In 2017, the City of Langford improved its transportation corridors by completing the new West Shore Parkway connecting the Trans-Canada Highway to Sooke Road. In early 2018, the City will complete the remaining 3.5 kilometres of the Bear Mountain Parkway connecting the Leigh Road Interchange to the South Skirt and Bear Mountain communities. (Gazette file photo)

Looking ahead to 2018 with West Shore mayors

E&N Corridor, development, and increased connectivity among highlights

HIGHLANDS

Early in 2018, Highlands will be consulting the public on an asset management plan and strategy.

Building resiliency in these times of ever quickening climate change and urban pressure is a strategic priority for Highlanders. A grant received from UBCM for $10,000 has helped fund consultants from the Brentwood Advisory Group, who delivered a 62-page report at our last council meeting. Materials will be made available on the District website and the public will be engaged for consultation at an open house followed by a committee of the whole.

Monitoring our natural assets and taking care of our infrastructure are both required to maintain service to the community without compromising the ability of future generations of Highlands residents to meet their own needs. Highlands has had a good start on asset management with the groundwater studies of the Wark-Colquitz aquifer.

The fire department’s successful tanker shuttle accreditation project has also received good grades from the consultant. The District will now focus on long range financial plans to keep buildings, roads, bridges and the natural environment protected. The approach used for this work is based on the Asset Management British Columbia Framework that features four key elements: People, Information, Assets and Finances. Formal approval of the plan is expected in February 2018.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Mayor Ken Williams

METCHOSIN

I have to say that 2017 has been a monumental year for Metchosin from the boundary adjustment referendum in January to the more recent purchase of the Metchosin Elementary school and heritage site. As mentioned before, council had hoped the purchase of MetchosinsSchool would be a “good news story” but that has not happened yet as the District ended up having to purchase the school for full price and did not receive any capital funding from the province. For now, council and the public are pleased to have secured the school site in order to protect Metchosin’s town core.

Looking ahead to 2018, council will be working with a property management and commercial leasing agency to lease out commercial space at the school in order to maximize rental return as we are in a position to have to replenish the District’s reserves. We anticipate that it will be at least five years before we can consider using the facility for sub-regional community use. The new revenues from our tax sharing agreement with the City of Langford may help accelerate the school payback.

With the upcoming 2018 local municipal election, Metchosin will be losing two very dedicated, hardworking and long serving councillors; Moralea Milne and Bob Gramigna whom have both announced they will not be running in next year’s election. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to serve on council with both of them over the past several terms.

— Mayor John Ranns

VIEW ROYAL

There will be a number of important events taking place in View Royal during 2018. One is the long awaited completion of the E&N Trail. The connection between Hallowell Road and Esquimalt will be constructed early in 2018. This has been made possible by agreements made with both our neighbouring first nation’s bands, the Esquimalt Nation and the Songhees Nation. When complete the E&N trail will run complete through View Royal right to Esquimalt Road near downtown. This will be an amazing community amenity both for commuter cyclists and for recreational users. We thank the First Nations, the CRD, and all partners involved for facilitating the completion of this important link.

Also exciting for 2018 will be the grand opening of the newly expanded and renovated Elements Casino in View Royal. Both the new entertainment space and the expanded gaming area are expected to be opened in the first half of 2018. The new Elements Casino will be the premiere entertainment and gaming centre for Southern Vancouver Island. We are excited about the different dining options and the entertainment that will be coming to the West Shore. Given that all the West Shore municipalities benefit from the Casino Revenue the importance of this expansion for all of our communities cannot be overstated.

In 2018 View Royal will continue to advocate for the creation of a regional transportation service. We believe strongly that the Transportation issues facing the region are significant and that we must deal with them through a regional approach.

From council and myself we wish everyone all the best for 2018.

Mayor David Screech

COLWOOD

The new year is expected to be a busy one for the City of Colwood.

