The City of colwood is a spectacular seaside community set apart by its oustanding natural setting and exceptional quality of life.
2015 - 2018 Community Goals:
- Colwood's waterfront is a gently enjoyed, world class destination.
- People and nature are exceptionally well-connected.
- Family friendly neighbourhoods provide housing choices.
- Residents have realistic transportation choices.
- Vibrant streets and public spaces promote community connections.
- Colwood is carbon neutral, energy positive, water smart, and prepared to adapt to a changing world.
Each year, council reviews existing priorities to ensure they align with citizen needs and expectations expressed through citizen satisfaction surveys, and are responsive to new information and changing conditions.
The following is an overview of the strategic goals and priorities that guide City projects and initiatives. (Alternatively, you may download the City of Colwood Strategic Priorities Overview.)
In addition to incorporating these goals into the everyday business of the City, Colwood Council has identified major projects in each of these areas that the city will focus on first, as we work toward our vision. Plans will be integrated to maximize teamwork, public participation, innovation and efficiency.
A. Community Well Being
We promote a safe, attractive and active seaside community. We inform and involve residents in decisions that affect them, promoting shared responsibility and a strong connected community. We advocate for the availability and affordability of housing and public services.
- Established new communications and engagement procedures based on internationally recognized standards (CPRS, IABC, IAP2).
- Residents are informed through the following:
- Webcasting of City Council Meetings
- Resident subscriptions for email updatesColwood Connection Newsletter: mailed to all Colwood addresses quarterly
- Council Highlights: posted bi-weekly following regular Council meetings
- News Releases: emailed to media distribution list, posted online, shared on social media
- Event Notices: posted online and shared on social media
- Regular social media updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: news and events, service updates, traffic advisories, community tips, relevant info from community groups & partners, promote parks & active living, heritage & culture, pride of place & sense of fun
- Annual Report and others: available online, at City Hall, printed copy to partners
- Postcards and other direct mail as needed (e.g. Urban Forest Bylaw)
- Advertisements: printed in the local newspapers and magazines
- Signage: on existing City poles, on bus shelters, Fire Hall sign, partner signs
- Feature articles: in journals and publications (e.g. Canadian Business Journal)
- Videos: Year in review, capturing events, etc.
- Residents are involved using engagement techniques tailored to the community and the issue. The use of surveys and going out to the community rather than summoning to City meetings are some of the new measures implemented in the past 4 years.
- Direct engagement with more than 1,400 citizens and stakeholders at more than 40 events to support the OCP process.
- Colwood housing is still among the most affordable areas in the region within 15 km of Victoria despite residential development now occurring in more valuable areas in close proximity to the beaches or with exceptional views.
- Approved 1,469 apartment units, 265 townhomes, 508 single-family dwellings. 696 of the apartments are designated as market rentals.
- 184 units of subsidized affordable housing approved, partially funded through Colwood’s Affordable Housing Fund and Federal/Provincial grant funding supported by Colwood.
- 60 units of independent living were approved to help address the regions aging population.
- 123 legal secondary suites were constructed, and secondary suite regulations were streamlined
- Implemented a wildland gator vehicle for emergency response in forested areas.
- Outfitted a wildfire/bush fire truck
- Improved fire/emergency response time and 365-day coverage through shift scheduling.
- Modernized the foam trailer for bulk fuel fires.
- Performed significant equipment upgrades to fire apparatus and instituted an aggressive training program to ensure that we remain current in advanced firefighting and life safety techniques enhancing our service to the community.
B. Community Planning
Our city is planned and designed to maximize livability while maintaining affordability and protecting air, land, water, green spaces and forests. The City’s Official Community Plan, Land Use Bylaws and Transportation Plans work together to create a vibrant community.
- Colwood has a new Official Community Plan (OCP) that provides a balanced approach to maintaining affordability while also equally protecting air, land, water, green spaces and forest. Striving to establish a sense of equilibrium in the context of development and the natural and built environment and how it effects the existing livability and values of the community.
- Arranged a meeting with the Minister of Transportation and local mayors successfully advancing planning for the construction of priority bus lanes to Colwood Corners.
- Streamlined secondary suites.
- Developed retaining wall regulations.
- Proactively regulated retail sale of cannabis.
- Approved a community garden on City lands.
- Approved 1,469 apartments, 265 townhomes, 508 single-family homes, and 22,702 m² commercial.
C. Economic Diversity
Colwood provides a strong, sustainable economy with a wide range of business and investment opportunities. Careful management and active promotion create the environment for businesses to succeed. We proactively invest in economic growth and quality of place.
- Award winning business licensing process that supports local business by eliminating annual fees.
- Designed and implemented a new City logo and full branding program to signal positive changes and increase community pride.
- Improve wayfinding, distinguish Colwood from other communities, establish sense of place, promote parks and trails.
- Through the extensive community engagement, identified who Colwood is, so that we are now capable of communicating who Colwood is and the values that are important to the community. A foundation of investment attraction and retention.
- Official Community Plan (OCP) is significantly clearer to the community, businesses, and investors regarding community values and expectations reducing risk through greater certainty.
