Friday May 28, 2021 | ESQUIMALT, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins gives updates from time to time via Zoom on what the restart means for the Township of Esquimalt, summer events, construction projects and more.
She takes questions ahead of time or via chat live during the event.
Today she started by remarking on the sad news about the bodies of children found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, as everyone in BC comes to terms with the magnitude of issues around this.
In a chipper cheerful tone, Mayor Desjardins ran through a number of recreational opportunities in the Township of Esquimalt over the coming weeks and months, as well as summer events, all the while reminding people to follow public health protocols through the various steps of BC restart as the COVID pandemic is expected to be fully managed by vaccination. All events are run by volunteers.
She got into Township business, including that the 2021 property taxes are going up 1.6% which she says is among the lowest of the tax increases among the core municipalities of Greater Victoria. She reminds residents that 39% of the funds collected goes to third-party agencies (the funds don’t stay in Esquimalt), including CRD, the SD61 school district, and BC Transit. She also reminds residents to apply for the Home Owner Grant through the provincial government *before* coming into the Esquimalt municipal office to pay.
Esquimalt’s mayor is accepting input on how residents can better receive important current information. She notes there is already use of social media, mainstream news media, postings on the Esquimalt website, and the municipality’s own newsletter.
Capital projects include the Gorge Park Pavilion which is expected to be ready in early 2022. The Public Safety Building project allows for expansion for the police and fire departments and some township services, as well as providing valuable commercial space on Esquimalt Road, CRD offices, a dedicated Emergency Operations Centre as well as other space for public use. The current building will be demolished and rebuilt. During that process, the first floor of town hall will house the temporary police station, while the fire department will be moved to the Archie Browning parking lot.
Developers invited to get to know Esquimalt:
Today Mayor Desjardins said that “developers need to understand and be a part of this community and be a part of this community — this is important to us”. She invites developers to take time to get to know people and what the community is about.
Trees should be maintained as much as possible, she pleaded. Incorporating heritage into a project is encouraged. “Don’t put us in a position where we have to choose. Heritage is an important part of our community.”
“We would love you to sponsor our events and social services,” says Desjardins. That would be a good way to get to know the community by being a part of the events continuing to happen.
There are no development cost charges (DCCs) in Esquimalt, because the municipality is “already built out”.
Businesses are also welcome in town. Some new commercial space is opening at Head Street. Doctors and para-medical people are encouraged to consider Esquimalt; in fact, until the new provincial Urgent Primary Care Centre is opens in Esquimalt there will already be doctors operating out of the new office building on Head Street, said Desjardins today.
Council meetings and summer break:
Council is taking a summer break during July 19 to August 13. But ahead of that, Desjardins is pleased that partial-council will be in attendance at the June 14 meeting, and that all of council will be able to return for the June 21 meeting due to plexiglass barriers being in place.
Mayor Desjardins is a former chair of the Capital Regional District (CRD) and currently chairs the CRD Environmental Services Committee.