Posted by: Editor | November 20, 2011

Esquimalt Election Results

2011 Esquimalt Municipal Election Results

Meet the new Esquimalt Council (from left to right): Meagan Brame, Lynda Hundleby, Tim Morrison, Dave Hodgins, Bob McKie, and David Schinbein (not pictured) at Esquimalt Municipal Hall on Election Night. November 19, 2011.

Thank you to all the Esquimalt residents that voted in the November 19th municipal election. Many of you have emailed me to ask for the results, so here they are:

Election Results: November 19, 2011

The following are the results for the General Local Election held on November 19, 2011.

Number of Votes Cast: 2,300. Estimated Eligible Voters: 12,782 (Approx. 18% turnout)

OFFICE OF COUNCILLOR – ELECTED

1. Morrison, Tim (1,655 votes): 72%

2. Brame, Meagan – Incumbent (1,631 votes): 71%

3. McKie, Bob (1,594 votes): 69%

4. Hundleby, Lynda – Incumbent (1,570 votes): 68%

5. Hodgins, Dave (1,415 votes): 62%

6. Schinbein, David (940 votes): 41%

REMAINING CANDIDATES

7. Dixon, Sandra (819 votes): 36%

8. Steffler, Josh (800 votes): 35%

REFERENDUM QUESTION:

Are you in favour of the Township of Esquimalt adopting amendments to Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 2646 and Zoning Bylaw No. 2050 that would facilitate development of Phase One of the Esquimalt Village Plan which would include a mix of residential, commercial and civic uses in two buildings, one of which may be up to 12 storeys in height, on the site of the old municipal hall and old public works yard?

YES (1,510) : 66%

NO (690): 30%

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Posted by: Editor | September 14, 2011

From Keyboard to Candidate

From Keyboard to Candidate

– An open letter to Esquimalt residents

By Tim Morrison

Dear neighbours,

As Esquimalt grows closer to its 100th birthday centennial celebrations, it is fitting that today marks my 100thblog post for EsquimaltReview.com. It was almost exactly two years ago that Esquimalt Review was first launched.  It has been an amazing journey. I feel very fortunate to have gotten to know so many wonderful people within our community and to help share their stories through a variety of Esquimalt Review articles, profiles, and event coverage. It has been very enlightening, engaging and reassuring to learn so much about our place and our people. 

Tim Morrison: From Keyboard to Candidate

Life is about transitions and about taking on new challenges. I have decided that this will be my final Esquimalt Review blog post. I am going from keyboard to candidate. I am seeking a seat on Esquimalt Council in this fall’s upcoming municipal elections.

As residents of Esquimalt, we choose to live here because we value our community, our people, and our place. We are all fortunate to live in this ‘place of the shoaling waters’, a cherished setting that we call our home. We are one family related by our residence. We care deeply for each other and how our community is governed. We want to ensure our community is carefully managed. We want a positive vision that respects our tradition and embraces our future.

While I will no longer be publishing further editions of Esquimalt Review, I believe there will be a need for our municipality’s new council to greatly improve communications with the community. If I am entrusted by Esquimalt voters and successful in becoming a councillor, then my main focus will be to keep the community connected, informed, and involved through a renewed version of EsquimaltReview.com. It will be a councillor’s communication with community.  In the meantime, please accept this final edition with many new posts and articles below for you to enjoy.

If you would like to learn more about my candidacy, please check out my new website at www.TimMorrison.ca

Let’s move forward together,

Tim Morrison
Editor, EsquimaltReview.com

New website: www.TimMorrison.ca

Posted by: Editor | September 13, 2011

Let the People Decide

Let the People Decide

-Esquimalt’s future direction becomes an exercise in democracy

By Tim Morrison 

If you have wandered by Municipal Hall lately, you will have likely noticed that something is missing. Over the summer, our community’s old town hall was torn down. In its place, there is now a blank slate. The demolition was not without controversy. Local residents rallied a last-ditch effort to preserve the 82-year old building as heritage status. In the end, however, Esquimalt Council voted to do away with the structure that has mostly sat empty and neglected since opening our new Municipal Hall in 2003.