- The OCP eliminated the watered-down approach to commercial centres focusing major commercial activity in two main areas, to ensure a greater chance of success for businesses in these areas.
- Added Economic Development formally as a function of the Planning department, with one planner currently leading in this field.
- The addition and expansion of Eats and Beats and Beach Food Fridays and Saturdays showcase Colwood’s greatest asset (the beach) further solidifying Colwood’s identity and raising regional awareness of Colwood.
- Approved 22,702 m² of new commercial space.
- Streamlined building and engineering application processes.
- Created new development application processes.
D. Infrastructure Management
We focus on building resilience and long-term stability by ensuring our natural and manmade infrastructure and assets are maintained and funded over the long term. We prepare for future expenditures by planning proactively.
- Established an Asset Management Framework in preparation for implementation of Asset Management.
- Entered into a service contract to use the CRD’s Geographic Information System (GIS), which forms the backbone for our Asset Management system.
- Asset inventory of our sanitary sewer system and roads is complete.
- Asset inventory of our storm water system which includes natural assets is complete.
- Geospatial survey of all trees is complete will be in our GIS system by the first quarter of 2019.
- Asset inventory of streetlights complete and an overall plan for LED retrofit will be ongoing. 157 street lights have been converted.
- Coastline erosion study complete, with a plan to extend the life of Colwood’s sand beaches.
- Esquimalt Lagoon Bridge assessment complete including an ongoing capital plan.
- Tsunami and flood control setbacks have been determined.
- Levels of service for parks, roads, and utilities are near complete and will be presented to Council in quarter 1 of 2019.
- Constructed Painter Trail.
- Improved several City parks for safety and access.
- Installed 3 bike shelter/repair stations.
- Completed a tree planting project at Colwood Creek Park.
- Commenced the conversion of City vehicles to electric.
- Lookout Brook Dam emergency plan.
- Adopted an Urban Tree Bylaw and a City Street Tree Policy.
- Upgrading CREST radios to new digital technology.
- Purchased Fire/Rescue Engine 57 with an advanced pumping system and elevated articulating platform to address apartment building fires.
- Both 1st responders equipped with auto extractors.
E. Sound Governance
We build community capacity to prevent future problems and expenditures. Careful management, fiscal responsibility, innovation, monitoring and community involvement create the environment, infrastructure, systems, services and workforce required to succeed.
- Commenced a multi-year restructuring of the entire organization to better match resources to current community needs. This involves a commitment to ongoing service reviews and realigning human resources to reflect where the current demands are on the organization. Changes have been implemented without any impact on the taxpayers.
- Improved hiring practices within City Hall.
- Placed a greater emphasis on training to improve the skills, ability, and safety of staff.
- New focus internal and external customer service. Departments work together to provide a consistent message across disciplines.
- Refocused staff on proactively managing rather than reactively.
- Stabilized municipal taxation levels, with the goal of holding taxes close to the Region’s consumer price index with the exception of the addition of new services.
- Significant improvement in the City’s financial resiliency by increasing reserve balances by 72%.
- Reduced Worksafe BC premiums by $32,000 per year through a reduction in Worksafe incidents.
- Reached agreement with the Federal Government and BC Assessment Authority on the determination of Federally owned lands Payments In lieu of Taxes.
- Added a Purchasing function to add better controls and consistencies in our procurement practices.
- Implemented a pre-authorized payment system to assist taxpayers in the property tax payment.
- Created consistent set of terms of reference for studies required of land developers.
- Established new templates for RFP’s, contracts, and tenders.
- Implemented the proper use of servicing agreements on all new developments.
- Created a process and commenced the recording of City assets built by developers.
- Created new processes for efficient intake of fees, charges, deposits, and security for developments as well as improve the record keeping.
- Updated and replaced out phone system.
- Created an internal Information Technology function, move to in-house computer & network systems.
- Transitioned to service level budgeting, providing a more meaningful correlation of proposed spending to services and levels of service.
- Initiated leading edge public engagement techniques tailored to Colwood to gain a broader community perspective. More inclusive, broader reaching process used for the OCP now the norm for engagement.
- Regular community satisfaction surveys initiated to benchmark our progress and identify emerging issues affecting Colwood residents.
- Made inroads into building on our relationship with our indigenous neighbours.
- Developed a traffic calming policy to more broadly look at affects on neighbourhoods, arterial and collector roads and seek feedback from the affected residents.
- Upgraded a section of Metchosin Road including sidewalks, bike lane, and lighting.
- Expanded sanitary sewer along Sooke and Metchosin Road and installed a pump station in Allandale Pit.
- Built Colwood Creek Spray Park and associated improvements to the Park.
- Installed the Havenwood Park crosswalk on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway.
- Installed a backup emergency generator to power City Hall in the event of a power outage.
- Achieved Green Business Certification
- Moved Fire Dispatch to Surrey Fire Dispatch along with 4 other municipalities in the Region. This provided Colwood with enhanced service and saves Colwood $275,000 over the next 3 yrs.