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Colwood town hall: big ideas, engaged crowd

Traffic, Trees, Sewers, Seniors, Health, Arts & Culture, and Youth.

Sunday February 12, 2023 | COLWOOD, BC [Updated 9 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

The first big impression at Colwood’s municipal drop-in Ideas Fair yesterday was the size of the displays. Large wallboards and an on-floor interactive map drew people’s attention and involvement right away.

And the room offered lots of opportunities to chat with Colwood’s elected officials and staff based on what was proposed around the large space in the commons area of Royal Bay Secondary School.

colwood, big ideas, lobby
Conversations about City of Colwood initiatives, at the Big Ideas drop-in event Feb 11, 2023 held at Royal Bay Secondary. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Information boards covered topics like Traffic, Trees, Sewers, Seniors, Health, Arts and Culture, and Youth. Each topic station had a staff facilitator.

As the west shore rapidly grows with new housing coming on-stream fairly steadily, it’s an opportunity for municipal leadership to create a custom landscape of community services.

Who was there:

Four of the six Colwood councillors for 2022-2026 are new to elected politics: David Grove, Kim Jordison, Misty Olsen and Ian Ward. For them it was pretty much a first casual opportunity to engage with the public directly with specific discussion points made easy.

Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi mingled for the full five-hour event (2 to 7 pm). Long-time councillor Cynthia Day also attended. Councillor Dean Jantzen may have also attended.

doug kobayashi, marie terese little
Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi and Metchosin Mayor Marie-Térèse Little at the Colwood Big Ideas drop-in event, Feb 11, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Island Social Trends editor Mary P Brooke attended for over two hours at the event, capturing the mood, chatting with community leaders, and getting a few photos.

Among the crowd that sometimes surpassed 80 people at any given time were community leaders like Carol Brown of the CENIC environmental group, Judith Cullington of the Juan de Fuca Performing Arts Society, and social supports contractor Cindy Andrew who contributes to healthy communities initiatives in the west shore.

Metchosin’s new mayor Marie-Térèse Little was there, indicating some cross-municipal interest in her chat with Colwood Mayor Kobayashi.

Top Colwood staffer CAO Robert Earl attended. Colwood Fire Chief Bryan Erwin attended.

Some former and now retired Colwood elected officials attended including Michael Baxter and Gordie Logan.

SD62 Trustee Cendra Beaton attended.

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Some key topics of the day:

Urban forests:

Urban forests include trees and vegetation on private and public property, as well as the soils that sustain them. Benefits are environmental, social and economic as well as climate resilience.

The Colwood urban forest strategy starts with data collection and analysis, followed by engagement and a draft strategy.


What one improvement would make the most positive impact to address traffic in Colwood? Options included more RCMP enforcement, expanded roads, and cycling lanes.

traffic, colwood
Big Ideas fair info board about dealing with traffic issues in Colwood, Feb 11, 2023. [Island Social Trends]

Sewer strategy:

The focus on sewers at Saturday’s event asked participants as to which factor was most important when considering expansion of the sanitary sewer system: information, revenue possibilities, equity, affordability, environment.


“Knowing that health care delivery is the responsibility of the province, what is the one most important step the City could take to support health:

colwood, health, apples
The Health section at the Feb 11 Colwood ideas fair was accompanied by a large bowl of fresh apples. [Island Social Trends]
  • zoning to enable the construction of health care facilities
  • financial incentives for construction of health facilities
  • housing for health care providers
  • promote citizen health by investing in parks and recreation
  • promote citien health by investing in active transportation
  • support cooperation between service providers

The Health section was accompanied by a large bowl of fresh apples.

The Arts:

A range of options about the arts included: placemaking, performances, events, concerts, street art, Indigenous art, murals, art shows, craft markets, sculptural art, lessons, gardens.

Residents were given the opportunity to offer to be part of a committee, task force, workshop or open house.

The youth focus:

Youth: housing options, opportunities for social connection, indoor and outdoor physical activity opportunities, access to health and mental health supports, being involved in community decisions, local job opportunities, convenient transportation, local post-secondary education options.

youth, colwood
Ideas for and about youth in Colwood.


A broad question posed to participants on the info boards about seniors was ‘what makes Colwood a desirable place for seniors to live?’

Points for comment included: housing, social connection, physical activity, health-care, involvement in decision-making, safe accessible spaces to walk, transportation.

Convo and music:

For the earlier part of the event, the room was abuzz with the level of conversation that organizers had hoped for. Shifting the tone around 5 pm, a four-guy local youth band entertained on stage.

music, band, royal bay
Youth band entertainment for Big Ideas participants, Feb 11, 2023 in the Royal Bay Secondary commons. [Island Social Trends]

Coffee and snacks were provided.

Also a survey:

Leading up to the event the city said the event was to focus on listening to residents as a way to understand citizen wants, needs and expectations as they make decisions about their community.

The February 11 event was held in addition to a 2023 Resident Satisfaction Survey. For that, residents will have received a postcard by postal mail with a unique survey link.

colwood, council, mayor, 2022
City of Colwood Council 2022-2026 (from left): Mindy Olsen, Kim Jordison, Ian Ward Mayor Doug Kobayashi, Cynthia Day, David Grove, Dean Jantzen. [City of Colwood]


mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends emerged in mid-2020 from a preceding series of publications by founder/editor Mary P Brooke and published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc, covering news of the Vancouver Island region, BC and national issues through a socioeconomic lens.

The publication series began with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then morphed to a weekly print newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and then into the weekly PDF/print West Shore Voice News (2014-2020). The news at IslandSocialTrends.ca (2020 to present) is entirely online.

Ms Brooke has covered the news of the west shore since 2008, with insight about the impacts of population growth on the development and directions of communities. News of Langford, Colwood, Sooke, View Royal and Metchosin has been covered over the years.