Esquimalt’s Village Core Plan envisions the site being replaced by residential-commercial buildings as part of a major revamping to our town square surrounding Municipal Hall and the library. Part of that plan calls for a residential building up to 12 storeys on a portion of the land.

The question before us as a community: Is this a positive or negative change for Esquimalt? Is this good for our community or not? Some in the community plead for the need to preserve the charm of our “small town” identity while others equally champion the benefits of a “revitalized” community. Essentially, that is the sentiment of a major but non-binding referendum question being posed to all Esquimalt residents in this fall’s upcoming municipal elections.

The exact referendum question will be as follows:

Are you in favour of the Township of Esquimalt adopting amendments to Official Community Plan Bylaw no. 2646 and Zoning Bylaw no. 2050 that would facilitate development of Phase One of the Esquimalt Village Plan which would include a mix of residential, commercial and civic uses in two buildings, one of which may be up to 12 storeys in height, on the site of the old municipal hall and old public works yard?  YES or NO.

As responsible residents, we share an obligation to study the plan carefully, discuss it amongst ourselves in an open exchange of views, and decide democratically the best direction forward. Regardless of the direction chosen, it is important that we commit to move forward together, united as a community in either preserving our present or embracing our future. We all want what is best for our community and we all respect the democratic process. We have managed to get along with each other for an entire century and we will do the same for the next 100 years and beyond.

To learn more about the Esquimalt Village Project and to decide for yourself whether or not this is something you support, you can read the plan at this link: http://www.esquimalt.ca/municipalHall/esquimaltVillageProject

Posted by: Editor | September 12, 2011

Shining a Light on Esquimalt

These are the People in Your Neighbourhood

Eleanor Calder: Shining a Light on Esquimalt

– By Tim Morrison

With our CFB Naval Base, Esquimalt is used to welcoming new residents from every province. But the navy is certainly not the only reason why people move here. The fact is that we provide a great place to live. Esquimalt is a community sought-out from people all over Canada. One such person is Rock Heights-area resident Eleanor Calder. Eleanor and her husband moved to Esquimalt six years ago from Saskatchewan.

When asked why she chose to live in Esquimalt, Eleanor says it is because “the ocean is here, the parks are here, the Gary Oaks are here, and the Rec Centre is accessible to everyone.” She knew she arrived in the perfect place because, as she describes Esquimalt, “it is a great size where you can get to meet your neighbours who become your friends. It has it ALL- Accessible, Liveable, Linkage to Nature.”

Esquimalt is a place where people look out for each other. Eleanor fits in well, having dedicated her life to helping others in the health care sector through several avenues of nursing. These days, she works as a nursing instructor at the University of Victoria.

Eleanor Calder living healthy in Esquimalt

But, most of her time is spent as a community volunteer and promoting healthy living. Her motto is simple: “saying YES to life!”

“The key words are ‘get involved’, it takes everyone to make our community safer, friendlier, better, and the BEST place to live,” says Calder. “Get going to keep going-such as with walking and running clinics.  Exercise is the best medicine anyone in Esquimalt can choose to keep our community going!”

Eleanor’s inclusive approach to life has led her to become the Chair of Esquimalt’s Access Awareness Committee, which:
• raises the awareness of Council and the municipality about providing access to transportation, housing, recreation, employment, and education
• provides an avenue for public input about accessibility within the municipality
• identifies barriers to providing accessible services and facilities
• recommends strategies for improving access for all people
 
Her many other hobbies and activities include gardening, playing bridge, staying fit by running and walking with the Esquimalt Breakers, helping to beautify Esquimalt through Esquimalt Together Against Graffiti (ETAG), and promoting community awareness as a director of the Esquimalt Residents Association.