The City recently changed the way they discuss city business, in order to better involve citizens in decisions that affect them. Beginning in 2018, new committee of the whole meetings will allow for public participation on a variety of agenda items. Early in the year, the City will also be entering into budget discussions, which residents are encouraged to participate in as well.

Growth within the community is front and centre in the municipality. There are a number of developments currently underway, with many more expected to come down the pipe. There are two assisted housing projects on the go, including 104 affordable units at 324 Wale Rd., adjacent to the Centre for Wellness currently under construction; and the West Shore Lodge, a senior’s housing complex on Sooke Road which is doubling in size. Both developments will increase the number of assisted and low-cost units in the housing pool. Brookes Westshore, a private and international baccalaureate Grade 6 to 12 school, which will bring increased residential activity to the area, is also expected to open at some point this year.

In terms of transportation, the City is working diligently with B.C. Transit to look for better service in the West Shore, as well as working with the Ministry of Transportation to find solutions that will help alleviate some of the congestion on the Trans-Canada Highway.

On behalf of council, we wish everyone a happy and safe new year.

Mayor Carol Hamilton

LANGFORD

Improved transportation networks, affordable housing for families, additional recreation and education opportunities, job creation, public safety and low taxes remain priorities for Langford.

In 2017, the City improved its transportation corridors by completing the new West Shore Parkway connecting the Trans-Canada Highway to Sooke Road. In early 2018, the City will complete the remaining 3.5 kilometres of the Bear Mountain Parkway connecting the Leigh Road Interchange to the South Skirt and Bear Mountain communities. Also in 2018, the City will construct the second southbound left turn lane on the Millstream Overpass.

“The combination of the West Shore Parkway, the Bear Mountain Parkway and Millstream Overpass will improve traffic flow, bring citizens home faster to spend more time with their families, and ensure jobs are created long into the future for the people of Langford,” said Mayor Young.

The City of Langford will also continue to work directly with the province to reduce congestion on the Trans-Canada Highway between Victoria and the West Shore, to assess the business case for opening the E&N Corridor for a commuter service, and to improve the highway to Sooke.

In addition to transportation improvements, Langford continues to find ways to add new and affordable housing units for residents. From the new seniors’ residence Cherish at Central Park located on Jacklin Road, to the affordable housing options provided by M’akola Housing Society and Pacifica Housing, to multi-family units creating density in the downtown core, to a range of exciting options on Bear Mountain, in Westhills and in Happy Valley, Langford remains a community where all residents can affordably live and raise a family.

Recreation continues to be top of mind. Building on the success of the YMCA, Langford will seek to double the seating capacity of Westhills Stadium to attract Rugby Canada events and other international sports teams and events. Mayor Young also said Langford will be asking the public at an open house about what big recreation projects they would like to see over the next five years, which could include soccer or baseball fields or another arena.

Langford is also excited about the School District 62’s acquisition of new land in Westhills for a new elementary school and a new middle school, said Mayor Young, and will continue to work with the School District and other organizations to expand both k-12 and post-secondary education opportunities in Langford.

In 2018, Langford will continue to create good paying local jobs. “We’re working with the Province, the tech sector, and other businesses to create economic opportunities for office buildings in the downtown core, for businesses in the new tech park, and for additional jobs in construction, recreation, and education,” said Mayor Young.

Langford will also continue to ensure that taxes, both locally and regionally, remain low, while ensuring public safety by hiring more police officers and continuing to strengthen our fire response. At the regional level, Mayor Young encourages the CRD “not be increase taxes to pay for new services until the full cost of sewage treatment is known. Until that time, any new CRD service should be funded from within the existing budget.”

When asked about Langford’s successes in 2017, Mayor Young noted “Langford gets things done because we are open for business, have great community partners and staff, and we work hard at reducing red tape. 2017 was a great year for Langford, and 2018 is going to be even better for the families and residents of Langford.”

On behalf of the City of Langford, “have a wonderful holiday season and all the best in the new year,” said Young.

Mayor Stew Young


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