James Bay Neighbourhood Association

Submitted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association

Two transportation surveys were introduced at the September 2016 general monthly meeting of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA).

The first survey by BC Transitwill assist with formation of a local BC Transit plan for James Bay and an overall 25 year plan for the region. This initial public consultation process will gather a first round of community comments and initiate discussions in the community regarding transit requirements needs within and to/from James Bay. Routing recommendations proposed in spring 2017 will be implemented in fall 2017. Currently five routes service James Bay carrying 1700 rides daily. Some bus runs are at ten minute intervals, but most are 15 minute intervals. BC Transit has heard expressions of interest for better connections to 5-corners and increased evening and weekend service. An onboard/online survey for riders will be conducted in early 2017 and additional focussed workshops are planned within the community.

The 2nd survey, organized by the JBNA Active Transportation Committee, Bikes and Beyond, will survey Cycling and Pedestrian requirements in James Bay. The survey will provide information to support a JBNA initiative to make it easier and safer for everyone to get around James Bay. It is directed to both James Bay residents and those who regularly come into James Bay for employment. This survey complements the BC Transit survey which will examine resident needs for transit within James Bay and the routing to and from James Bay.

James Bay is a geographically confined “walkable” community where residents and visitors walk or cycle to and from their daily activities. However, competing transportation modes often conflict; many sidewalks and intersections are impeded, forcing those with mobility aids to use the roadways; parents feel it unsafe to have their young children cycle to school. The Motor Vehicle Act for BC prohibits the use of bicycles on sidewalks across the province. James Bay has a large seniors population, with 37% of residents over 60 years of age.

By assessing the needs of those who use our sidewalks and streets, be they pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, scooter-users and/or motorists, JBNA hopes to make recommendations by March 2017 for a plan that involves all stakeholders regarding local streets and sidewalks.

JBNA and BC Transit will be sharing survey results. Completed surveys may be deposited in collection boxes throughout James Bay.

The JBNA survey is in this issue of the James Bay Beacon and both surveys can be found on-line:

JBNA “Getting around” survey: . Look for the bright red button.

Or direct to survey at 

BC Transit survey: .

BC Transit is currently reviewing the Douglas Street terminal. The city has indicated they will have clearer transportation plan, by 2018, hopefully one that also considers horse and buggies, trolleys, large semi’s, and tour buses.

Development Proposal:

345 Quebec Street, Harbour Towers rezoning

The owner of Harbour Towers is considering a change of use for the building because of the extensive work required to rejuvenate the building and extend its life expectancy for another 30 yrs. The building is currently zoned transient residential/hotel and they are considering rezoning to residential for rental apartments. The 13 storey, 189 room hotel with conference and office space, was built in 1972. There have been no major upgrades in the last 20 years.

The current proposal is for 219 rental units: twenty 300 sq. ft units, forty 350-425 sq. ft units, with the remainder one and two bedroom and penthouse units. The lower level will include 219 bike stalls, 179 car stalls, and storage spaces for all suites (either in-suite storage or in the parking levels of the building).

The proposed renovation will include stripping the interior of the building down to bare concrete and replacing the building envelope including windows, balconies, etc. The renovation will bring the building as close to the current building standards as possible, although not to current codes. A seismic upgrade is neither feasible nor required. A more inviting “residential” façade is envisioned along Quebec Street and an 'internal' pedestrian street will separate two-storey units from the existing tower. The 24 space parking lot to the west, which will include visitor parking, is included in the total count of parking spaces.

The earliest possible construction date would be late 2017 with construction over 20 months.

Parking and traffic flow continue to be of concern. Off-street parking is an issue but existing limited space must be shared with bike stalls and storage units. The proposal now suggests parking at 0.81 per unit, although apparently the city is now suggesting a revised 0.78 per unit parking will be established for James Bay. It is not possible to change access to the underground parking on the existing building. Long-standing and worsening traffic issues associated with traffic loads on Oswego and Superior Streets are on great concern.

Current residential rental vacancy rate in Victoria is 0.6%. 24% of condos in Greater Victoria Regional District (GVRD) are rentals. 


The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) continues to host meetings and open houses regarding the OGDEN POINT MASTERPLAN. Many concerns of residents remain un-addressed.

Victoria has been selected to host a capital region casino. BC lottery will soon be selecting the company to operate a casino in Victoria. By January, we expect the operator to be negotiating / partnering with landowners of potential properties. JBNA has asked the GVHA Board to make a public statement that a casino development will not be permitted at Ogden Point. GVHA has failed to do so.


With the close of tent city, campers and tenters are frequenting parks in James Bay, particularly Irving and Beacon Hill parks. The City response to a request to ensure that James Bay does not become the next tent city was disappointing. In 2015, and again in 2016, as Council considered making four of the city's parks camping-free, JBNA requested that James Bay parks be given the same consideration. We are not aware of any discussion.


The City has amended the Official Community Plan to accommodate marijuana outlets, and urban food productions, foods stands and greenhouses.

Heather Street

The City will not be proceeding with a proposal for a limited one-way street trial on Heather Street. The proposal will be considered as part of a proposed new local area plan for James Bay to be developed by the Victoria Community Planning Department in 2018.


Recognizing that the proposed site at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt optimizes seismic risk and odour issues for residential communities in Victoria, JBNA has requested that the CRD ensure that selection criteria emphasize the need for odour control. The proposal is expected to include the conveyance of effluents from Clover Point, along Dallas Road to north of Ogden Point and across the harbour. Commitments made in 2014 include CRD built and maintained public washrooms at Clover Point, implementation of the bluffs stabilization project, and a cycling path over the underground pipes.


The JBNA board finds itself in a scheduling-crunch. Several potential developments or projects will require Public Community Meetings (CALUC process). We must plan for 2-6 community meetings over the next few months. The community review of a development/rezoning project can take anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes.

To accommodate proposals while continuing to provide information on other matters to the community, upcoming agendas may indicate an item of importance identified as time permitting. When time does not permit the presentation of the last topic, we will attempt to reschedule it to a subsequent meeting.

October Meeting

Join us for the next JBNA General Meeting: 7:00 - 9:00pm, Wednesday, October 12, 2016, at James Bay New Horizons, 234 Menzies Street.

Two CALUC presentations are scheduled: 672 Niagara and 121 Menzies Streets. Brian Scarfe will discuss the impact of 2016 Cruise Ship Traffic Volumes in James Bay.