It Takes a Village to Raise a Community
-Esquimalt Village project moving forward.
After years of discussion, debate, expensive consultant reviews and reports, Esquimalt Council has finally arrived at a formal and finalized vision for the much touted Esquimalt Village Plan. Our hometown has been undergoing a process of renewal, one towards a more revitalized, more attractive, and more vibrant community. The people of Esquimalt know that we already reside in a great setting, but we also know that we deserve better. We have wonderful parks and recreation, scenic coastlines, and a very convenient and close proximity to Victoria’s downtown core. What we also have, unfortunately, is an “image” problem.
People outside of Esquimalt see our home as an undesirable place to live. That is plain wrong. Image, however, is everything and it is why the Esquimalt Village Plan will play a vital role in the rebranding of Esquimalt. It is the vision for the long-term development of Esquimalt’s community hub. In other words, it’s our own little version of our own downtown. The goals include:
- Create a lively and sustainable Esquimalt town centre, which incorporates a mix of uses and community recreation needs
- Revitalize Esquimalt’s town core and enhance community economic development, while providing residents with a wider range of amenities and services
- Capitalize on and enhance the value of public and private assets in the core
- Enhance sustainability of municipal facilities and infrastructure
Esquimalt Council has finally and formally opted for a design plan referred to as Esquimalt Village Core: Phase 1 Development. You can view the plan by clicking here where you can read about design guideline directions on the envisioned form and character of village buildings, as well as a landscaping plan, and public realm guidelines for the plaza, open spaces and walkways. You can also view artist renditions of what Esquimalt Village will possibly look like once realized.
Basically, the plan includes a balanced mix of residential, community, and commercial space that hopes to transform the 1100 and 1200 block of Esquimalt Road, including such municipal-owned land as the old Municipal Hall and Public Works Yard site and the town square fronting the library.
But, this is where it gets tricky. All this land is municipally-owned, not private development. According to the plan, it is hoped that the “revitalization of the municipal lands will act as a demonstration of the type and quality of development desired within the village core and may serve as an incentive to other (area) landowners to pursue similar redevelopments in keeping with the overall goals…”
So, the question becomes: does it take a village to “raise” a community? For decades, we have hoped for some major positive revitalization of our community and this may be the vision we have been waiting for.
For more information, download the council-endorsed Esquimalt Village Plan by clicking here or go to: http://www.esquimalt.ca/files/PDF/Business_and_Development/October6_EVP_Booklet-Public_NoBlnks_web.pdf