is practically shovelling money at infrastructure projects. Surely, Sidney town council could dream up a better way of reimagining the Beacon wharf, that would preserve its iconic character, than replacing it with a 60-year-old section of floating bridge.

Town councillors should at least ask their constituents this question: “Would you like to keep your iconic seafood market at the foot of Beacon Avenue?”

Sidney has changed a lot in 60 years from when it was a village of about 1,500 people to become a city of 10 times that number. But what brought everyone to this place, newcomers and old-timers alike, is its proximity to the ocean. And a fish plant — harvesting and processing seafood by local hands on that waterfront — is something iconic that’s worth keeping at Sidney by the Sea.

Keith Norbury

Victoria