Monday, February 1, 2010

The Future of Colwood

Colwood is a community on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This morning we had Mayor Dave Saunders & Councilor Judith Cullington come in and talk to us about the community and where it stands now, and where it is going. It is a community where most of the people in our cohort at Royal Roads University live. Colwood consist of about 15,000 people which are primarily residents, consisting of around 6,000 homes. Colwood is a growing community that is estimated to reach a population of 32,000 people by 2028. The community of Colwood inhabits lots of endangered species such as the Garry Oak tree, which is one of the biggest endangered species in North America and the sharp tailed snake. There are many historical sites that reside in Colwood such as Fort Rod Hill, Fisgard lighthouse, and Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University. Colwood is home to the Esquimalt and songhees first nations. The municipality in Colwood relies on three main components before decisions can be finalized. The three crucial levels that ideas have to go through before they are pass are the community, administrative staff, and the mayor and councilors. The future vision of the municipality of Colwood is to be energy positive, carbon neutral, water smart, and a green learning city. This is the first I have ever heard about green learning and it intrigued me, Robert Bateman a famous artist has donated many of his paintings to Royal Roads University. A Robert Bateman centre is going to be build on the campus and will be a living building for a greener place. Robert Bateman thinks that by building this center that in his eyes it will help change one student’s way of thinking at a time. The mayor of Colwood took that saying into consideration and went one step higher and wants to change once city at a time. A green learning city for RRU learners would be great as we would have real life classrooms. Visitors from around the region and around the world could come and see demonstrations of new technologies. Businesses are encouraged to setup demonstrations of innovative technologies and this would help provide jobs for residence and support local businesses. The municipality of Colwood has many projects underway towards a transition town or a more sustainable community. The mayor stated this morning that over the last 2 years there has been a substantial change throughout the town of Colwood and it is only getting better. Recently the community of Colwood purchased a smaller truck that runs on only electricity and has replaced one of their regular trucks. They are hoping that they can replace the whole fleet of regular trucks with the electric ones. Colwood knows where they want to be and to get to this destination they are going to or already have implemented a smart growth with mixed uses in high density nodes in several places in the city, supporting transit services, recovering resources from wasters, fiber optics throughout the community and a Colwood community place. Colwood has an award winning Overall Community Plan (OCP). The next step in the transition of Colwood is to attract new businesses such as an eco-village where local foods, art, and culture can be displayed as people live in a living area that feels like a resort or vacation destination. The Royal Bay area is a huge potential place for a good development area for eco friendly establishments like this and Colwood would also like to implement a high tech business park to try to keep the people that live in Colwood staying in Colwood and working from their homes instead of commuting into Victoria everyday for their jobs. I believe that all of these changes and programs that the community of Colwood is implementing and promoting is a good start to a better transition for the community.

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