Submitted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association

Two presentations of interest and concern prompted a strong turn-out of residents to the March 8, 2017 general meeting of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA).

Change within the neighbourhood, either within a local area or community-wide, inspires discussion.

The JBNA, in its role as a Community Association Land Use Committee (CALUC), “facilitates dialogue between applicants and the community to identify issues (both positive and negative) regarding Official Community Plan amendment, rezoning, variance & liquor license applications.” The CALUC is also authorized to inform and empower neighbours through education to be involved in development application discussions, to comment on the interpretation of the relevancy of policies and to comment on the adequacy of the community consultation.

The evening`s initial CALUC presentation was for a Development Proposal for Albion Manor located at 224 Superior Street. A significant heritage structure in the neighbourhood, Albion Manor has been operated as a bed and breakfast on a double lot. The owners are proposing significant changes, adjusting the lot boundaries of the existing 222 and 224 Superior, leaving the existing heritage home at 224 Superior to become a four unit strata and creating 222 Superior as a small lot single family home development.

Conversion of the heritage home at 224 Superior to a four-unit strata, targeted at the family housing market, involves structural changes to non-original aspects of the building. The configuration of the (non-original) front entry stairs will be altered to allow room for the small lot being created. Minimal interior changes are required to bring the existing house to code for strata development. A variance to allow parking in the front yard is being sought to maximize green space. Four parking stalls along the street front, with individual green space/yards for each of the four strata units are proposed to replace the standard side yard parking.

The proposed two storey (no basement) single family home with one on-site parking space, meets the housing requirements for small lot development. Relaxation to T15 zoning is sought to allow lot area reduction to accommodate the small lot development. A jog in the lot line is proposed to increase yard space for the small lot. Front yard setback aligns with the house to the west. Shadowing effects on the west neighbour should be cleared by approximately 10 am each day, with 1 hour 22 minutes of shading in winter and 3 hours 30 minutes shading in summer.

Retention of the heritage structure and existing green space were recognized as strengths in the proposal. Conversely, the majority of the concerns expressed were in regards to green space and the parking proposal. Five units implies parking for up to ten cars in an area where street parking is already tight. Additional driveways to access the property will also reduce on-street parking.

The neighbour directly west of the proposed single family dwelling expressed concern at the shading effect of a two-storey dwelling, five feet from property line, and the impact on sunlight received through windows on the east side. A reduction of the proposed ceiling heights (ten-foot main floor and nine-foot second floor) was one of many options suggested.

Wastewater Treatment

Additional information regarding this project has come to light since the initial presention at the JBNA meeting on January 11. If it was not clear before, it is now very apparent that the project is in 'design phase.' Little has been finalized, other than agreements between the Capital Regional District (CRD) and Esquimalt, First Nations and Fairfield. The Project team seems to be happy to say one thing at a presentation and then to say something else at a later date, sometimes even on the same date. The City and the CRD seem to be satisfied with this situation. Only James Bay, and recently VicWest residents are questioning this approach.

Many of the details in the Esquimalt-CRD Agreements were not disclosed at the January 2017 JBNA meeting.

The CRD is looking for public input through their website –

A drop-in Community Information meeting scheduled for April 5 at Grand Pacific Hotel will provide details regarding the overall plan (the Plants and Ogden Point). Questions regarding routing will be discussed at another later date. Experts in all of the key domain areas will be present to answer questions.

On March 8 Dave Clancy, Project Director – CRD Wastewater Project Team, presented information on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Project: James Bay sub-projects.

Residents questioned:

- repeated assurances of standards for zero noise and odour from the plant, only to hear at a subsequent meeting that less stringent ('a standard that is common in facilities of this complexity') were the design goal.

- fifty-plus semi-trailers hauling equipment into James Bay on city streets but this equipment cannot be barged?

- mitigation strategies to deal with plant noise echoing off the Esquimalt Bluff towards James Bay fielded the following response: “We are updating the noise dispersion studies now.”

- conflicting responses regarding the welding of pipes - “We are still in the design phase. ... I can firm up on welding vs HDPE – both are being considered.”

- effect on property values given the two-year construction period, and what effects this will have on the housing market.

A study by the City of Victoria, (KWL Project No. 809.046, October 12, 2011) describes the geotechnical vulnerability of the Dallas Bluffs that will continue to erode and retreat in a natural unstoppable way. The Dallas Bluffs are endangered by constructing the proposed wastewater pipeline from Clover Point to Ogden Point under Dallas Road.

The efforts if the JBNA Chair and Board were lauded, with a resident stating “We are also dealing with misinformation presented to our city officials that subverts the democratic process. … I am concerned about odour and noise – we are now stuck with 5OU and 60dBA outside the plant.”

Other comments, upon hearing that the project has hired a communications company: “We no longer trust the information we are receiving – it is not forthright. We have had to deal with plenty of PR from large organizations recently – it does not work. We are very worried about the messaging ...” “I think the CRD could do a lot better than this to build trust. Aim higher in your standards, don’t just go with what everyone else does.”

We were left with the feeling that no one at the CRD seems to represent the issues of the James Bay community.

Wastewater Dates of Note:

- March 30, 7pm Community Information Meeting Coast Victoria Hotel, 146 Kingston

- April 5, 5 – 8pm, Hotel Grand Pacific, Vancouver Island Ballroom, 463 Belleville Street

A CRD drop-in information meeting regarding Construction at Ogden Point and McLoughlin Point.

The CRD is inviting public input through

Next Month

- April 12th - The JBNA AGM will take place on Wednesday, April 12, 6:15pm (time to be confirmed). All welcome although only “voting members” may vote. The general meeting which follows will begin with the roll-out of the Douglas Street Visioning project, the presentation of a new look to Douglas Street, from Belleville to Dallas Road. A CALUC review of Embassy Inn (520 Menzies) will follow. Other agenda items may be added. The final agenda will be posted on the website at

- April 26 - Tentative date for Provincial Election All-Candidatesmeeting. Stay tuned.