Royal Bay has seen substantial growth recently and with a 20 year build out plan

Colwood seeks input as it prepares for growth

As the City reaches a critical juncture in its history, Colwood is looking for public input for its new community plan.

As the City reaches a critical juncture in its history, Colwood is looking for public input for its new community plan.

Called Making Waves, the project invites people to “rock the boat” to find ways to make their city great.

“Colwood is at a pivotal point in terms of growth and change. This community planning process is our opportunity to set the course for a shining future – preserving the things we cherish and creating community places where people love to spend time,” said Mayor Carol Hamilton in a statement.

With continued growth at Royal Bay and other development projects either underway or on the near horizon, it’s not lost on staff or council just how important these next few years are in shaping the future of the municipality. And with such wide-spread growth expected in the next 10 to 20 years, the City has deemed it “critical” to hear from as many members of the community as possible, “so that their input is reflected in the plan, and so that everyone understands who Colwood is today and who Colwood is striving to become,” stated Hamilton.

Input can take a variety of forms, and issues regarding hillside development and transportation are expected to be at the forefront of the discussion, said Colwood communications manager Sandra Russell.

Blasting issues, as reported in the Oct. 12 edition of the Gazette, have been a concern for some residents in recent months and Russell said the input period could be a chance to discuss what the future might hold on that matter. Water protection and transportation are likely discussion topics as well.

“How do we ensure that we have enough transportation choices to get people around in reasonable ways?” Russell said of one query the City will need to answer.

Colwood hopes that resident input plus research and analysis to be done will translate into policies that lead to attractive and functional buildings, streets, town centres and public spaces.

Two events are planned to kick start the conversation.

The first, titled Successful Cities, will feature a talk by urban planner Dave Witty, the provost and vice-president, academic, at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.

“He’s an engaging speaker who’s going to talk about this place-making aspect,” Russell said. “How do you make a great place? What (makes) a successful city that people really want to live in, work in, spend time in?”

Round table discussions will follow Witty’s talk. The second event, Keeping it Wild, will see landscape planner and University of British Columbia professor William Marsh discuss the design of communities that integrate well with their natural surroundings. The hope is that discussion will prompt residents to consider, “What are the things that people cherish in Colwood and want to protect even as we grow and build the things we want to build?” Russell said.

Successful Cities takes place on Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m., while Keeping it Wild takes place Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Both events happen at Royal Bay secondary.

Colwood residents can also get involved in the future of the community by attending official community plan steering committee meetings on the third Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3300 Wishart Rd.

A survey on the City’s website will be available by the end of this month for residents to contribute input.

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