But what Eleanor is currently most excited about is her involvement with the annual Esquimalt Lantern Festival.

Eleanor marching in annual Lantern Festival

“In 2009, I responded to a request to be a volunteer to assist in re-lighting the Lantern Festival,” recalls Eleanor. “Around the same time, I attended a workshop that focused on how to get community members interested and involved with their community. The solution was simple, have some fun together. So, the Lantern Festival is the event where the community has fun by participating in a lantern parade along the West Bay Walkway and with the entertainment at Captain Jacobson Park.  It is all free, family friendly and FUN.  The volunteers I continue to meet during the planning of this event inspire me with their talents at organizing, networking, and just doing what it takes to organize a successful event.”
 
The Esquimalt Lantern Festival will be on Saturday, September 24th from 6pm-10pm

“We are seeking volunteers,” says Eleanor. “There are lots of great ways you could help out from lantern building to assisting with the set up on event day.”

Join Eleanor Calder in doing your part in the brightening up fun, volunteerism, and the celebration of community spirit by taking part in Esquimalt’s annual Lantern Festival.

For more information, please e-mail the Esquimalt Lantern Festival organizers at esquimaltlanternfestival@gmail.com or check out their website at www.esquimaltlanternfestival.wordpress.com

Posted by: Editor | September 11, 2011

A New ERA for Esquimalt

A New ERA for Esquimalt

– the story of the Esquimalt Residents Association (ERA)

By Tim Morrison with files from Eleanor Calder

Being a relatively small municipality, Esquimalt has always had a very active, involved, and engaged community. One aspect, however, that has been challenging to maintain is a formal connection of the community. Over our 100 year history, there have been various reincarnations of united citizen-based community associations, sometimes called Ratepayer Associations and sometimes divided up by Esquimalt’s various neighbourhoods such as the once-mighty but now long-defunct Saxe Point Residents Association. These groups have come and gone like the ships in our harbour.

Since 2007, however, the Esquimalt Residents Association (commonly known as “ERA”) has beaten the odds. With a registered membership of nearly 600 households from all neighbourhoods of Esquimalt, ERA continues to grow stronger and more effective each year.

ERA’s founding President Beth Burton-Krahn recalls how it all began.

“There was a gap in engaging the community in talking about problems or concerns that impacted them,” says Burton-Krahn. “The community was not connected and this was accentuated with the combining of Esquimalt News and Victoria News to one community paper.”

Then, something really terrible happened. In April, 2007, Esquimalt Council had voted to close the Archie Browning Centre. Burton-Krahn got together with a local young mother and soon-to-be political star, Ali Gaul, and many other community volunteers to form the Friends of Archie Browning Centre.

“There was a decision made to bulldoze a public building without any public input,” recalls Burton-Krahn. “This was public land and this was a facility that was used by the region. There was an epidemic of rising childhood obesity and in Esquimalt a sports facility used by children was going to be closed.  This sense of arrogance and lack of respect for what this arena meant for the people of Esquimalt prompted me to speak out in public for the first time in the many years that I have lived in Esquimalt.”

The grassroots group had achieved a victory with Esquimalt Council quickly reversing its decision on Archie Browning. The cherished arena had been saved and this month, we honoured its 50th anniversary with many residents of all ages joining in the celebrations.

Archie Browning Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Burton-Krahn and Gaul realized a strong formal community link would need to be maintained in order to ensure a better connection between our Municipal Council’s actions and our community’s awareness. Hence, ERA was founded. The two women combined their networks of school parent advisory councils, grassroots community clubs, sports and recreation groups, etc to recruit others and membership quickly sky-rocketed. A group of community leaders was elected to its inaugural Board of Directors and ERA was officially registered as a society.

Like a proud mother that gave birth to ERA, Beth has seen the grassroots organization develop tremendously over the years with many successes attributing to that growth. An e-newsletter was created that eventually morphed into EsquimaltReview.com. This was designed to promote increased awareness and participation in community issues and events.

