The Highlands is a primarily residential community, rural in nature, and blessed with an exceptional abundance of scenic beauty, public parkland, and native plant and animal life. Those who live here place high value on the natural environment and a rural lifestyle. Highlanders are actively involved in the community, which fosters a spirit that is both self-reliant and cooperative. A stunningly beautiful rural residential area, the Highlands is located just 20 minutes from downtown Victoria, in the foothills between the Saanich Peninsula and other Westshore communities. Most residents travel to neighbouring towns in order to work, attend school, visit libraries, shop, and engage in regional cultural and athletic interests.
This small community prides itself on its pioneering spirit, as evidenced during winter weather events, and is proud of its many volunteers and high level of community involvement. More than one-third of the Highlands is protected as municipal, regional, and provincial parkland, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Heritage is important to Highlanders, who are dedicated to the preservation of the past with its old buildings and the history of First Nations and European settlement. Highlanders take great pride in stewardship of the environment and conservation of the land, which is the natural legacy we will leave to future generations.
2018 Inaugural Address form Mayor Ken Williams
Good evening everyone, ÍY, C̸NES QENOṈE ṮÁ (It’s good to see you all)
On behalf of council, I would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is within the traditional territories of the SENĆOŦEN speaking W̱SÁNEĆ - Pauquachin, Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum, the Hul’q’umi’num’ speaking- Malahat and Lkwungen speaking - Esquimalt and Songhees, First Nations.
It is a pleasure and an honour to speak here tonight as your Mayor on the cusp of our 25th anniversary as District of Highlands.
Thank you to the outgoing Council for all the great work that was accomplished. We appreciate the help of Highlands staff and Highlands volunteers.
It wasn’t long ago that we cut the ribbon for the opening of this beautiful Community Hall and the new East Fire Hall as well as the Twinflower Park upgrade. The West Fire Hall improvements, Superior Shuttle Accreditation and the Turtle Enhancement at Eagles Lake are also some of the examples of last term’s efforts.
Welcome to the new Council. Councillor Karel Roessingh wasn’t able to be here tonight but sends his best wishes as he will soon take his oath. We welcome new Councillor, Rose Stanton, to local government and thank outgoing Councillor, Karen Burns, for her service to the Highlands community.
We love the people of Highlands and the natural environment that surrounds and nourishes us all. There is a spirit and magic here that is infectious: the people that come here find something special. Your new council is dedicated to protecting that specialness. Our job is to listen to all and facilitate your will. We are dedicated to protecting your natural assets, your water, your aquifer, your forests, and your way of life.
We in Highlands are threatened by a rapidly changing climate and will work with you to build resilience and make the best plans possible to protect us. Highlanders are famous for their self reliance and smart ideas. We welcome your input as we work together to protect our environment.
Our new Highlands council is deep and full of talent. We appreciate your confidence in us to carry out the people’s business. Speaking of business, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has recognized Highlands as the municipality with the lowest operational costs in the province out of 162 municipalities: That’s over a ten year period. I’d like to give a shout out to our very effective Highlands staff, Highlands Firefighters and Highlands volunteers for their help in making this possible. They are great!
On a regional level your council has had a big impact. We are leaders on climate change and on many social issues. Your Highlands council will never be shy to discuss matters with senior levels of government.
Our commitment to you is to enhance community well being: That is what local government is all about. Council will soon be engaging in our strategic plan, but the time has come to also review our official community plan and we will be asking for your input and your ideas to help guide us into the future.
Together we will get the right balance, the right formula, and all the inclusiveness that we need to succeed. We are one, together, working for the best possible life for all Highlanders.
We are dedicated to listening to you and giving the people of Highlands the most transparent, compassionate, and respectful government as possible.
On behalf of Council, we look forward to continuing to serve the Highlands community during the term ahead.
Thank you to our staff, councillors, firefighters, community organizations and volunteers for their work, involvement, and especially their collaboration.