Happy New Year! This time last year, Council gathered with a large crowd at Esquimalt Lagoon for the annual Polar Bear Swim. As a Council, we attempted our First Annual City of Colwood Levee (which basically meant Council giving out cake to all). I look forward to a future when we can have that again!
Our community faced many challenges this year and really did so well. We all had to try and figure out what we needed to do daily to be safe and adjust to constantly changing circumstances. Many Colwood families faced uncertain financial realities and worked diligently. It takes a whole new level of parenting to raise a family during a pandemic. Crisis defines character. The character of Colwood residents shone through in their investment in each other. From shopping locally to following the Provincial health orders, we did it.
As health officials encouraged residents to stay close to home, we all learned how important our connection to the environment is. Colwood’s 56 parks, over seven kilometers of ocean waterfront and the beautiful lands of Royal Roads contributed greatly to our physical and mental health as a community.
Our new normal as a city meant adapting and embracing change. The women and men who work for our city demonstrated a professionalism we can all be proud of. And not only did the city persevere, we excelled in 2020.
Colwood Council and staff worked many, many hours to welcome the Royal BC Museum and Archives building into Royal Bay. This is a signature accomplishment and will define the character and personality of Royal Bay. With the expansion of Royal Bay Secondary (making it the largest High school on Vancouver Island with over 1600 student capacity) and welcoming a (yet to be named) Royal Bay Elementary school, we begin to define the value of education to the city. 2021 holds some exciting announcements as the commercial zone in Royal Bay builds out and as Royal Beach moves to Public Hearings.
Council was also proud to announce SeaSpan as a new part of our community. A business leader within Greater Victoria, it speaks to the quality of companies and employers Council aspires to attract to Colwood.
2021 is shaping up to be an even more eventful year as we welcome a number of projects: affordable rental homes for Indigenous families on Wale Road, redevelopment of the Galaxy Motors site on the Island Hwy, and realizing plans for Colwood Corners, Olympic View, Royal Beach, Royal Bay Commons and the Allandale District light industrial development.
Colwood Council continues to appreciate the importance of making effective transportation a priority and understands that long term success means developing safe, fast, efficient and green system to move people around. With that, 2021 will see upgrades to priority transit lanes on the Island Highway, construction of new sidewalks and continued work to lobby senior levels of government to understand the necessity of a passenger ferry connecting Royal Bay to Victoria (and CFB Esquimalt)
On behalf of council, thank you to all our residents and small businesses for making the effort in 2020 to keeping our community safe. Council wishes you and your family safety and health for 2021.
Mayor, City of Colwood