In January 2008, the Capital Regional District’s sewage treatment plans were being discussed.  ERA decided to sponsor its first community forum held in March, 2008. 

“This educational event provided the community a chance to hear from scientists and environmentalists, assisting them in understanding how the CRD decision-making would impact the community,” says Burton-Krahn.   

ERA went on to co-sponsor a lively all-candidates meeting in the last municipal election, advocated for better community planning and consultations, better municipal budgeting, better policing, better public transit, and better respect for Esquimalt from the CRD and its attempts to force a short-sighted regional sewage treatment plant upon the people of Esquimalt. These are just but a few of the examples of how ERA has made a difference while still maintaining its non-partisanship and staying neutral and objective on issues.  

“Listening and providing information and education to our community, staying at arm’s length from City Council and developers is the goal to staying relevant and representing ERA’s objectives,” says Burton-Krahn.  

After ERA was replenished with new blood and renewed energy in 2010, Beth stepped down as President but remained as a member of the Board of Directors. She led an extensive revision of ERA’s constitution to create a more inclusive, shared, non-hierarchal format of co-leadership.  Beth will be stepping away from ERA’s Executive Board this month to free up time for her many other community volunteer pursuits.

“ERA is a place for every voice; a place where every voice can be heard; a place where every person can make their voice heard safely and freely,” says Burton-Krahn in her departing words of wisdom.

 September 27th, 2011 marks the fourth anniversary of the exact date when ERA was formally founded. This will also be the date of our 2011 Annual General Meeting. The ERA AGM takes place on Tuesday, September 27th from 7pm – 9pm; fittingly, the venue for the AGM will be the Archie Browning Sports Centre (upstairs lounge) and the guest speaker will be Councillor Ali Gaul. Everyone is welcome! This will be a great opportunity to meet your neighbours, take part in an open forum on community issues, and consider joining ERA’s Board of Directors. Together, we are and will continue to make a difference!

Facebook user? Join Esquimalt Residents Association on Facebook by clicking here: ERA Facebook Page

Posted by: Editor | September 8, 2011

Music to our Years

Music to our Years

-Esquimalt goes “high brow” with classical concert series in commemoration of our 100 years of history

By Tim Morrison

Starting this month, Esquimalt will become a little more refined as local residents are treated to an eight month long concert series as a tribute to Esquimalt’s centennial.  The proud sponsor and host is St. Paul’s Historic Naval & Garrison Church in the Parish of St. Peter & St. Paul at 1379 Esquimalt Road.

St. Paul's Historic Naval & Garrison Church in Esquimalt

The local Anglican Church is busier than ever, having recently absorbed five other Greater Victoria parishes as part of a regional consolidation. Regardless of its present-day “super-sized” status, its most valued asset will always be its rich stretch of history, an existence that long predates Esquimalt Township.

According to its official records:

“The first services in St. Paul’s church were held by Royal Naval Chaplains at the medical station set up in Esquimalt during the Crimean War (1854-1856). With the building of the village school in 1858, the small congregation held Sunday services there. But all wanted their own church, and by the grace of God and the hard work of Paymaster Sparks and others, the church was built on the shores of Esquimalt harbour just below Signal hill. The church was consecrated on December 12, 1866 and was called St. Paul’s Naval Church. The Parish served naval and army families as well as all who lived in the district up to the Point Ellis Bridge, the Gorge and Craigflower Roads, the Highlands, the Goldstream district, Colwood, Metchosin, Rocky Point, East and West Sooke and Otter Point. In 1899, the first electric lights were installed at the cost of $46.00. In 1904, the Government of Canada decided that the property on which the church stood was needed for other purposes, so the church was dismantled and moved to its present location. Up to 1910, all the seats in the church were rented for $5.00 a year. When in 1911 this was terminated, the congregation had difficulty paying its Rector and maintaining the Church House and Church. The Church House, the former Gillespie home, was acquired in 1904. It served as home for the Rector, the Sunday School, meetings and social events. In World War 1 it was taken over by the army and served as a dormitory for enlisted men. The Present Parish Hall was built in 1957. In 1911, the name of the church was changed to St. Paul’s Naval and Garrison Church. This was but one of many names. It has been called, the Admiralty Church, the Esquimalt Church, the Esquimalt Episcopal Church, and the Naval and Garrison Church.”

