West Shore community leaders had a virtual meeting of minds Thursday evening during Vision West Shore 2020, an event hosted by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce.
The third-ever event was held online for the first time, with Esquimalt-Metchosin MLA Mitzi Dean leading West Shore leaders through a series of topics including the region’s COVID-19 response, transportation, arts and more.
“It’s great to be able to hear all their questions and get to know how to work together as mayors,” said Ken Williams, District of Highlands mayor. “A lot of people don’t realize how we collaborate on so many levels.”
Other guests included Chief Ron Sam of the Songhees Nation, Sooke School District Chair Ravi Parmar, Colwood Mayor Rob Martin, Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, View Royal Mayor David Screech and Lillian Szpak, acting mayor for the City of Langford.
Williams said the group was asked the “perennial” amalgamation question – but mayors felt they already work together well.
“We already are collaborating on many many things,” he said, naming the West Shore Parks and Recreation Society and the mutual aid agreements between municipalities. “We’re working quite well together as it is.”
Williams said municipalities have been meeting regularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and there is strong motivation among leaders to move forward together in the face of the crisis.
“It’s great to see the energy,” he said. “This is the kind of energy that really solves problems.”