2020 may very well go down as “that year” when we look back and compare disastrous times. “Yeah, that’s bad… but it’s certainly not 2020 bad!”
Yet even as COVID-19 impacted our lives in ways none of us could have expected, I witnessed 2020 bring out the best in us. We stepped up and began looking after each other. The tangible ways our community did this was inspiring. Simple gestures demonstrated how generous Colwood residents are with their time. Everything from picking up groceries for elderly neighbours to wearing a mask and waiting in line to support local businesses. I appreciate the efforts to keep our neighbours, families and businesses safe.
Despite the rigors of the pandemic, for the City of Colwood, 2020 has also been an exciting story of bringing our Official Community Plan to life. Colwood council was honoured to welcome Victoria Shipyards to our Allandale district, the Royal BC Museum and Archives building to Royal Bay, and the expansion of Royal Bay Secondary (making it the largest high school on Vancouver Island with over 1,600 student capacity).
Through the legacy of previous councils, the City of Colwood has prioritized the importance of nature and our parks system. 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 demonstrated how important biodiversity is to our physical and mental health as a community.
Next year 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 Highway, 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 systems 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).
In 2020, out of our Economic Recovery Plan, Colwood began a marketing campaign entitled “Colwood is Calling.” This past year I have seen evidence that the successes we are experiencing fit our new motto well.
This vibrant seaside community that I am proud to call home is calling indeed.
Rob Martin is the mayor of Colwood.