A young Kevin Murdoch from 1979 in Prince Rupert. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)

A young Kevin Murdoch from 1979 in Prince Rupert. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)

MAYOR’S MESSAGE: Community faces burdens of 2020 with ‘resiliency and grace’

Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch offers well-wishes for 2021

As I reflect back on 2020 and forward into 2021 I am tired, grateful, and hopeful. There is no doubt that the arrival of the pandemic, and the uncertainty it brought, eroded much of the “togetherness” normally felt in Oak Bay. The inability to gather, both formally and informally, meant the loss of the Oak Bay Tea Party, Summer Night Markets, Music in the Park, and hundreds of block parties, picnics, gatherings and events. Most travel for vacations, family visits, and more had to be cancelled.

Many lost their jobs, either temporarily or permanently. Some industries like tourism may not recover for years. And those still working feel the constant pressure of safety protocols and added workloads. All have faced financial worries at some point this year, and most have also had to worry about vulnerable parents, grandparents, or children in schools. It’s been hard, and I want to express my gratitude for all those who have carried this burden for so many months with grace and resilience.

But from those challenges, the community responded. Residents across the region put hearts in windows and banged pots at 7 p.m. nightly to show support for front line workers. Calls to help the less fortunate were met with record charitable donations. Our businesses found ways to bring a new vibrancy to the streets and sidewalks of our commercial areas and workers found innovative ways to work. Church and service groups created support networks and neighbours checked on neighbours, cooked meals, went shopping, and generally took care of those in need.

Meanwhile toilet paper eventually returned to the shelves and we all learned to “Zoom.”

As I writes this everyone is wearing masks in public and the first immunizations are arriving. It’s a time of both hope and continued vigilance, and I trust our residents to keep doing what they have been doing so well throughout this pandemic – thank you. It may well be next autumn before things can start to really feel normal, but it’s nice to have the light at the end of the tunnel, and great having the community we do.

I also think it’s worth taking time to appreciate how blessed we are to be living where we live. Not only have COVID-19 cases been limited on the Island, but our parks, natural areas, and weather allow for activities that are the envy of Canada. As an example there was someone waterskiing off Willows Beach earlier in December.

At the municipality, Oak Bay continues to work to keep parks, recreation services, water delivery, building applications, and other services running both safely and effectively to allow everyone the safe environment they need and deserve. I am also very grateful for regional municipalities, their Mayors, the CRD, and the Province, all of whom have been invaluable partners.

I will finish by thanking Oak Bay staff and council for their work over the last year and say how excited I am about what’s coming in 2021. Each day poses challenges that are treated as opportunities, and that attitude serves us well as we enter 2021. I wish everyone the very happiest of New Years.

Kevin Murdoch is the mayor of the District of Oak Bay.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

Jail cell - Reporter file photo
Two of Greater Victoria’s most notorious teenaged killers have parole privileges extended

Derik Lord gets overnight privileges while Kelly Ellard’s are extended

Staff at Artemis Place Secondary were shocked to find that one of the student-built greenhouses on the campus was stolen overnight on Jan. 11. (Artemis Place Society/Facebook)
Saanich school hopes to catch greenhouse thief red-handed

Student-built greenhouses stolen from Artemis Place Secondary on Jan. 11

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria raises record-breaking $350,000 for Salvation Army

The charity says it’s seen an increase in need since COVID-19 hit

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Smaller egg farmers find themselves in a David and Goliath situation when it comes to major producers and chain-grocery store shelf space. (Citizen file)
Vancouver Island egg producer cries foul over ‘Island’ label

Egg farmer frustrated with regulations allowing mainland-laid eggs to be labelled ‘Island’

Police and fire crews at work at a fire scene at Mount Prevost School (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Classes cancelled by fire at a Duncan-area school for the second time this week

Fire this morning at Duncan area middle school follows Monday blaze at nearby elementary

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance after numerous tire slashings between Jan. 12-14. (News Bulletin file)
Police seek public’s help after ‘tire slashing spree’ in central Nanaimo

Ten reports of slashed tires in the last three days, say Nanaimo RCMP

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

50 km/hr speed limit sign.
POLL: What do you think the speed limit should be on residential streets without a centre line?

Traffic on side streets around Greater Victoria could soon be travelling at… Continue reading

Most Read