Charla Huber: Colwood's boom is good for everyone

If you’ve been following the news lately, it seems that the City of Colwood is making announcement after announcement of new developments and initiatives in the ­community. Seeing the series of ­announcements inspired me to reach out to Colwood Mayor Rob Martin and ask more about what the city is doing, and how they are getting it done.

Martin said he’s had a lot of fun making announcements for a school, the Royal B.C. Museum archives, a Netflix film, housing developments, and updates regarding the shipyards.

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These projects were in the works well before the pandemic began, and are benefiting people in Colwood and neighbouring communities.

“In the last term I was on council, we were given a clear plan through our OCP,” said Martin, who is serving his first term as mayor, and served two terms as councillor.

The work is a result of the Official Community Plan, but it couldn’t be happening at a better time.

As residents of Greater Victoria, we venture out of the municipalities we live in to enjoy all the wonderful things other municipalities in our region have to offer.

I don’t live in Colwood, but I am a frequent visitor to the community for special events, beaches, parks and businesses. In the summer, we attended a free drive-in movie there for an enjoyable evening with physical ­distancing.

“We wanted to offer something for people to do,” Martin said. “Ultimately we want to create a community that creates a level of joy.”

Colwood offered other events and activities that allowed for physical distancing over the summer, as well. These events are important, because many of us have been cooped up in our homes and are looking for safe new forms of entertainment.

“We want to be a regional player,” said Martin, who hopes to create opportunities for all Greater Victoria residents, not just those living in Colwood.

A planned Royal B.C. Museum archives building will bring in 650 construction jobs and 300 permanent direct and indirect jobs, he said.

“It’s so exhilarating to build out a community,” said Martin, who acknowledges the work of his team and colleagues and the partnerships required to do this work. “At the end of each meeting I have with developers, I say: ‘Thank you for helping to build our community and considering our community for your project.’ ”

Martin said when the community announced its new drive-through coffee shop in Royal Bay, he figured smaller community news outlets might pick up the story, but it received a lot of coverage.

“People want to see and hear about ­positive things that are happening in their communities right now,” said Martin.

I agree with him. There is so much uncertainty in our world right now that we are looking for some good news, even small news.

We are not travelling right now and need to find joy and excitement within this region. There are good things happening all across Greater Victoria, not just in Colwood.

I encourage you to rediscover our region and go to a new park or new coffee shop and find some joy in the small things.

charla@makola.bc.ca

Charla Huber is the director of communications and indigenous relations for M’akola Housing Society.

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