A look back at 2016 with Esquimalt’s mayor

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins reflects on the highlights and challenges of last year, and looks ahead to the issues in 2017.

  • Dec. 29, 2016 6:00 p.m.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins takes a look back at the highlights and challenges of 2016.

How would you describe the past year?

This past year has been interesting and full of signifiant challenges. Certainly the wastewater treatment process was something that we had hoped had been resolved going in a new direction — one that held promise to bring on integrated resource management, a different site, a different process and a much stronger environmental process through the west side committee. And then to have that changed at the CRD (Capital Regional District) core was, I can only say, significantly disappointing. And then the process with the province, we had hoped for a different outcome rather than McLoughlin (Point), but given the timeframe that they had to gather any new information, it wasn’t surprising at the end of the day that they ended up back at McLoughlin. We have had a phenomenal year in Esquimalt in terms of real estate, in terms of developers coming, new proposals, changes that we’ve made to improve our processes. So I feel very proud of the work that we’ve achieved and the changes that are in play at this point. There will be significant construction and that means that people will have concerns about everything from parking to possibly dust, but at the end of the day, what that also means is there is growth in the community and that’s been something that for many years, the community has had a concern about.

What has been the highlight?

I think the highlight is seeing projects like the village project move through its process and we will see shovels in the ground this year for projects like the English Inn, that had sat around for a period of time. All of these things are indicating that we are a place that people are looking at to bring their business, to make change, that we’re a good place, a good community for people to move to. Council has made changes in policies that have improved processes, we’ve done an economic development strategy, but the reality is that the volunteer events and festivities that the community has put on have really opened the doors to people saying wow, what a place to go.

What has been the biggest challenge?

I think it’s the wastewater treatment, but it’s also the uncertainty around the police chief issue. It certainly still weighs on everyone’s mind and I look forward to some resolution of that. Who would have thought that that process would be continuing at this point? As hard as the police board is trying to resolve and get though this process, we have to allow the courts to do their work and that’s painfully slow at this point.

What issues are you focused on for the new year?

I think we as a community still have the process for wastewater treatment to go through. It’s my hope that other communities will now be respectful to allow a normal process to occur in Esquimalt, without rhetoric to occur that may be harmful. There’s no reason that can’t be a positive process. The thing that we’re anticipating most and looking forward to is putting a shovel in the ground for our village project. That speaks to a whole new downtown activity area. The other thing is completing our official community plan review process which always is of significant interest and value because it tells us what people are wanting in their community for the next 10 years going forward.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
WorkSafe BC investigating man’s death during Oak Bay tree removal

Man was working for contracted tree removal company when incident occurred

Vic High (Black Press Media file photo)
Vic High stadium plans drop promised 8-lane track to ‘barely wider than city sidewalk’

Friends of Vic High seek public inquiry into plans for Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project

A notice on the door of the Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. says it closes permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks location to close permanently after 16 years

Residents association seeks reason for closure set for Oct. 25

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive on Oct. 20 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich the night before. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear spotted several times in Saanich likely to be euthanized

Conservation officers still searching for bear reported near Elk Lake Drive

The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
Sexual assault suspect sought by West Shore RCMP

Police are looking for help identifying this man

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read