Mayor's Year in Review

2020


Mayor’s Year in Review 2020

The great challenges we faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, were matched by significant efforts and strides by council and staff around a range of projects, programs and initiatives. I am pleased to highlight some of these here, through the lens of the Town’s strategic priorities.

With the arrival of COVID-19, urgent responses were needed to support the Town’s business community and drive economic development measures to assist in the recovery and resilience of the economy. This included the implementation and extension of a Temporary Patio and Parklet Program, to enable Comox food and beverage businesses to expand the footprint of their businesses outdoors, to counter the reduced seating capacity requirements inside their businesses. Further, the Town participated in the Economic Recovery Task Force, which resulted in a number of COVID-19 response initiatives including the submission of two critical Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program grants for the construction of additional parking areas at the Comox Valley Airport and the construction of a Marina Service Building at the Comox Marina, part of the next phase of improvements in the park and harbour.

To support the health and well-being of our residents during this difficult time, the Town drove to safely reopen the Comox Community Centre after it had to close in March, through a methodical, phased approach, lead by provincial safety guidelines. The Centre also launched the ActiveNet registration software program to provide an improved user experience for those that register for a range of programs online.

On the community development and planning front, I am pleased to see the movement towards a number of housing developments that will provide over 300 new housing units for residents including rentals, single family to multi-family options, and affordable seniors housing. Two excellent examples include the seniors housing project that was approved on 1782 Balmoral Avenue that will see 55 unit apartment building constructed to help meet critical shortages in affordable seniors housing. In collaboration with the developer and the Comox Valley Children’s Day Care Society the project at 695 Aspen Road will not only help deliver a number of multi-family rental units, but will also feature a new non-profit daycare centre for 28 children. We will also host a North East Comox Stormwater Management Plan Open House later this month, to garner feedback on Councils preferred solution for stormwater management in this area, to enable development applications to commence in 2021, which is expected to spur new tax revenue, new housing options, in addition to the creation of new jobs.

Relative to our climate change and environmental priorities, the Town installed new Electric Vehicle charging stations at the Fire Hall and at Town Hall, and partnered with the Comox Centre Mall to install two charging stations on-site. In collaboration with other Island municipalities, the Town secured funding for another EV station to be installed in 2021. Council also updated the Building Bylaw to include the BC Energy Step Code, which requires energy efficiency in new construction in the Town, ahead of the Province’s schedule.

I want to recognize the great work of Town staff, now under the leadership of our new Chief Administrative Officer, Jordan Wall, for their resilience and adaptive approach throughout this unprecedented time, and also extend my thanks and appreciation to Council for their efforts.

There are many more initiatives and projects coming in 2021. I encourage all residents to continue to engage with the Town by viewing council proceedings via our new YouTube channel, submitting questions to council, participating in the COVID-19 adapted Open Houses and Public Hearings we continue to hold, and following the various activities and initiatives of the Town on our website, Facebook and Twitter channels, as a way to stay connected.