James Bay Neighbourhood Association: Budgeting & Community Engagement

Submitted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association

JBNA New logo April 2015.jpg

Presentations at the April 2018 general meeting of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA) focused on the City of Victoria budget process.

Due to the sudden passing of Esquimalt/Songhees First Nations Chief Andy Thomas, Mayor Lisa Helps was unable to attend the April 11 meeting. We join the City of Victoria in expressing our condolences to the family and to the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations. Mayor Helps’ meeting with us has been rescheduled to the May 9 JBNA meeting.

Kimberley Stratford, City of Victoria Engagement and JBNA Neighbourhood Liaison presented a review of the budget development process as part of the Early Neighbourhood Engagement Process. She discussed the City of Victoria budget for 2018 and possibilities for neighbourhood engagement in the 2019 budget process. Stratford was joined in the presentation by Brad Dellebuur, Manager, Transportation and Infrastructure Design, City of Victoria.

The 2018 Victoria City Budget is divided between the operating budget – 233M /year (85% of budget) and the capital budget - $43M /year (15% of budget).

Residents are invited to contact the City of Victoria to comment on various initiatives as part of neighbourhood engagement: at www.victoria.ca/EN/main/residents/communications/citizen-engagement.html

The capital budget is determined through consultation with residents in the spring of each year regarding existing plans and strategies (Council Strategic Plan, master plans and multi-year projects).

Following a process of prioritization and integration (consideration of risk, urgency, synchronization with other agencies and projects, etc.), a final document is prepared with adjustments by directors and additional public feedback prior to final approval by council.

Projects scheduled for James Bay in 2018 include: storm drain replacement (Dallas – Olympia to Padden) (Quebec at Oswego) and (Brotchey Lane), stair repair and upgrades (Holland Point & Horseshoe Bay), seawall & balustrade replacement (Dallas), and intersection paving (Government at Superior) LED lighting for a Beacon Hill Park Pathway with additional lighting upgrades in the park, and a welcome pole for Centennial Park (bordered by Montreal, Quebec and Cross Streets). Completed projects to date include wayfinding sign installations (Inner Harbour to Ogden Point) and Crosswalk Upgrade (Erie at Fisherman's Wharf).

Pedestrian Improvements proposed for 2019-2021 are in five main areas: crosswalks, sidewalks, pedestrian signals, bus shelters, and implementation of the Neighbourhood Transportation Management Plan. The city installs or upgrades four crosswalks a year at more than $60,000 each. Repairs and/or replacements of sidewalks occurs at a rate of approximately 500 meters a year at a cost of $375,000. Assessments and evaluations are ongoing. $35,000 is budgeted for pedestrian signals each year (none in James Bay in 2018 – 2020 period.) There are 104 shelters amongst the 450 bus stops in the city. Four new shelters ($30,000) are added annually (2018 – two Fernwood, two Hillside/Quadra;) (2019 and 2020 to be determined). Traffic calming issues raised through the Local Area Planning process are prioritized according to safety and vulnerability of road users (speed reader boards, crosswalks, etc). Transportation Projects identified for 2019-2021 include the design of the Beacon Hill Park bike path connector, and balustrade replacement on Dallas Road. Paving Dallas Road (Lewis to Government) is indicated in 2021.

The city welcomes comments on the proposed transportation projects for 2019 onwards.

A subsequent Q and A revealed that the City of Victoria does not receive a share of revenues or fees paid to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority by the cruise-ship lines. Joint programs with neighbouring municipalities occur at the staff level where cost savings can be realized.

Waste bins for dog waste, specifically the loss of bins on Michigan and Toronto and South Park School, were raised as an issue. Stratford agreed to look into this and subsequently informed in an email that the garbage bin on Toronto Street (removed with the bus stop) was to be replaced on Friday, April 13. City staff will walk the harbour pathway to note where garbage bins are needed and determine how to resource these expenses. The question regarding dedicated dog waste bins has been forwarded to the Assistant Director of Public Works for costing and to see how/when this expense could be accommodated in the budget.

The current project on Belleville Street is paving. The City is still working on bike lane access for the James Bay area. No bike lanes are planned for Belleville at this time.

Transit Route – Changes & Comments:

BC Transit has planned changes to the routes in James Bay in April and June. These changes, in response to concerns raised about recent Transit bus rerouting, will rectify some issues:

  • tightening of schedule timing should increase and improve evening and peak service levels;
  • several bus stop improvements are scheduled for James Bay (shelters on Niagara, concrete pads poured at Douglas and Simcoe, and Superior and Montreal);
  • the layover at Erie should be eliminated after dismantling the temporary wastewater road detours. 

Remaining Problems:

  • Menzies (north of Simcoe) – this stop remains problematic as it creates a blind corner. Moving the stop a few feet to the north would require a new concrete pad to be poured in order for the stop to remain accessible. BC Transit will forward this problem to the City as this is a City of Victoria responsibility.
  • Dallas at Simcoe and Ontario - counter-clockwise bus routing places stops on the south side of Dallas. Without adequate cross-walks it can be very difficult to cross Dallas to reach a stop, particularly for those using mobility aids. BC Transit will forward this comment to the City of Victoria as they are responsible for cross-walks.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association was held on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 prior to the regular monthly meeting. The following two-year term positions were elected: Marg Gardiner (President), Wayne Shillington (Treasurer by acclamation), Bob Vander Steen (Director at Large), and Tim VanAlstine (Director at Large). Laura Neil (Secretary) and Linda Carlson (Vice-President) each have one year remaining in two-year terms.

Next Month: Join us at 7pm on May 9, 2018 at 234 Menzies Street (location of New Horizons) Mayor Lisa Helps will discuss the wastewater conveyance line and the impact of the Dallas Road redesign on residents following a CALUC meeting on a rezoning proposal for 334 Dallas Road.

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