Have you seen a rabbit in your garden?

While watering my garden Sept 16 I spotted a rabbit. The first I’ve seen in 40 years living in the same place in James Bay. I’m alarmed.

That is what dug up newly planted seedlings three days before. That is what ate the baby squash in the front yard.

I alerted my immediate neighbours. I contacted several media outlets. Why?

- because Animal Control cannot act until there are several sightings in the same area

- because people think “how cute” and don’t bother to report a sighting

- because people don’t think of the next step: out of control rabbit populations

- and we all know where that leads (remember Victoria General Hospital and more recently Helmcken & the highway).

Victoria City is promoting the growing of food - on boulevards, in front and backyards. You can’t easily keep rabbits out of a garden like you might deer.

I want people in James Bay to be on the lookout and report any rabbit sightings - for that matter, anyone in the city should report rabbit sightings. Call Animal Control at 250-414-0233.

It’s not normal to have rabbit populations in our neighbourhoods. 

STOP these animals now. I want to grow my own food.

Pat McGuire


One Hour of Your Time

Too many residents of James Bay do not have a Primary Medical Care Provider. We, at the Victoria Health Co-op, are working hard to bring additional MDs to our Co-op Health Centre at 541 Michigan. We are also working to add a Nurse Practitioner to the staff. We are convinced that this would reduce unnecessary suffering and stress, reduce the number of trips to the ER, reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalization, reduce costs for all tax payers, enable people to be healthier and happier at home rather than occupying hospital beds that could be better used by people needing acute care.

If we could bring in a Nurse Practitioner (and eventually the full range of RN, social worker, psychiatrist etc) to the Victoria Health Co-op we could add to the 5,000 patients we already serve. To receive support from the Vancouver Island Health we need to demonstrate community support.

Would you commit ONE HOUR of your time to help with a street corner survey in James Bay between Saturday September 24 and Monday Oct 3rd? If you can do this, please let me have your name. Then I will send out a schedule so that we can all work in pairs. I will provide response sheets.

ONE HOUR would be very much appreciated. 

Yours co-operatively, Vanessa Hammond, President 250.415.9272


Who speaks for those who live and work in James Bay?

By V Adams

James Bay is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city of Victoria. It is home to more than 11,000 people who reside here, and by some estimates, more than 4,000 who work here.

The neighbourhood is seeing a significant transformation reflected in the refurbishment of older rental towers and conversion of older hotels into expensive rental accommodation for tourists, students, employees or retirees. More frequently, gentrification involves the demolition of aging housing stock and its replacement by premium-priced large-scale multi-storey condo developments and displacement of long-time residents, particularly families and modest income seniors in affordable rental housing units.

Who speaks for those who live and work in James Bay, both the newcomers and those who have been here for generations?

Organizations such as James Bay Community Project, James Bay Community School, and James Bay New Horizons provide a wide range of services in health care and social services, educational programs, seniors programs to a diverse community – who speaks for them and for their needs?

James Bay Neighborhood Association, (JBNA), is a community-based organization interested in representing the views of residents concerning land use planning and development, transportation, culture and arts, parks and recreation as well as environmental matters with government and other bodies. However, this organization has been reluctant to provide a written annual report outlining its financial affairs, membership, or adherence to governance principles of transparency and accountability, and its partnerships and projects undertaken with community groups in James Bay.

In the face of unprecedented concerns over “renovictions” by more than 600 tenants in James Bay, this organization declined to put this issue on its agenda, nor participate in any public meetings on the matter. Yet, JBNA members have expressed their concerns about rental developments and their potential negative impacts on private property owners. One might conclude that perhaps this organization is a pro-developer lobby group or at the very least, the voice of vested interests - property owners who represent a third of the population.

The record of the Neighborhood Association’s positions over the years may shed further light on whose interests are being served: 

  • ·         2005 - opposed construction of a new multi-storey 113 rental unit tower on the Quadra Pacific property at 415-435 Michigan and a multi-storey 105 rental unit complex with townhouses at 350-360 Douglas (now owned by Starlight Investments) – rejected as “too big and too dense”.
  • ·         2007 - opposed inclusion of subsidized seniors’ rental units within the Vicino condo project at 225 Menzies; this five-story complex was rejected for casting shadows on nearby properties.
  • ·         2008 - did not support Emily Carr Mural public art installation on the wall between James Bay New Horizons and the Simcoe Apartments in Irving Park.
  • ·         2009 and 2016 - called on City to grant the use of Fisherman’s Wharf Park as an off-leash dog-walking area to satisfy the needs of pet owners living in nearby condos.
  • ·         2009 - called for imposition of sports and recreation user fees for all individuals and groups accessing MacDonald Park; originally opposed establishing public access community gardens in James Bay parks.
  • ·         Opposed commercial and business licenses e.g. 24/7 day operation of Thrifty’s Foods; Spinnakers Liquor license on Simcoe Street, Dollar Store in Parliament Mews, and Yuk Yuks Comedy Club, said to diminish James Bay residents’ “quality of life”.

JBNA certainly has every right to express the views of its members. But rather than declaring that they represent the voice of all James Bay residents, perhaps it should be truthful and state what concerns and whose interests this group represents.

To secure their support from community members, maybe they should ensure that the “community concerns” agenda item at their monthly meetings is not ignored due to “lack of time”.

Lastly, if the JBNA has no time to consider the concerns of all those who live and work here, perhaps it should change its name and speak for its own “special” interests, and not those of the entire neighbourhood.


Knitting knot just for “ladies”

I recently joined the James Bay New Horizons handicraft group. Being a guy, I wasn’t sure how my presence would be met by a group traditionally associated with just women. With relief I was warmly welcomed by Anne and the other members. Since then, I’ve felt no discomfort or issue from any of the members; I’m just one of the group.

Out of interest, someone gave me a copy of the September issue of the Cook Street Village Activity Centre’s Happenings newsletter. In it is a large notice for their Busy Hands Knitting Group. I was amazed and offended to read that their group is for “ladies only”. I had to check the year of publication; it was indeed 2016.

To add insult to injury, further down in the same space it states “the Centre’s Board of Directors, Staff, and Key Volunteers ... help create a welcoming community that supports diversity and rejects discrimination.”

How can such blatant sexual discrimination be supported by the Centre? I know there are a few programs and courses that are better suited to same-gender participants. However, I can’t think of a single reason why a knitting group would have to restrict their membership to women only. I strongly suggest the Cook Street Village Activity Centre’s Board of Directors and administrators review its policy on diversity and discrimination.

I’m proud to say the James Bay New Horizons handicraft group truly supports diversity and inclusion; free from discrimination. Anyone is welcome to join, just like me.


Tim McLellan