JBNA – Then & Now

Submitted by Don Lindsay on behalf of the JBNA Board: Marg Gardiner, Linda Carlson, Wayne Shillington, Laura Neil, Bob Vander Steen and Tim VanAlstine

The JBNA and the Beacon are longtime partners in providing information to James Bay residents, reflecting the values of the neighbourhood. The JBNA has a specific focus on land use and environmental issues including parks and transportation. In its first years the organization was responsible for the consultation process leading to the 1993 neighbourhood plan, identifying areas of stability, heritage, and preservation of employment within the neighbourhood.

The JBNA Board and other James Bay residents have been active participants in many City initiatives, reviews and studies, particularly those involving parks and public spaces. These include: Victoria Accord Parliamentary Precinct Process, 1996 James Bay Transportation Plan, Greenways Plan, Beacon Hill Management Plan, creation and implementation of the CALUC process, the legal dispute over public vs private uses of Beacon Hill Park, supporting the early Garry Oak Society, the Victoria Harbour Pathway, the Urban Forest MasterPlan, and the development of Fisherman’s Wharf Park.

Over the past 11 years, the JBNA has honed in on how land use and environmental conditions impact the quality of life of James Bay residents, seeking answers on noise, pollution and accessibility. JBNA embarked on an ambitious project of carrying out an impact assessment of the cruise-industry on our community. The project included 5-pillars: a comprehensive resident’s survey, an air quality analysis, traffic volume studies, traffic noise studies and a cost-benefit analysis. This impact assessment continues to drive environmental related discussions regarding development of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority MasterPlan for Ogden Point.

Current and more recent initiatives include the expansion of JBNA committees to provide on-going programs and targeted projects to guide the Local Area Plan in preparation for the next 20 years. New programmes include Gardening Advocacy. JBNA Garden Advocate Kathryn Pankowski reports to JBNA general meetings and contributes a column on gardening in James Bay to the Beacon. An Active Transportation Initiative has just completed a survey examining how residents use the streets in James Bay. A vision for greening Douglas Street along the western edge of Beacon Hill Park may gain some traction. Discussions on proposed bus routes within James Bay continue with BC Transit. Air quality and the measurement of air pollution is of prime concern: the constant mix of emissions from ships, helicopters and vehicular traffic in James Bay remains a very real concern to the health of residents.

While the JBNA takes pride in many small successful initiatives to improve quality of life, particular highlights include the new branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library in Capital Park, Fisherman's Wharf Park, the pedestrian walkway along Belleville and installation of new cross-walks.

Challenges in the near future include the City's intent to densify James Bay, cruise-industry dominance in Victoria and the current wastewater project which will be so disruptive to quality of life in James Bay during the plus 2year construction phase.

Congratulation to the James Bay Beacon on 25 years of service to the community!

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