The Board of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA) appreciates the opportunity to respond to Ms Adams’ concerns and to clarify the situation she has raised.
The JBNA is responsible to the City of Victoria for conducting the City’s Community Association Land Use Committee (CALUC) processes when rezoning is being proposed in our neighbourhood. That process sets out timelines to which the JBNA must adhere. As a result, CALUC processes are given priority on our monthly meeting agendas. We do not want to limit the time for residents to ask questions or comment about rezoning and, as a result, we may limit the remaining time allocated on the agenda. In addition to CALUCs, other topics of broad community interest are included on our monthly meeting agendas. In recent months the following topics and presenters have been on a meeting agenda:
How land use applications are processed by the City of Victoria;
Laurel Point Remediation Project;
Canada Coast Guard and Department of Fisheries and Oceans update on changes to Huron Coast Guard base; and
City Climate Leadership Plan.
In addition to planned agenda items, we have an opportunity at many monthly meetings to hear community voices. Occasionally we receive a request from a resident to make a presentation at the meeting under this agenda item. At her request, Ms Adams was placed on the agenda of our March 2018 general meeting to discuss tenancy issues in James Bay.
The JBNA invites members to form committees on relevant topics of interest to the neighbourhood. All committees have terms of reference so the board can understand the committee’s purpose and ensure the proposed committee would fit within the JBNA’s mandate. In recent months, the JBNA board has received interest in creating two new committees: in one case the individual provided the draft terms of reference and recruit volunteers to serve on the committee. In the case that is subject of Ms Adams’ letter, we asked for clarification and draft terms of reference so that the board could consider the request to form a JBNA committee. We also provided examples of terms of reference for the suggested committee, and therefore the request has not moved forward.
Other aspects of Ms Adams’ letter have misquoted correspondence from the board of the JBNA. For example, Ms Adams reports that the JBNA said “that raising rental housing matters within the organization was divisive, and incompatible with aims and values of the organization.” More accurately, the board cautioned that the characterization of residents into renters or owners might be misinterpreted as being divisive. Ms Adams is welcome to share our letter to her so that others can read what was said.
Finally, it is important to note that the JBNA does not make a distinction between home owner, leaser, or renter. All James Bay residents, regardless of their domestic circumstances, are welcomed and encouraged to become involved with JBNA.
Board members are elected to their positions at annual general meetings. Voting membership is retained by attending two meetings per year. Any member is good standing can be nominated for election to the board. As well, if a member believes changes to the constitution and/or bylaws are warranted, the member can submit proposed changes for consideration at the annual general meeting. This includes the ability to propose changes to the way in which membership is determined. Thus far the membership has not deemed it essential to ask those seeking positions to declare their residential status.
James Bay is fortunate to have so many creative and committed residents who are actively involved in the community and share a desire to work together for the benefit of the neighbourhood.
The Board of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association