Submitted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association
The March 2018 James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA) general meeting featured presentations important to the future of James Bay.
Sharing Our Streets
Tom Berkhout and Darrel Woods presented an update on the activities of the JBNA Active Transportation Committee. The committee is actively seeking solutions to impediments to the movement of residents in the community. Its goal is to develop an integrated transportation network in the neighbourhood making streets safe for all (12,000 residents within one square kilometre). The three to 103 age range (revised from ages 8 to 80) more accurately reflects James Bay residents and street usage. Almost 200 respondents completed the 2017/18 “Sharing our Streets” feedback survey commenting on three “big” ideas. The Shared Solution, suggested for the five-corners area, recommends barrier-free streets and sidewalks, similar to Granville Street or European plazas. The Neighborhood Solution, proposes traffic calming throughout James Bay for a general lowering of vehicular traffic speeds. The complete solution, designating a grid of routes of differentiated travel spaces across the community, includes sidewalks, cycle lanes and vehicle roadways. Proposed alterations to Superior, Oswego and Government Streets would complement street work on Dallas Road. There was general support by survey respondents for all of the proposals.
The Active Transportation Committee have recommended: consultation on the three solutions as part of the Local Area Planning (LAP) public consultation process for James Bay, development of an active travel prioritization schedule for James Bay and designation of James Bay as an active travel demonstration neighbourhood.
Information gathered from the survey will be submitted as part of the James Bay LAP process to begin in late 2018, early 2019.
The JBNA and the Fairfield-Gonzales Community Association have jointly recommended that a one-time $100,000 contribution from the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee to the City for public realm improvements be used to enhance an east-west pathway through Beacon Hill Park. The multi-use pathway will connect the two communities, providing a safe and convenient route for parents to accompany children on bicycles both from James Bay to Sir James Douglas School and from Fairfield to South Park School.
The new library is nearing completion. The chosen name, sx w enjx w en tenex w, (pronounced s-hweng hw-ung tongue-oo-hw) is the Lekwungen (North Straits Coast Salish dialect of the Esquimalt Nation) name for James Bay. The branch (7,150 sq ft) includes meeting rooms, computers, children’s area, and teen area. The larger of the meeting rooms (accommodating 60) is named after Dr. Elmer Seniemten George, a fluent speaker and teacher of the Lekwungen dialect. The smaller meeting room, named after Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, commemorates the first black pioneer elected to public office, who served as a Victoria City Councillor from 1866 to 1869. The rooms, with profit and non-profit rentals rates, can be booked on-line.
The branch will be open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 6:00 with evening hours until 9:00 on Wednesday and 24/7 drop off. Sunday hours will be the same as the other GVPL branches. 12,000 new items in the collection are reserved for James Bay and will not circulate to other branches. GVPL is interested in developing the collection to address indigenous and local community needs including newspaper subscriptions and children’s programming.
Check the Greater Victoria Public Library website (www.gvpl.ca) after April 3 for dates of the soft opening in April and the to-be-determined official opening.
Prospect of Large-Scale Tenant Displacement:
Victoria Adams reported on her initial participation in a six-month market rental revitalization project being conducted by the City of Victoria. Three groups have been engaged for the study. The city has identified 10,000 units (approx. 40 per cent of current rental stock) at risk. Some form of restitution work on approximately 20,000 rental units in the next few years has the potential to displace many tenants. Adams’ group was asked to consider the following questions:
- The city is considering establishing a standards of maintenance by-law for rental properties. What would renters like to see included?
- What would the focus group like to see in a tenant protection policy given that the current Residential Tenancy Act is a provincial government responsibility.
Adams indicated that tenant-occupied rentals may be as high as 70 per cent in parts of James Bay and Fairfield. She suggested that all of us, including the city, need to pay greater attention to this important segment of the population. High rental rates negatively affect university and college students, seniors, hospitality workers and other minimum wage and at-risk segments of the population. The second meeting of the rental focus group was scheduled for March 28..
The JBNA Community Association Land Use Committee (CALUC) has been concerned about the condition of many aging buildings in James Bay. Many displaced renters may not be able to afford the higher rents in renovated buildings. New rental development proposals are given priority for consideration by planning and city council.
City of Victoria
A city directive/policy has been issued regarding discrimination on socio/economic issues during CALUC meetings. Inappropriate comments directed towards presenters or members of any identifiable group are not permitted. CALUC groups have been directed to post the notice (part of the Council Motion of February 22, 2018) at each CALUC meeting. The chair is responsible for enforcing the policy. For more information view city council committee of the whole video of July 27, 2017. The current policy is included in the correspondence of the February 22, 2018 meeting.
The Urban Forest:
If you have been hearing chain saws in addition to ever-present background construction noise it is not your imagination. The city has identified 67 trees for removal from James Bay between March 1 and April 12, 2018. The trees have all been examined and identified as dead or in serious decline and near the end of their life cycle. Nearby residents are to be notified by letter and a notice posted on each tree prior to removal. The majority of trees scheduled for removal are on Dallas Road. A 2012 tree inventory determined 64 per cent of the 33,000 city-owned trees in Victoria to be in good or excellent condition. 30 per cent are in fair condition and 6 per cent are in poor condition. The planting of replacement trees will begin in fall 2018. Questions? Contact the Parks Office at 250-361-0600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The good news: The current welding and pipe assembly along Niagara Street, scheduled to dovetail with completion of the underwater drilling prior to the ‘big pull’, is ahead of schedule and may take less than the planned six weeks. The bad news: JBNA have been advised that there will be about 575 marked parking stalls between Ogden Point and Clover Point but up to 25 per cent fewer parking spaces along the north side of Dallas Road, upon completion of the project.
Next Month: Join us at 7pm on April 11, 2018 at New Horizons for a city-centric evening of presentations. Mayor Lisa Helps will discuss the wastewater conveyance line and the impact of the Dallas Road redesign on residents. Kimberly Stratford, Engagement and James Bay staff liaison, will discuss community involvement in Budget 2019/20.