A year later in 1912, the Township of Esquimalt was officially incorporated, and ever since, the two have shared 100 years of community history.

Hence, the Church wanted to do something special for Esquimalt in honour of that century-long relationship.

“I created the concert series as the next step in establishing the St. Paul’s Historic Naval and Garrison Church as Esquimalt’s performing arts center/venue for metropolitan Victoria’s smaller ensembles,” says Music Director Tristan Rhodes. “The performing ensembles were chosen for their quality, reputation and uniqueness.”

“Where else could a person hear music for violin and organ, two violin playing sopranos (note the uniqueness of this duo is that each plays violin and each is a soprano soloist), sea chanties, Renaissance band music, concertos for two organs composed for the Infante of Spain, cutting edge contemporary choral music and early Baroque treasures?” asks Rhodes. “We are thrilled that Esquimalt has adopted the series as their 100th anniversary concert series.”

“When I first moved to Esquimalt four years ago, my neighbour Ruth D’Hollander invited me to an organ recital at the Garrison Church – St. Paul’s,” recalls musician Gwen Thompson.  “Listening to the organ while reading about the history of both the church and the instrument inspired me to want to do something for my new community in my way; playing the violin, to raise money to help restore and refurbish this heritage instrument.”

St. Paul’s heritage organ celebrates 100 years of performance.

The heritage-status organ that violinist Thompson refers to is especially significant due to sharing a common birthday with Esquimalt. This upcoming year, 2012, marks the organ’s hundredth year of performance with the local parish.

Tristan Rhodes and Gwen Thompson have been selected to kick-off the concert series this month on September 25th.

“Tristan agreed to partner with me and we will use this opportunity to showcase the sounds of this outstanding organ coupled with the violin,” explains Thompson.

The result will be some very fortunate Esquimalt residents among those of us that opt to be entertained throughout the concert series. Let the music begin!

The Esquimalt Centennial Concert series schedule for 2011 – 2012:

September 25, 2011  
Gwen Thompson, C.M., violin
Tristan Rhodes, organ
Music for violin and organ

October 30, 2011
Agnes Stieda & Kate Rhodes, sopranos and violinists 
Tristan Rhodes, organ
Works from the Baroque, Classic and Romantic periods

November 20, 2011  
“From Sea to Shining Sea”
Hector’s Friends, male vocal ensemble
Sarah Quatrel, director
Choral works to stir the soul & guide us on the journey home

January 29, 2012  
A Great Noyse, Renaissance Wind Band
Stacey Boal, recorder, cornamuse, drums
Bob Fraser, sackbut, crumhorn, recorder
Bill Jamiseson, cornett, shawm, small pipes
Cuyler Page, bass dulcian, recorder, drums 
Music from the 1400’s – 1500’s played on period instruments

February 26, 2012  
Dueling Organs, Music for the Infante of Spain
The Concertos for two organs, Antonio Soler
Tristan Rhodes, great organ
Jane Sutherland, positiv organ

March 25, 2012  
Vox Humana
Brian Wismath, director
Exploring sacred texts set by contemporary composers:
Hansson, Martin, Part, Sisask, & others
Featuring Plain Chants by Canadian Welsh composer John Metcalf

April 29, 2012  
Early Baroque
Marjorie Cullerne, Baroque violins, 
Jane Sutherland, continuo
Darren Smith, Lute,
Cuyler Page, Baroque recorders, Dulcian
Musical Gems of the 1600’s & early 1700’s

Details:

Note that all concerts are located at St. Paul’s Historic Naval & Garrison Church in the Parish of St. Peter & St. Paul, 1379 Esquimalt Road.

