Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor saw residents and businesses support one another and various governments and volunteer organizations work together during a challenging 2021. (Courtesy Ryan Windsor)

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor saw residents and businesses support one another and various governments and volunteer organizations work together during a challenging 2021. (Courtesy Ryan Windsor)

Mayor’s message: A look back to 2021 in Central Saanich

Community and municipality made the most out of a challenging year, Ryan Windsor says

Looking back on 2021, we can see that even in challenging times, we made great progress as a community.

Central Saanich faced adversity alongside others in the province and the world as we dealt with the pandemic and extreme weather events. Throughout it all, I heard stories of how residents and businesses looked for ways to support one another and saw how various governments and volunteer organizations worked together.

Perhaps it was best that it was during these times the District’s official community plan was reviewed. The plan is being updated to better reflect current challenges and opportunities – and this year brought us many examples. I know our staff are looking forward to sharing the draft with the community in February and then presenting it to council.

Central Saanich is lucky to be home to more than 40 parks and an incredible array of outdoor activities, whether on water or land.

This year brought focus on supporting outdoor recreation and park use. We saw record use of our racquet courts, and with an eye on needing more multi-use facilities, we applied for a major grant to replace the Centennial Park lacrosse box. The facility is at the end of its life and we hope to replace it with a covered multi-sport box – we will hear about the grant application in early 2022.

After asking our youngest residents to vote on a playground design, I was thrilled to unveil a playground at Tanner Park this summer. In Brentwood, council approved public land be used as a community garden; and the community was invited to seed giveaway and tree-planting events.

We hope these outdoor activities add to our residents’ quality of life.

Current and future generations are counting on us to address climate adaptation and mitigation. Central Saanich is a climate leader – our council is continually looking for ways to take climate action.

I am happy to say we are among the first local governments in the country to launch a zero-per-cent financing program for homeowners currently heating with oil to make the switch to a heat pump. Council also adopted a new Tree Management Bylaw to protect our tree canopy. Transportation is our biggest source of emissions and we are grateful to be receiving $500from the province toward crosswalk and sidewalk improvements to school zones to help people use active transportation. In addition, we are installing more bus shelters and a new trail on Benvenuto.

In 2022, we are looking forward to construction on the Keating flyover commencing. Central Saanich’s Community Economic Recovery Taskforce is looking at strategies to support and strengthen our businesses and wider community. We are also looking forward to participating in the CRD’s Saanich Peninsula Harbours and Waterways Initiative and focusing on a healthy environment.

Towards the end of the year, we will launch a Parks Master Plan process; it has been 25 years since Central Saanich adopted our last parks plan, and we look forward to focusing on our parks and recreation.

I’d like to thank our residents, businesses, staff and Central Saanich council for their tireless efforts this year to make improvements to the community during challenging circumstances. On behalf of council and staff, we wish you a happy and healthy new year.

Ryan Windsor is the mayor of Central Saanich.

2021 Year in Review