Fernwood Update for May: from City of Victoria

What is Happening in Your Neighbourhood?

Biketoria Cycling Path
Following approval in a Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday May 5, on May 12, City Council will consider approval of an All Ages and Abilities (AAA) cycling route which will provide over 24 kilometres of enhanced bicycle infrastructure. The cycling network would be implemented over four phases with each one including further consultation with the businesses and residents along each route to help refine the detailed design of the bicycle facilities.

Within the existing budget of 7.75 million, the implementation strategy contemplates building a minimum grid of 5.4 km of protected bike lanes in the downtown core by the end of 2018. The minimum grid will provide safe facilities where there is high demand for active transportation infrastructure and be comparable to the amount of fully protected bicycle lanes in downtown Vancouver (5.6 km excluding Burrard Bridge) and downtown Calgary (5.5 km). The recommended bicycle network is composed of eight corridors which have been recognized as short term priorities for construction to connect neighbourhoods and urban villages to a minimum grid of all ages and abilities bicycle facilities in the downtown core.

The first AAA corridor to be built will be Pandora Avenue this summer. This corridor will provide a fully protected two-way bicycle facility from Store Street to Cook Street connecting the communities of Fernwood, North Park, Harris Green, Downtown and Vic West in addition to major employment districts and the Capital Regional District regional trails.

Phase 1 of the proposed implementation strategy includes the following corridors to be advanced for additional consultation, detailed design and construction:

• Fort Street (Wharf Street to Cook Street)
• Government Street (Pandora Avenue to Belleville Street) or Wharf Street (Pandora Avenue to where Wharf Street joins   Government Street in front of the Empress Hotel) based on targeted engagement with local stakeholders
• Humboldt / Pakington (Government Street to Cook Street)
• Cook Street (Pandora Avenue to Pakington Street)

While approved in principle during a Committee of the Whole meeting on May 5, Council must approve the proposed cycling network in a Council Meeting on May 12.

Community and Land Use Committee (CALUC) Process Meetings
The next meeting will take place on May 17 in City Hall from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Songhees Room. Dinner will be provided. The purpose of this series of meetings is to review the CALUC Processes and Terms of Reference.

More detailed info on Biketoria on City website.

Heritage Register Update
The City of Victoria is updating its heritage register and has identified 50 candidate properties across six neighbourhoods for addition to the register. The City has requested a representative from each neighbourhood attend an information session where there will be a short presentation about the City’s heritage program and register, followed by a roundtable discussion. The meeting for Fernwood and James Bay neighbourhoods will be held on Thursday May 26, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at James Bay Community School. Contact Adrian Brett, Heritage Planner at abrett@victoria.ca.

Camping Prohibition in Parks
Council reviewed and approved a staff report to close Kings, Haegert, Arbutus and Cridge Parks to camping. First, Second and Third Readings of the bylaw will be on the May 12, 2016 Council agenda. The final reading and adoption of the bylaw will occur on May 26, 2016.

Proposed Improvements to Pembroke Street from Belmont Avenue to Forbes Street
On Thursday May 19 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. staff will be sharing proposed sidewalk improvements with the community for feedback. Staff will be engaging residents’ right onsite (Pembrooke Street between Belmont Avenue to Forbes Street). The sidewalk improvements are part of the 2016 capital improvements and will be introduced this fall.

A City for Youth, Designed by Youth
A Youth Engagement Team of ten young people ranging in ages from 12-24 has been appointed by the City of Victoria to engage their peers in the community as well as identify innovative, meaningful approaches for youth to become more involved in shaping the place they live.

Starting in May, this team will be busy facilitating creative approaches to engage their peers in significant dialogue and will work towards completing a first draft of the strategy this summer. Each member of the team will receive a $1,000 honorarium for their efforts.

Strategic Grant Program
The 2016 Strategic Plan Grants were presented to Council on April 27. Council will make their decision on the applications at a special Council meeting on May 12 (deferred from May 5). Successful applicants will be contacted shortly thereafter.

Great Neighbourhood Grants
The My Great Neighbourhood grant program will be discussed by Council Thursday, May 12. If approved, information will be posted on the City’s website regarding the opening of the application process which is anticipated to begin in mid-May.

The grant program will provide up to $5,000 towards community projects which connect neighbours and create a physical legacy in a neighbourhood. The community must match the contribution made by the City through one or a combination of volunteer labour, donated services, donated materials and supplies and other funds raised. Successful applicants would receive the funds this summer and will have six months to complete their project.

Council Meetings
Committee of the Whole meets every Thursday at 9:00 a.m. Council meetings are held every other Thursday evening (May 12 and 26) at 6:30 p.m. Links to meeting agendas will be forwarded to neighbourhood associations as they become available.

Neighbourhood Issues
The following topics were raised by the Fernwood Community Association (FCA) Board at their meeting.

1. Stormwater Presentation
The Board suggested that, instead of a presentation to the Board, it would be more effective to a community event. It was suggested that participation in Fernfest (June 18) might be a good opportunity.

2. City Communication
The Chair stated that there was concern expressed at a recent VCAN meeting that there is a need for better communication from the City. The Parks Master Plan and a recent visit by Mark Lakeman to James Bay and Fairfield were cited as examples.

3. Pembroke Sidewalk
The FCA had not received a copy of the invitation to participate in the meeting for property owners for the sidewalk design on Pembroke Street. There had been some confusion about the email address and a copy has now been sent to the FCA.

4. Heritage Register Update
The request for participation in this initiative has been forwarded to the FCA’s Land Use Committee.

About the Author:

President of the FCA since 2006.