All concerts are held on Sundays at 3 pm. Doors open at 2:30 pm
The ticket cost for the Inaugural Concert is: Adults – $30, Students – Free
For all remaining concerts from October 30 to April 29, ticket costs will be reduced to: Adults $10, Students -Free. A best-value Series Pass is available for only $40.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling 250-598-1687 or emailing rrweb@shaw.ca .
A reception will follow each concert in the Parish Hall.
The proceeds to benefit the performing ensemble & The Friends of St. Paul’s organ restoration fund.

Posted by: Editor | September 6, 2011

Grappling with Graffiti

 Grappling with Graffiti

– Esquimalt is becoming a “graffiti-free zone”

By Tim Morrison

Esquimalt has an amazing naturally-beautiful setting. That’s why we choose to live here. But nature aside, we struggle with a not-so-natural, not-so-appealing sampling of eyesores around our fair township. One of the worst culprits: graffiti and the so-called “artists” (or taggers) that create it. 

As Esquimalt continues to improve itself, one dedicated group of residents have worked to stamp out all graffiti. This admirable group of volunteers is called ETAG (Esquimalt Together Against Graffiti) and has been led by the tireless efforts of local residents along with the partnership support of the Township of Esquimalt and the Victoria Police Department. The goal is “to keep graffiti under control by removing the ‘tags’ or ‘pieces’ from public and private buildings and walls without delay” in making Esquimalt a graffiti free zone.

Esquimalt resident Graham Jackson, Director of Victoria’s Youth with a Mission, is reliably known for organizing youth in helping out with ridding our community of all graffiti. This past summer, Jackson was hosting a group from Vallejo, California, and quickly put them in contact with ETAG.

Youth with a Mission volunteers help stamp out Esquimalt graffiti.

One of ETAG’s key leaders, Peter Justo, confesses that ETAG has been so diligent and successful that he actually had to search carefully to find them an area still in need of cleaning.

“There was a section of the warehouse walls along the trackside near Lampson Street that had recently been spray-painted by the usual vandals,” said Justo. “Local ETAG volunteers asked the business owners to supply the paint and…six eager young people got rid of the offending paint work in record time.”

Along with local businesses, youth are also a crucial partner in the war against graffiti.  As many culprits are likely to be youth, it is very reassuring to see other more positive youth helping to wipe it all away.

In many respects, ETAG is winning the battle but we have not yet one the war. It is an ongoing struggle and Esquimalt Councillor Meagan Brame says we need to do more by amending the municipality’s Maintenance of Property Bylaw to get tougher on graffiti.

“Volunteers have proven that immediate and constant removal deters taggers from continuing because their work is not left to be viewed,” says Brame. “This motion is looking at ways to keep the process against graffiti going in a positive and proactive manner…I am hoping it will offer education to businesses and residents about the benefits of keeping on top of graffiti.  We don’t want to penalize business or residents – we want to work with them and educate them on how to best deal with it.”

“Esquimalt has become nationally and internationally known for its great work with tagging,” adds Brame.

Indeed we have as evidenced by ETAG’s hosting of an international Anti-Graffiti Symposium in 2009.

Did you know? ETAG invites all Esquimalt residents to do their part by taking these three actions:

  • Report Graffiti to the ETAG Hotline: 250-414-7154
  • Remove: Keep your neighbourhood or business free of graffiti by wiping off or painting over tags on hydro poles, mailboxes, benches etc as soon as they appear. Support for removal may be available. Call the Hotline for more information.
  • Volunteer for ETAG: a very minimal weekly time commitment can make a huge difference in Graffiti management in our community. Learn how you can volunteer with ETAG by calling the hotline at 250-414-7154.

