As 2021 comes to an end, I am reflecting on a year full of accomplishments and challenges for our communities, from Esquimalt through West Shore to Scia’New (Beecher Bay).
British Columbia, like the rest of the world, has had a very challenging year on several fronts, but especially with COVID-19. Yet, at home and across the province I have been inspired by how people have come together to support each other this year.
One of the top issues that we hear about in my constituency office is access to primary health care. With the opening of the Esquimalt Urgent and Primary Care Centre and the Westshore Community Health Centre, along with investments in mental health and addictions counselling services through the Esquimalt Neighbourhood House, more people are now able to access the care they need, when they need it.
We are also investing in our children and building a B.C in which future generations can thrive in climate-friendly communities. This year we announced a new accessible playground at Colwood Elementary, and launched the Active School Travel Pilot Program at Sangster Elementary.
We know that affordable housing is difficult to find in our community and it has been heartwarming to see families settle into new buildings such as those on Goldstream Avenue and Wale Road, the latter of which is focused on the needs of Indigenous families.
We are bringing jobs and cultural opportunities to the West Shore by building the new collections and research facility for the Royal BC Museum in Colwood, supporting the Highland Games Association to build a new community centre in View Royal, and helping to refurbish a former school into a community centre in Metchosin.
At Royal Roads, we transformed an old swimming pool into the new Dogwood Auditorium. Now the largest conference space on the West Shore, the building features beautiful artwork by Carey Newman and is built to high energy efficiency standards.
We also invested in more work-integrated learning opportunities for students at RRU, giving them practical experience to help them find good careers.
B.C. has consistently led Canada in our economic recovery, and one of the reasons is our focus on taking care of people. We know that affordable child care makes a huge difference for families, letting parents go back to work or school. Since forming government, we have invested nearly $30 million in Esquimalt-Metchosin alone to create more child care spaces.
There is a lot more work to do in 2022, and I am looking forward to working with people across our communities to keep making progress.
We are continuing to build a more equitable province by expanding affordable child care, funding active transportation projects and working with First Nations to modernize how we care for our forests, among many other priorities.
My staff at the constituency office has done amazing work this year helping residents to access provincial services and I’m very grateful for their dedication to all of our community members. Let’s keep working to make Esquimalt-Metchosin stronger.