James Bay Neighbourhood Association: July & August Meeting Reports

Submitted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association

Robert Jawl of Jawl Properties presented an update on Capital Park at the July 13 general meeting of the JBNA.

Phase 1: Approximately 650 employees of the Ministries of the Environment and Children and Family Development will move into 525 Superior Street in September 2017. Available on October 1 are 53 rental apartments on three floors above the Red Barn Market on the ground floor at 355 Menzies Street. The new James Bay Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library on the corner of Menzies and Superior Streets will open in January 2018.

Phase 2: 545 Superior Street, a second office building very similar to the 525 Superior Street building, will also be occupied by government ministries with commercial space on the main floor. A two year build-out is anticipated for the new office building.

The Plaza area, targeted for completion by fall of 2018, will house Good Earth Café.

Phase 3: Two strata condo buildings and one strata townhouse building facing Michigan Street are scheduled to commence in 2018.

Landscaping will include a food garden available for harvest by the public and residents, managed by Jawl properties. There will be 420 parking stalls: 175 stalls for residents, 20 stalls public parking, and 235 for office workers. There will also be approximately 220 lockers for cyclists. Most workers will use transit, walk, car share, or cycle.

James Wadsworth, BC Transit, discussed transit changes to take place in January 2018. After public consultations in James Bay Transit has proposed two new routes for James Bay (Route 2 James Bay/Oak Bay and Route 3 Beacon Hill/Royal Jubilee) replacing existing Route 3, 27, 28 30, and 31. There will be no layovers in James Bay.

The significant change is that buses will come into James Bay by Douglas Street to Menzies. The 2 James Bay/Oak Bay will travel through the village to Fisherman’s Wharf and back. Route 3 will continue to Royal Jubilee Hospital and connect with #10 which goes to VicWest.

Transit will provide information in print and on-line. Transit workers may be available at some stops. The new routes will run consistently 24/7. Transit will evaluate the service in July 2018.

Employment Opportunity: Victoria Transit is currently hiring new drivers; they need 540 drivers with approximately 519 currently employed.

VicPD

Three representatives from Victoria Police Department gave reports on policing in James Bay at the August 9th meeting: Cst. Sean Hand – Community Resource Officer; Cst. Cody Lapierre – Traffic Section; and Maureen Shaw – VicPD board member and James Bay representative.

Community Resource Officer Constable Sean Hand reported on incidents that occurred in the James Bay area over an 18 month period from January 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017. Active areas of James Bay include 5 Corners, Rithet/Menzies/Lewis Streets, the Belleville Street area, eastern Niagara/Dallas Road area and the Superior / Government / Douglas Streets area. Nonetheless the call statistics indicated that James Bay is a pretty safe place to live compared to other areas of Victoria.

Over the 18 month period the greatest single category of calls were abandoned 911 calls (852). An abandoned call occurs when someone dials 911 and then either hangs up or does not talk to the 911 dispatcher. If the dispatcher is unable to reconnect with the caller, there is no choice but to send police to investigate the circumstances.

That is not to say that you shouldn't call 911. Cst. Hand encouraged all James Bay residents to call 911 if they had a concern, even if it may not seem to be an urgent issue. Well-being check requests, suspicious circumstances, unwanted person calls, disturbance calls, for example - let the dispatcher determine the immediacy of the response required. VicPD records statistical data on incidents reported (as their report indicated). Those statistics can assist in requesting additional resources for our community as well as to target areas requiring additional patrol. Cst. Hand encourages anyone who wants to discuss an issue that may be a police matter to contact him by email at sean.hand@vicpd.ca.

In January 2017 funding was approved for two additional officers to join the existing ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) teams. In the last two months an ACT team made up of members from VicPD, Island Health, Pacifica Housing, Portland Housing and the MOSDPR (Social Development & Poverty Reduction) have been working in tandem to assist homeless people found camping in Beacon Hill and other area parks. Sweeps occur daily at Beacon Hill Park between 7am and 8am to meet these individuals and provide assistance with social assistant benefit applications, housing applications etc. Although there are no current stats, anecdotal data would indicate this approach is having a positive effect. Concerns about camping in the park should be reported to Cst. Hand.

Cst. Cody Lapierre – Traffic Section:  Cst. Lapierre reported his section oversees enforcement i.e. speeding vehicles, erratic driving, etc. Traffic issues account for 8% of calls received from James Bay. Several residents reported concerns about speeding taxis especially during cruise ship season. Cst. Lapierre encouraged residents to call the non-urgent (250-995-7654) line to report their general concerns.

The Traffic Section has input to city council regarding traffic issues. He noted that simply lowering the speed limits does not result in compliance. The combination of using school and park signage is what helps reduce speed. Residents asked Cst. Lapierre’s to support the JBNA’s request to the City for a four-way stop at Oswego and Simcoe Streets. Additionally it was thought that a four-way stop would be beneficial at Niagara and Oswego Streets and a four-way stop at Niagara and Montreal Streets as well as signage for the Todd Parkette children’s park on Montreal. Cst. Lapierre was encouraged to review the 2016 JBNA survey regarding “How do you Get Around in James Bay”.

Maureen Shaw – VicPD Board member:  Ms. Shaw said the Board is pleased that the police department has a new Chief of Police – Del Manak. She outlined the responsibilities of the board members; provide civilian oversight and guidance to the police, oversee the police budget, human resource issues, hiring, firing, discipline, training and policing resources for policing in Victoria and Esquimalt. The Board was proud of its initiation of the ACT team which has been incorporated in other cities across Canada. The Board will also be presenting a report to the provincial government regarding the current Police Act and where they believe changes should be made based on the experience of the Elsner case.

Resilient Streets/Resilient Neighbourhoods:

JBNA has partnered with “Resilient Neighbourhoods” to promote strengthened connections between neighbours and community groups. Everyone interested is invited to attend a workshop on Sunday September 17 from 7pm to 9pm at the James Bay Community School. Additional information can be found at the website www.resilientneighbourhoods.ca.

JBNA Garden Advocate, Karen Pankowski announced a fall Plant Swap and Sale on Saturday September 9 from 10am to 12pm at the James Bay Community School. The sale will include plants for winter vegetables, house plants and perennials. You can set up a table to sell plants yourself or drop off plants to support the garden committee.

Next Month

Join us for the next monthly JBNA General Meeting, Wednesday, September 13, 7-9 pm, 234 Menzies (New Horizons building).

The meeting agenda is tentative. Please check www.jbna.org for an updated agenda early in September. Two presentations-discussions are scheduled for the September 13 JBNA General Meeting.

515-519 Rithet: Architect Eric Barker will present a development proposal for 515-519 Rithet which would see the two houses replaced by a small four storey apartment building with 27 rental units, and 23 parking stalls in underground parking.

63 Boyd Street: a redevelopment of the property may also be considered at the meeting.

"Sharing Our Streets": What issues need to be addressed so that our streets can safely be used by all of us. Does James Bay need dedicated bike lanes? If so, which streets? Superior? Dallas? Oswego?

The use of mobility scooters is on the rise. Should scooters be travelling on our sidewalks or on our roads? Is vehicle speed a problem? If so, is the solution speed limits or traffic calming stop signs?  

Victoria Health Co-op:  Come celebrate with us!

Victoria Health Co-op: Come celebrate with us!

Victoria During the Great War