When people are made to feel unwelcome, dejected, and unappreciated, they are not likely to stick around. Hence, taggers can pack up their paint and get out of town! And, by the way, there will be nothing left behind to remember you by. That is an ETAG guarantee.

Posted by: Editor | September 4, 2011

Orchestras to Orchids

These are the People in Your Neighbourhood: Peter McCoppin

EsquimaltReview.com continues a featured series entitled “These are the People in Your Neighbourhood“. In this edition, the Esquimalt Review profiles Saxe Point resident Peter McCoppin, the former Music Director of the Victoria Symphony. If you would like to contribute a community profile about an individual, group, organization, or business in Esquimalt, please send your ideas to Tim Morrison at editor@esquimaltreview.com

Orchestras to Orchids

– Victoria Symphony’s former Maestro Peter McCoppin grows a garden in Esquimalt

By Tim Morrison 

Esquimalt's Peter McCoppin

Did you know that Esquimalt is home to one of Canada’s leading maestros? Saxe Point resident Peter McCoppin has spent over thirty years as an orchestral conductor on four continents, ten years of which were here at home as the Music Director of the Victoria Symphony.

McCoppin has lived and visited many places across the globe, but since 2005, Esquimalt has been his home and he is here to stay. He describes Esquimalt as “a hidden jewel, a special secret”.

Peter sees Esquimalt as the perfect community “close to the ocean and parks, wonderful community spirit, lovely people who love to live here… with great proximity to center of Victoria and a micro-climate where everything grows beautifully.”

Hence, Peter has more recently put away his music baton for a garden shovel. At his home on Munro Street, he has produced a masterpiece, an orchestral arrangement of flowers, plants, and creative landscaping.

Peter McCoppin's Garden on Munro Street

“I am using my garden as a model and teaching canvas for organic growing and creating a space to support and sustain a natural balance for birds, butterflies, bees, plants, and humans,” explains McCoppin. “I would like our residents to embrace the idea of creating gardens which support life altogether. To which extent, I would urge our people not to have lawns and to use only organic methods.”

Peter McCoppin's Garden on Munro Street

Like his music, Peter’s gardening is capturing national attention. This fall, Canadian Living Magazine will be featuring a profile on his creation and Gardens West Magazine will follow suit in its Spring, 2012 edition. 2012 also coincides with Esquimalt’s Centennial celebrations, for which McCoppin helped organize when he was invited last year by Mayor Barb Desjardins to facilitate a Town Hall Meeting towards describing our past, defining our present, and directing our future. 

In addition to his mastery of music and horticulture, McCoppin is also a highly sought after facilitator, key-note speaker, and leadership coach. His vast professional background also includes being an author and a host/broadcaster on national, regional, and local television and radio.

Most recently, he has become Founder of the McCoppin Institute of Learning – “Bringing Potential to Life”, in which he will bring together some the nation’s most gifted motivational speakers towards helping others to seek the most out of life.

Peter’s personal motto is:  “Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.” With that approach to life, Peter McCoppin is fitting in perfectly within the community of Esquimalt. Whether through our creativity and/or our contributions, Esquimalt is all about helping others.

Like a piece of music or a plot of garden, we grow better as a community when we are harmonized as a people.

Posted by: Editor | September 1, 2011

Back to School

Back to School:

– Esquimalt Beat Cop Calls for Esquimalt Voice on Victoria School Board

As Esquimalt students return to school this month, it is important to note that there are currently no Esquimalt residents serving as School Trustees on the Greater Victoria School Board. David Bratzer is a VicPD officer who has spent many hours patrolling Esquimalt during his six years of police service. He has taken a leave of absence to campaign as a District # 61 school board candidate in this fall’s municipal elections. David writes this guest column as an important reminder to Esquimalt residents about School District issues. If you are an Esquimalt resident who cares about our schools, please consider joining David Bratzer in running for School Board. 

