Sunday November 14, 2021 | COLWOOD, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
A combination of something to do outside the house during this second year of COVID as well being something new about the community itself, the outdoor display about the next phase of Royal Bay development in Colwood drew a sizable crowd.
Over two hours on that cool Saturday morning October 16, about 200 people showed up from the nearby area.
Almost entirely locals, of a wide range of ages — many walking their kids and dogs to the event held under an open but heated tent behind the Sequoia Cafe at 365 Latoria — they came to the ‘Learn What’s Happening Next in Royal Bay’ event to find out more.
A buzz in the air:
“It’s like a new club. They’re all arriving together in the community at its starting point,” said event organizer Katie Hamilton about the sense of camaraderie that day. It certainly was evidence of the flavour of Living at Royal Bay.
People naturally queued up to browse through the poster board displays about the homes, parks, pathways and road improvements coming in the next phase of the development. Most wore masks (re COVID protocols) at that close proximity to each other.
At the event there were refreshments (coffee and muffins) and even some LEGO blocks for kids to play with. People were careful about adhering to COVID protocols, taking their time meandering along the displays and chatting in small groups. Things being outdoors, some people weren’t wearing masks, but many people did, especially if in conversation. This was prior to the latest public health order to wear masks in all public spaces.
Ben Mycroft, Senior Development Manager, Gablecraft Homes seemed pleased with the turnout, saying people were curious about the new development. He chatted with people in small groups. The preferred builder at Royal Bay is Gablecraft Homes.
What’s coming to Royal Bay:
Royal Bay is a master-planned community situated steps away from the shoreline at Royal Beach which has a 1.3 km waterfront. Promoted as a family-oriented community, there is a range of diverse housing options including 2,100 townhomes in phases 1 and 2.
Royal Bay aims to protect environmental and natural features. There is a stated goal to protect key view corridors from public spaces, with a commitment to sustainability with plans to support green transportation choices and mode shares. Parking areas will also be designed to support sustainable stormwater management and infiltration.
South Latoria development phase:
The Quarry area is bound by Latoria Boulevard to the north, Latoria Creek Park to the west, Metchosin Road to the south and a new collector road on Ryder Hesjedal Way to the east.
There will be a grocery store, neighbourhood stores and services (including coffee shop, restaurant and pharmacy), another SD62 elementary school, a child care facility, a seniors long-term care facility, and the Royal BC Museum Collections and Research Facility.
- The 37,000 sq ft Quality Foods grocery store and the 76,000 sq ft Commons at Royal Bay retail village which includes a Cascadia Liqour Store will offer daily services to Colwood, Metchosin and surrounding communities, it was stated by the developer. All of that is set to open in 2023.
- The new SD62 elementary school has been long on the planning board, as part of keeping up with robust population growth on the west shore.
- The relocation of the main public components of the Royal BC Museum from downtown to Colwood in the west shore was first announced on September 18, 2020. Design and construction bidding was announced by the BC Government on October 26, 2021. The 14,000-square-metre, state-of-the-art building is part of a modernization effort to protect collections and archives and make them more accessible to the public. Built in 1967 for an audience of 100,000 people, the original museum building on Belleville Street in downtown Victoria no longer has the capacity to safely store the seven million objects in its collections or the B.C. archives. Government expects to break ground on the new building in summer 2022, aiming to complete the project in 2025.
- There will be about 17 acres of parkland called Quarry Park including a playground, basketball courts, at least two outdoor sports fields and parking.
Additional employment/commercial lands are being reserved for non-residential uses that would provide employment opportunities or institutional space.
Who was there:
City of Colwood elected officials made a casual appearance. Mingling in the crowd for a bit was City of Colwood Councillor Dean Jantzen, and showing up toward the end, en route to other meetings, were Colwood Mayor Rob Martin and city councillors Gordie Logan and Stewart Parkinson.
On hand to chat with people was the regional operations manager of Cascadia Liquor Stores, Jeremy Pott, who is pleased that Cascadia will be bringing its sixth store (at Royal Bay) to the Greater Victoria area. He mentioned about many retail sectors dealing with staff shortages, and how Cascadia will add to employment opportunities in the Colwood area once the new store is open in 2023.
Visitors to the event last month were given an opportunity for public input.
The questionnaire sought to know what people’s favourite aspect of the development was, if they had any concerns about the 18 to 24-month development phase (with an invitation to receive current updates about construction, retail, parks and trails, and new aspects of development), and their thoughts on the large Quarry Park as an active recreation park given that many young families are expected to come to the region.
A singular question requested input on wireless cell service in the Royal Bay area, asking if it should be improved. Improving cell service would require the installation of more cell towers in the area.
===== About the writer:
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been writing locally about the news and dynamics of the various west shore communities since 2008.
The first publication was MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), which morphed into the weekly print/PDF newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), then the print and digital West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), and now Island Social Trends as a fully online news portal since summer 2020.
Her unique approach to writing about communities includes attending events both large and small, and interviewing community leaders along the way.
High school students who live in the west shore areas (Langford, Colwood, Sooke) are invited to submit articles to Island Social Trends, to help build their writing portfolios.
The Island Social Trends Journalism Scholarship is offered in the SD62 school district to one or more graduating students who aim to seek a career in journalism.