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EDITORIAL: Esquimalt continues to make waves

Community working hard to transform itself into a welcoming place of opportunities
CFB Esquimalt (this year’s change of command shown here) remains an integral part of the makeup of the community of Esquimalt, but residents are doing their best to expand on what it has to offer. Photo courtesy MARPAC Imaging

It’s interesting how certain areas of Greater Victoria have gone through periods where they’ve been considered less desirable than some of their neighbours.

Fernwood, for many years considered the poor cousin of Victoria, has seen property values increase at a healthy rate over the past 10 years or so, largely due to the fact people are choosing to live in this vibrant and community oriented neighbourhood, not simply basing their decision on price.

Esquimalt is another such community that has worked hard to become more attractive to those outside its boundaries. Previously pigeon-holed as a place dominated by the naval base and one where people don’t embrace change, it is evolving into a niche community where homes are reasonably priced – for Greater Victoria – and things are happening.

Through hosting arts and cultural events such as concerts at Bullen Field and Archie Browning Sport Centre, and new offerings such as the Tuesday night music in Memorial Park and this weekend’s aerial acrobatic shows in picturesque Saxe Point Park, people are experiencing what Esquimalt has to offer.

The upcoming free performances headlined by Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd is an extension of the community’s Canada 150 celebrations, which kicked off with the Macaulay Point historic interpretive event in May.

Such events, when promoted well, do a great job of not only providing entertainment for locals, they bring people into the community. Once there, opportunities to shop or experience other amenities and services often present themselves.

Mayor Barb Desjardins notes that when she speaks to non-residents today, people proudly mention some connection they have with Esquimalt, which she says is an abrupt change from 10 years ago.

Even the venerable Tudor House, an icon from a past era which burned to the ground in 2013, has emerged from the ashes with a trendy new liquor store.

Seeing a community pull itself up by the bootstraps is refreshing and encouraging to all of us. It shows that positive change is possible if people work together toward a common goal.