Challenges lead to more opportunity.
That’s what Rob Martin, Colwood’s new mayor, said about the start of his term.
Martin was formally sworn into the mayor’s office on Monday evening at the City of Colwood’s inaugural council meeting. Since then, Martin said he is already feeling engaged, excited and intense.
“There’s a lot of needs in our community that need to be addressed in a very short period of time,” Martin said.
One of those needs, according to Martin, is finding ways to bring in infrastructure that community members want to see.
Martin said Colwood residents have shown him they are interested in new developments that include public spaces for community gatherings and safety features like sidewalks and lights in neighbourhoods.
“Up to this point we’ve been more of a rural community,” Martin said. “We’re in that very difficult period as we transition from being a rural community to being a more vibrant, urban community.”
Martin said this upcoming week, council members will be meeting for two days to do strategic planning for the next four years. He said councillors will be able to relay what they’ve been hearing from residents and come together to form a homogenous plan for the city that they can pass on to staff members.
Martin also said it is a priority for council to be able to find developers who are willing to come to Colwood and build what the community wants.
“We want to make sure they’re bringing something to our community that adds value,” Martin said.
Martin also said he thinks it is important to start getting businesses to operate in Colwood and the West Shore. Many residents are spending a long time on their commutes to work and Martin thinks it is unsustainable to continue to spend so much time in traffic when residents could be home or with family.
“We have to be realistic in society,” Martin said. “We can’t tolerate this long-term.”
A main point in Martin’s mayoral campaign was to protect Colwood’s natural environment.
He said that while it may seem strange to promote development and environment at the same time, the two points actually work together.
“If you’re focusing on the natural environment around [a community] you increase the value of the development,” Martin said. “If you can live close to natural resources and have the ability to enjoy them, then that’s going to be a community you’re going to want to live, stay, work and play in.”