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE?
-By David Bratzer

School Board candidate David Bratzer

Esquimalt lies within the boundaries of the Greater Victoria School District (also known as District 61). Roughly 19,000 students, from Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, attend school in this large district. Its geographic area also includes Oak Bay, View Royal, Victoria and the southern half of Saanich.

The total budget of District 61 is $172 million. This is similar in size to the Municipality of Saanich. A percentage of your property taxes helps to fund school maintenance, teacher salaries and other expenses. Your contribution ranges from a few hundred dollars to over one thousand dollars each year. The exact amount depends on the value of your home.

In addition to approving the budget each year, school board trustees set the strategic direction of the district. They develop policies to promote a healthy and safe learning environment. As elected officials, their role is to represent the entire community in matters related to the education of children.

There are nine trustees for District 61. They serve three year terms and the elections are held on the same day as municipal elections. This year, the election will occur on November 19th. This day is a real opportunity for you to influence how our precious education dollars will be spent.

Some Esquimalt residents may not realize they are eligible to vote in the school board elections. There is no requirement for you to have a child enrolled in the district in order to vote. You can vote for as many as nine candidates on the ballot, or you can select fewer names if you prefer. The choice is up to you.

I’ve been going to school board meetings for almost two years in an effort to learn about the key issues in District 61. If you have any questions, please give me a call at (250) 813-2117. You can also visit my web site at www.bratzer.net.

FAST FACTS ON DISTRICT 61:

– District population of 200,000
– Approximately 19,000 students
– 2800 employees
– Budget of $172 million
– 28 elementary schools
– 10 middle schools
– 7 secondary schools
– 9 elected trustees (3 year terms)

For more information about School District #61, go to: http://sd61.bc.ca/

Posted by: Editor | August 27, 2011

How I Spent My Summer

Barb Desjardins: Mayor’s Monthly Musings

How I Spent My Summer – By Mayor Desjardins

Mayor Desjardins

This has been a busy and productive summer. It started with the completion of the Policing Request for Proposal Process. In June, the Esquimalt Police Advisory Panel completed its report, took it to council for approval and sent it to the Solicitor General’s office one day in advance of the audit given deadline of June 30, 2011. We are currently waiting for a response and are hopeful this will occur in the early fall.

Of course, we also held a small celebration and plaque unveiling for Archie Browning Sport Center on its birthday and we will be having a grand celebration with sports celebrities, cake, free skate and just plain old Esquimalt celebration fun on September 10, from 12-4 pm.

Craigflower Road was officially completed and opened in July and a demonstration of the rain garden on Yarrow was provided by the fire department. It worked great!

I held an open door meeting that was well-attended and a number of topics discussed from parking to the Esquimalt Village Project. There have been many meetings with residents throughout the summer regarding local issues.

CRD remained very active throughout July including extra meetings where I discussed options to completing sections of the Rail trail through Esquimalt.

In conjunction with that, Councillor Brame and I have also met to seek further solutions and opportunities for the Trackside Gallery, which is in need of repair or complete tear down. We are both of the opinion that it would be a wonderful addition for the E&N Rail trail trip and so are working to repair and enhancement if possible.

I have continued to attend meetings and advocate for the award of a National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy contract for B.C. and we all need to keep up the talk until the award occurs. There are restrictions as to politicians lobbying but the people of B.C. can make sure their MP’s and the federal government are hearing of our support loud and clear. I have met with our new MP, Randall Garrison, on this issue and others.

I was able to meet with Minister Chong and Seaspan representatives and we heard there is significant support from B.C. for the bid.

Council took its break mid-July to mid-August and I got away for a great week with family to Ontario.

I look forward to a very busy fall with council and hope to see or hear from you with your ideas in continuing to make Esquimalt the best place to live.

Mayor Barb Desjardins

To provide input on these topics, email Mayor Desjardins at mayor@esquimalt.ca or post a comment on this blog.

Visit Mayor Desjardins’ website at http://www.barbdesjardins.com or join her on FaceBook at this link.

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