Last year full of surprises

One thing is pretty clear: 2013 was the year of new beginnings.

Ah, the end of the year, a time for reflection and enjoying that one, last (really, we mean it) shortbread cookie.

It’s also a great time to look back and compare what we thought might materialize in the Capital Region over the year and what actually occurred.

We started 2013 looking ahead to a provincial election and undeniably (or so we thought) a new political direction for the province. Oops. We weren’t the only ones surprised by the outcome of the election which saw Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberals return to power.

As we poked through our predictions for the year looking for the outcomes, one thing became pretty clear: 2013 was the year of new beginnings.

We saw the secondary sewage treatment project take tangible steps forward including the Capital Regional District’s purchase of the Viewfield Road site in Esquimalt. OK, that didn’t pan out so well. After spending some $17 million on the property, the citizens of Esquimalt, led by Mayor Barb Desjardins, closed the lid on that idea.

Other start-ups that have moved ahead in proper order include the replacement of the Johnson Street Bridge.

With early construction work on the new bridge taking place while the Blue Bridge remains open, commuters face minimal disruption.

Speaking of bridges, we can’t say it’s been an easy ride for the Craigflower Bridge reconstruction.

With work starting in April, residents and business owners expected the bridge to re-open Dec. 1. With construction delays attributed to a North American steel shortage making it difficult to acquire materials, and the discovery that the bridge, as planned, would end up seismically unsafe, the span that connects View Royal to Saanich will not re-open until May.

Though commuters may not be happy, students in the region will be cheerful on two counts. There were no disruptions due to job action in 2013 and new schools are on the way.

The West Shore will finally see the construction of two much-needed high schools. They include the new Belmont secondary being built at the former site of Glen Lake elementary school and Royal Bay secondary school being built on what was an operational gravel pit for 100 years.

And in Oak Bay, the new Oak Bay High is well underway adjacent to the century-old building. All three broke ground this spring.

Two municipalities stuck their necks out on the deer issue this year. Central Saanich and Oak Bay have both OK’d deer culls. While some residents are not on board with the idea, at least decisions have been made at an executive level – hopefully we can look forward to more of that in 2014.


Victoria News