JBNA: Pre-school and Daycare Proposal City Climate Change Plan

JBNA: Pre-school and Daycare Proposal City Climate Change Plan

Submitted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association

City staff discussed development of the city's climate leadership plan with James Bay residents at the June 13, 2018 monthly meeting of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA) after a brief CALUC meeting.

The CALUC (Community Association Land Use Committee) meeting was convened to discuss a change of use for 205 Simcoe Street. The proposal by Kayla McBride and Marley Cummings is to operate the Blue Heron Montessori Pre-School on the second floor of the James Bay Athletic Club at 205 Simcoe Street. The proposal requires a change in the text of the existing zoning to include “childcare for 16 children”. No actual changes are planned for the building. The space was occupied by a pre-school in the past and Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) has approved the space as suitable. The interior is light and bright with enough bathrooms for children. The location is excellent.

The pre-school plans to employ two full-time staff and provide spaces for 16 children (2 ½ to 5 years of age) 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, from September to June. They have a 10-month lease (closing for two months in the summer) with an option to renew. The lease will give the pre-school use of the building 24 hours a day from Monday to Friday. There will be no weekday events at the building. The James Bay Athletic Association will still use the facility on weekends and for two months in the summer. The school will also have use of 11 on-site parking spaces Monday to Friday with drop off from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. and pick up from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

The pre-school is currently applying to VIHA for a license to operate. They plan to open in September 2018 with eight children. Once VIHA issues a license the pre-school will provide spaces for a maximum of 16 children. The for-profit, licensed pre-school will be an incorporated business. Blue Heron Montessori Pre-school has identified a shortfall of daycare and pre-school spaces in the community and hopes to fill that gap.

The pre-school plans to contact the Montreal Street Community Garden so that the children can have benefit of and experience the adjacent garden. They hope to enhance the next door infant daycare to provide a seamless service for infant to school age children. There was general support for the proposal given the limited number of pre-school spaces in the community.

City Climate Leadership Plan:

Jess Dawe, Manager, Energy & Climate Action and Steve Young, Climate and Environmental Sustainability Specialist, City of Victoria.

The City’s draft climate action plan has an aspirational goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80 per cent with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050. The plan will be updated in five years. There are currently no short-terms goals. The city is setting out broad goals to lessen the impact of GHG. Transportation, residential buildings, and commercial buildings appear to make up 72 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the City. Recent resident consultation has been augmented with expert opinion and the experience of municipalities already implementing climate action plans. Following staff analysis, the plan will be refined and updated for presentation to Council. City staff will then return to communities to present the revised plan and to review best strategies to achieve outcomes.

Comments and questions:

There was a general feeling that more specific targets are needed to ensure success of the proposal. Council should identify concrete targets and the next elected council should report on what has been achieved over the previous four years. Sustainable mobility action will be coming back to city for comment and a sustainable waste management strategy are both scheduled for this year.

Older homes versus new builds will have to be taken into consideration. It was suggested that the city consider creation of financial incentives encouraging passive solar homes. Resources to assist residents with environmental planning was also suggested

The city plans to work with BC Transit to improve infrastructure for public transit, work with CRD residents to reduce single occupancy car use, and increase available charging stations for electric cars. The reported percentage for car emissions was developed from standard protocols that enable cities to compare emissions. Sources of information: number of vehicles registered for Victoria (from ICBC); how far vehicles travel annually; CRD origin of destination data; and make estimates of carbon emissions and fuel stats from province (quantity of fuel sold). The pros and cons of various fuel systems and economic costs were considered by James Bay residents: diesel vs electric cars vs hydrogen-fuel, and initial outlay vs ease of maintenance and upkeep. The city is working with CRD to look at electric vehicles and collaborating with other municipalities on issues, although not all municipalities have staff designated for this function.

The environmental impact of tourism on this community and how the city plans to deal with that impact was discussed. The problems of fumes from floatplanes and old buses, not up to the standards for emission control of hydrogen or electric powered buses, were mentioned. The city needs to measure the impact of tourism on residents when considering the climate action plan. The chair noted that James Bay suffers the impact of more transportation modes than other areas of city.

Although the focus of the current climate plan has been on transportation, a section on adaptation addresses the impact of climate on the urban forest and discusses appropriate replacement tree species. The City Parks Department has an inventory of trees, including tree and species counts, as well as age and condition; they hope to engage with the private sector and homeowners regarding replacement, in anticipation of climate change.

Although the urban forest plan has been approved by council, city staff are apparently encouraging solid surface pavement/concrete in new construction rather than permeable surfaces. The evening's speakers agreed that natural processes for drainage should be considered in new developments.

Composting is inconsistent throughout CRD. Some municipalities use the green bins to compost garden waste as well as food. Others do not. Downtown businesses are now required to compost although mis-managed composting may be responsible for a reported invasion of rats in the downtown core. There is no recycling in James Bay for fluorescent lights and related items. Staff  noted the complexity of these issues.

Storm water management through retention of rain water was suggested to augment current summer water conservation efforts. Information should be available to residents regarding the best greenery to plant to filter both air and storm water.

The decision to cease use of single-use plastic bags predated the climate action plan. The suit brought against the city by the Retail Council of Canada was dismissed by the courts on June 19.

Join your neighbours at this summer's JBNA meetings for discussions regarding land use in James Bay. On July 11, Miko Betanzo, the city planner assigned to James Bay, will discuss the city's process for development issues. On August 8 Transport Canada will discuss remediation at Laurel Point. The tentative agenda for September 12 includes a CRD team to discuss the Dallas Road ForceMain Conveyance project.

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