Michael has four decades of experience working for municipalities in British Columbia and the UK. He worked as Colwood’s Director of Engineering for ten years prior to retirement, and currently works part-time as a consultant.
He began working in the West Shore in the early 1990s as Langford’s Director of Engineering and Approving Officer. His work there included infrastructure upgrades on Goldstream Avenue that changed it from a minor provincial highway with patches of development, to an interesting tree-lined urban space with cycle lanes, meandering sidewalks and substantial second-storey vegetation that proved attractive to small-scale commercial development with residential above. This successful town centre continues today to attract more residents and small businesses despite the much larger scale commercial to the north and south of the centre.
Michael’s worked for the City of Colwood from 2006 to 2016. He began the transformation of Colwood streetscapes from a rural to a more urban standard including buffered bike lanes, wide sidewalks and layered vegetation with food gardens where practical. This effort concentrated on the commercial core (including the opening of Wale Road), safe routes to school and new developments. He directed the development of the City’s Transportation Master Plan, which focused on ways to support walking, cycling and transit while still providing flow for cars.
Michael understands Colwood’s incredible assets, and its challenges.
He was responsible for management of the Colwood waterfront and spent much of his own time studying the impacts of climate change and the effects of erosion on our foreshore. Since retirement, he has taken Green Shores training, an approach to protecting waterfront assets without hardening the shoreline.
In its early years, Colwood struggled with legal and financial challenges surrounding the construction of sewers. Michael led the introduction of a new method of assessing sewer taxes which eliminated unfair levels of taxation to homeowners and significantly reduced sewer taxes for the majority of homeowners. It also greatly reduced legal challenges and put the City in a position to complete sewer projects and connect many residents to existing sewer lines.
Since retirement, Michael Baxter has participated in the Royal Roads Group, formed to engage supportively with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations ,and has worked actively with the many other residents on the committee to draft the new Official Community Plan.
Challenges such as transportation, affordable housing and adaptation to climate change will not be solved overnight. Michael knows how to work with others and with the statutes and regulations governing municipalities to make change happen.
He was the staff lead and project manager for the Solar Colwood program, which brought a $3.9 million grant to the city that provided incentives and support for people to undertake energy retrofits to their homes and install solar energy. This program earned the city several awards and a reputation as a progressive community.
Michael Baxter has lived in the Westshore for 15 years and for the last seven years in Colwood — where he plans to stay.
He cares about the future of this planet, its people and the rest of the current biota. He has driven an electric car for the past six years, lives in an energy-efficient home powered in part by solar energy and prefers to travel by train for long journeys. Michael tries to make ethical and responsible purchasing decisions and to purchase goods and services in Colwood whenever possible.
When not busy with work, he enjoys spending time with his four children and eight grandchildren, hiking, cycling and growing his own food. He is married to former Colwood councillor Judith Cullington.
Do you have questions? What issues are important to you? Email Michael to share your thoughts and ideas. Learn more about Michael, his platform, and how to support Michael.Donate