Submitted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association February 15, 2017 – an evening of varied presentations at the James Bay Neighbourhood Association General Meeting.

Fisherman’s Wharf

A Memorandum of Understanding between Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) and the JBNA requires that a Community Meeting be convened to consult on developments at Fisherman’s Wharf; it is part of the process whereby community concerns are forwarded to the City for consideration during the City’s review of the development permit application.

Plans for the development of a new two storey float-home at Dock C, Fisherman’s Wharf were presented by the Homeowners Representative. The new two bedroom two bath home will replace an ageing one storey structure. Although the proposed float home meets GVHA height and distance between homes requirements many neighbours expressed concern at the overall size. The design has been altered through consultation, re-positioned sundeck to reduce shadowing on the smaller float home to the north, reduced overhang over the dock, window sizes reduced and width of the home reduced from 22’ to 21’.

Neighbours questioned size and stability, suggesting that the new build bears no relationship to existing homes and does not respect design guidelines of GVHA. Shadowing from the new float will impact surrounding floats, cutting off the winter solar heat capture many of them currently enjoy. Others were concerned at the precedent set for larger, more expensive float homes and that GVHA height standards were not intended to include the entire length of the float home.

Further comment should be addressed to Jim Handy of City Planning who will oversee the Development permit process and assess the proposal against the Fisherman’s Wharf Design Guidelines.

Green Shores Program

Jody Watson of the Capital Regional District made a presentation on behalf of the Green Shores Local Government Working Group. Green Shores, an initiative of the Stewardship Centre for BC, has developed a range of environmental standards for shoreline stewardship for homeowners and commercial development projects. This volunteer initiative is based on four guiding principles: preserve and restore physical processes at the shoreline, maintain or enhance habitat function and diversity, reduce pollutants, and avoid various cumulative effects that may impact coastal environments.

The website points out that Green Shores for Coastal Development is not applicable to major industrial developments (ie. ports or marinas) so don't expect to see either Ogden Point or the Victoria International Marina in their list of success stories.

The presentation focused on potential opportunities for Heron Cove. One of the few remaining pocket beaches on the harbour, it has high ecological value for marine life, and birds and mammals while offering a range of wildlife viewing opportunities. Riparian Zone protection/enhancement include potential for a five meter wide riparian area planted with native vegetation for 50% of site and the removal of invasive species.

Green Shores is advising on site design, the siting of permanent structures, and removal of existing hardened shoreline structures. New bridge footings will make use of surfacing that enhances the restoration of a native oyster settlement. Every effort will be made to retain critical habitat, incorporating a marsh beach in the intertidal flat with reef balls and eelgrass. Bird and fish friendly lighting will allow light to pass through the bridge surface to prevent shadowing on the water. The cove presents an excellent opportunity for public access outreach, interpretive signage and education to improve shoreline habitat.

Harbour Pathway and Heron Cove Engineering/Planning

Representatives from the City presented updates on current and planned projects for the Harbour pathway.

- 2016 – 2018 Project: Wayfinding signage\Belleville St improvements.

- Harbour pathway connections at Reeson Park and Johnson St Bridge.

- Heron Cove - tender process underway for pedestrian bridges to be constructed in winter of 2017.

- Belleville conceptual design development this year with new mid-block crossing, construction to commence after the 2017 tourist season.

Heron Cove Bridge - Invasive species removed and native species planted, interpretive signage designed and installed, retaining wall to be removed from inside Cove area and a safe kayak access is to be created. Shoreline design and access is governed by the Federal Dept of Fisheries and the BC Ministry of Environment. The shore line is a bird/wildlife sanctuary – an ideal location to develop educational signage. Public art to be installed in partnership with First Nations as well as a poem created by Victoria's Poet Laureate.

Comments made about the area near the pathway and Fisherman's Wharf included the problem of the three-way stop at Superior/St Lawrence which has to be addressed as the curb-to-road drop on the west side does not match up with either the north or south sidewalk on the east side.

Short-term Vacation Rentals (Airbnb)

City representatives from Housing Policy & By-law Services presented a process for developing regulations regarding long term rental accommodation versus short-term vacation rentals.

Following a June 2016 comparative analysis and developing options for regulations in October 2016, Council will examine enforcement options in spring 2017 and plan to introduce bylaw changes late in 2017.

The city currently defines a Short Term Vacation Rental as one to 30 days in length, but there is no bylaw. A policy and regulations outlining allowable Short Term Vacation Rental (STVR) is being developed.

Multi-unit buildings without transient zoning will not be permitted to offer STVR accommodation. Properties with existing transient zoning will be permitted to offer STVR accommodation but, in the future, properties zoned transient will not be permitted to offer STVR accommodation. Transient Zoning is now permitted in most of the downtown core, along Belleville Street, and along the Vic West harbour shore.

In the case of single family dwellings(SFD), entire homes, secondary or garden suites will not be permitted to rent as STVR. One to two bedrooms within an occupied SFD will be permitted as STVR.

Over the coming months the city will be considering enforcement options and bylaws, holding public hearings, develop a communications strategy and implement new regulations. A comment was made that there are currently more short term rentals than long term rentals in the city and that the City needs to do more homework before implementing a policy. 

Who You Gonna' Trust

The proposed wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point will have on-going impact on James Bay residents - impacts not disclosed to residents at the January 11, JBNA meeting. The JBNA has requested that the McLoughlin Point plant noise operations level be lowered to 45-50dBA, and that the odour level be lowered to 1 OU. These requests reflect leading international requirements, rather than the levels implemented 10-20 years ago. The JBNA also question what appears to be a missing consideration: use of the sea-bed, rather than the potentially destructive and most disruptive land route for laying pipe. Why have geo-scientists or ocean specialists not been consulted?

While CRD Management committee spoke about communities and neighbourhoods, the discussion has been municipality based. The impacts, needs, and expectations of residents of James Bay have not been addressed as they have been for residents of Esquimalt and Fairfield.  

The City and the CRD have failed to consider important James Bay issues: construction impacts along Dallas Road, erosion of the Dallas Road bluffs, continuous loud noise at the drilling site next to Ogden Point, pipe assembly along Niagara Street, and potential loss of parking, not to mention on-going noise and odour from the completed plant.   

Shakespeare “Year of Lear”

Steve Duck, Executive Director and Rob Light, Artistic Director, both of Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts introduced the up-coming season’s offerings at Fisherman's Wharf Park. In addition to offering the 'Year of Lear' from June 29 to August 20, Thursday at 7pm and Saturday 2pm and 7pm, Shakespeare by the Sea will offer “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare' Fridays at 7pm and Sundays at 2pm & 7pm.

Theatre training for youth will be offered every Saturday & Sunday morning from 10am to noon between June 29 and Aug 20. The tent will be made available to non-profit performing arts groups at no cost on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays during the run. James Bay residents who walk, cycle, or use public transit to the site will have their ticket fees discounted

Next Month

Join your neighbours for the March 8 General Meeting at James Bay New Horizons. Note the new start time - 6:45pm.

Two-three presentations are scheduled including a land use development proposal for Albion House, 224 Superior Street. Other presentations are not yet confirmed as the CRD Wastewater Project Team has not confirmed their follow through with a second presentation. Please check for the final agenda at