James Bay Neighbourhood Association
Submitted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association
At the October 10, 2018 monthly meeting of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA), City of Victoria neighbourhood liaison Kimberley Stratford presented information on the City’s Programs and Opportunities for Neighbourhoods services and grants available to neighbourhoods. The presentation was preceded by a 'courtesy' CALUC discussion.
A Community Association Land Use Committee (CALUC) Proposal was presented for 561-565 Toronto Street by proponent Conrad Nyren, and Will King of Waymark Architects. This is not a rezoning application and the proponent is not required to bring the proposal to the JBNA. The owner is doing so as a courtesy to inform and advise the neighbourhood.
Two existing houses at 561-565 Toronto Street with four existing housing units will be demolished and replaced by a four story condominium with 24 units. Due to the narrow configuration of Toronto Street, the existing houses cannot be moved and will be salvaged.
The 24 new units, ranging from 550 to 650 sq. ft. in floor area, include 13 one-bedroom suites, seven - two-bedroom suites, and four - one-bedroom plus den suites. The property is zoned R32 and no rezoning is required to construct the project. The project is within the permitted height allowance but is seeking nominal set back variances. The condos will be sold at market rates. Rentals will be available if purchasers decide to put units on the rental market. The developer will take under consideration the suggestion that vacation rentals not be permitted in the strata.
The landscape plan includes six raised beds for food gardening and a small green space. There will be 22 parking stalls in the parking garage beneath the condos, including visitor parking and 24 bicycle stalls plus 12 wall mounted stalls for a total 36 bicycle stalls. One storage locker will be provided per unit. Access and exiting to and from underground parking will be onto Toronto Street.
Comments from meeting attendees included concern that the garage on the adjacent property to the right (built to the property line) could make exiting from the parkade challenging to both vehicles and pedestrians. Concern was also expressed if the waste management bins were to be placed on the street for pickup jamming up the street, and contributing to noise. The proponent agreed to see if the concern can be addressed by the truck accessing the bins in the parkade.
Currently there are no plans to install a green roof. Landscaping is being constructed to address water flow and run off based on City by-laws.
Toronto Street is termed a secondary connector, a narrow street with parking on one side. Concern was expressed about speeding vehicles, and a proposal was put forward for calming mounds in the 500 block of Toronto and a posted 30k speed limit.
Appreciation was expressed at the proponent’s effort to inform residents without a requirement to do so because of the established zoning.
Programs and Opportunities for Neighbourhoods:
Kimberley Stratford presented information about neighbourhood grants, place making in the community, park bench placements, and a range of other programs offered to neighbourhoods by the City of Victoria.
Great Neighbourhood Grants:
The City provides Great Neighbourhood Grants of up to $5000 for place making projects and up to $1000 for activities to match equivalent contributions from the neighbourhood. Eight James Bay projects have been funded thus far and four to five additional applications are anticipated in 2019.
The City provides paint out kits to neighbourhoods through the Anti-Graffiti program, in addition to information and a grant on how to create a street mural, and a scheduled walk about with City staff.
A City website makeover will include highlights by individual neighbourhoods: what our neighbourhoods look like, parks, schools, gardens and markets, specific city services, tools and resources to get involved, resources and partnerships. Neighbourhood pages will be colourful and informative, intended to evolve over time.
Downtown late-night program:
The late-night program supports a safe, strong late-night economy in the downtown. It focuses on transportation, safety, and ongoing improvements with businesses that are part of this economy including: the late night task force (four VicPD Officers), supervised taxi stands, portable urinal program (Thurs/Fri/Sat nights only), late night vendors, multi-agency task force quarterly inspections of licensed premises, and educational workshops.
The City also supports the Victoria Youth Council and provides Seniors Support at three Seniors Centres.
Future endeavours will focus on workshops to build capacity and support for neighbourhood associations and organizations. The first workshop in the series, scheduled for October 13, 2018 includes topics such as understanding the core purpose of the association and conveying it to the community, identifying principles for effective engagement of residents and recruiting participants, understanding best practise and tools for sustaining a strong team, resident surveys, and sharing resources for developing strategies to build connection with the community.
Future Programs - League of Champions:
The City is considering the creation of a leadership development program that is community focused for residents who want to expand their skills to become civic leaders in their own neighbourhoods.
Appreciation was expressed for the presentation as many of the services available were unfamiliar to residents. Comments included appreciation of The Little Gardeners’ space at the James Bay Community Project providing the opportunity for local children to participate in the growing of food.
There was a concern about street murals distracting drivers (preferring temporarily blocked off streets with “chalk ins”). In preparation for the Local Area Planning process in James Bay, a walk-through in the neighbourhood with city staff to clarify what to preserve and what to change was considered a good option.
Additional comments were heard from residents about supporting the promotion of our City, but feeling concerned about being inundated by tourism. Concerns were expressed about uncontrolled tourism and the lack of adequate infrastructure as well the impact of increased cruise ships and passengers.
After feedback from many residents about the permanent placement of the Radar Speed Reader for James Bay, the Board recommended placement adjacent to the James Bay Community School on Oswego Street.
Next Month: The Capital Regional District (CRD) is planning to replace 62 units of CRD housing on Michigan Street. CRD staff will be present at the November 14, 2018 general meeting of the JBNA to provide details of the plan.