Submitted by the James Bay Beacon Blogs Editorial Board
Since the launch of the James Bay Beacon Blogs in September, we have appreciated submissions from several writers on a variety of topics including local issues and special interest stories as well as topics of a more reflective nature.
Recently, we have received a number of phone calls and emails regarding the content of certain blog postings, and feel that it might be helpful to authors, readers and commentators to clarify what is a blog and what is “blogging” all about?
A blog is a shared online journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences, views, reviews of products or services, or indeed post information on topics of special interest. It may also be used as a tool to provide and disseminate late breaking news, and as an online gathering place for commentary or discussion.
Unlike websites with static pages, blogs are dynamic sites whose content is updated frequently. An animated and creative medium, blogging has become a convenient and timely online communication tool. Blogs are designed to be an interactive forum in which online journalists (called bloggers) are invited to post their views and information about a topic of special interest or perhaps an issue of public interest. These postings may consist, among other things, of personal views or essays on a variety of topics, annotated reference material (often embedded source documents or links to other information sources), photographs, audio files and perhaps even video clips (such as those found on popular websites like “YouTube” etc.)
Blogs can offer a place to present individual views, comments, discussions, and debates on any given topic. Often they may act as a catalyst for communication sharing between different age groups, people from different ethnic backgrounds and geographic locations, not to mention those representing different social strata or work experience. Blogs often offer thought-provoking reading and as such, invite readers to comment on the content presented by an author (i.e. blogger). Those who wish to do more than comment on a specific topic are also invited to create and to post their own views in response to a matter previously discussed by another blogger, or in answer to a question posed by a commentator or another writer.
Blogs can therefore take a personal or a professional approach, allowing authors flexibility in expressing their personality as well as their own tone and style of writing (provided that they abide by the content guidelines established by the online publisher). In each case, for example, the written material submitted to our online publication, was reviewed by the James Bay Beacon Blogs Editorial Board to ensure that it conformed to our “Guidelines for Posting Contributions and Comments”.
Through online journaling (called blogging), both readers and writers have a unique opportunity to cultivate a living social community, (albeit in this case the online James Bay Beacon Blogs), as well as in person (where you may enjoy good company and great conversation over a cup of coffee at one of our many fine community cafes). It is in this vein that we look forward to receiving contributions and commentaries from everyone – whether you are living, working or simply visiting our neck of the woods…the more the merrier as they say.
In closing, we hope that the James Bay Beacon Blogs will, with your keen interest, nurturing assistance and invaluable support, become a place to share the rich cultural and social heritage of our community, a place that welcomes different perspectives on matters of public interest and remains open to alternative points of points of view on issues, as well as a place that is pleased to showcase the treasury of talent in our midst – all of which give our neighborhood a unique flavor all its own.
By Josie Bannerman
A mystery ship, Oceanlady was escorted to Ogden Point Saturday October 17 by Canadian military and police officials. Google searches on the name of the vessel, and its International Maritime Number (IMO) turn up no information about it at all. The ship is rumoured to be carrying migrants from Sri Lanka.
Times Colonist - Smuggling suspected ship seized Ogden Point
BBC - Report on the Ocean Lady
Officials were aware of this ship for several days before they brought it into port. Since Ogden Point is adjacent to a residential area, we assume (but have not yet confirmed), they believed it posed no immediate danger to our community.
If you have been able to discover any information about this ship through internet or other searches, or have questions you would like us to pursue, please let us know by responding to this post. This is a story of international interest taking place in James Bay.
- Hotel Grand Pacific - Dinner for Two
- Fairmont Empress Hotel - High Tea for Two
- Butchart Gardens - Admission for Two
- Craigdarroch Castle - 4 Admissions
- Royal Wax Museum - 4 Admissions
- Heron Rock Bistro - Lunch for Two
- James Bay Thrifty Food Gift Card
- James Bay Serious Coffee - Gift Card
- Chateau Victoria Hotel - Accommodation for 1 night
- Victoria Symphony - 2 Tickets
- McPherson Playhouse & Royal Theatre - 2 Tickets to "The Secret Garden" Ballet in November
- Prince of Whales "Wale Watching" - Tour for 2
- Roger's Chocholates Gift Package
- The Wickaninnish Inn (The Point Restaurant) in Tofino - Lunch for 4
- Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa & Resort in Parksville - 1 night's accommodation and 2 "Grotto Spa" passes
- Victoria Salmon Kings - 2 Tickets to one season opener weekend game
By V. Adams
35th Anniversary of James Bay New Horizons Activity Centre – A page from the history of a venerable Victorian neighborhood
On September 18, 2009, the James Bay New Horizons Society, (representing retired individuals and those wishing to become more actively involved in the life of their community), celebrated their 35th anniversary.
According to Walt Frazer, the historian behind “The James Bay New Horizons Story 1973-1984”, the impetus for change began during the recessionary period of the 1970s. Property developers saw an opportunity to access federal government “urban renewal funds” as a way to build high-rise apartments that could accommodate an influx of senior citizens (who were emigrating from the prairies and elsewhere to escape the bitterly cold winter climate). Through this community infrastructure enhancement initiative, many of the dilapidated homes were replaced with affordable rental accommodation in what was once considered a “depressed neighborhood”.
Thanks to the convergence of an increased demand for accommodation as well as increased demands for economic, social and recreational services together with the availability of taxpayer support, the James Bay neighborhood became a petri dish for the development of innovative community health and social service projects as well as the establishment of unique community assets like the James Bay New Horizons Activity Centre.
With financial assistance from the Department of National Health and Welfare to the tune of one million dollars, as well as support from the James Bay United Church and the James Bay Community Association, the newly settled seniors established the “New Horizons” group. This organization took up a number of valuable projects including the writing of the history of the neighborhood, developing a sense of pride in the community through the beautification and clean up projects in the area (including garden clubs and well as indoor/balcony gardens and erecting the City’s first bus shelter), establishing a food and nutrition club, organizing walking and bus tours, publishing a community newsletter, fostering discussion groups and supporting other community organizations, not to mention providing additional recreational activities for retired people such as social gatherings, pot luck dinners and seasonal celebrations.
Clearly, one of the most pressing matters of the day was to search for a new home, as accommodations for meetings were rather scarce during the early years. It wasn’t until 1974 that the City stepped in to offer space in the south corner of Irving Park. However, concerns expressed by green space conservationists and environmentalists about building in the park threatened this novel plan. Meanwhile the New Horizons group a year later found temporary space in the basement at the Cathedral School on Niagara Street.
During this time, the 234 Menzies Street property owner realized that it was an opportune moment to sell his property to the city for $80,000, and the rest they say is history. The City now had a feasible way to offer this small parcel of civic land to the James Bay seniors group, and to support their efforts to construct a new facility. The initial phase of construction included a utility room, storage space, a reception, office and lounge area, a cloak room and washrooms, in addition to an auditorium that could accommodate 150 people.
In the fall of 1980, New Horizons (whose membership had grown to 1,000), approached the City to expand the original facility, through a cost-shared proposal: 60 per cent of the upgrading would financed by the Federal and Provincial governments, while the remaining 30 per cent would raised by the community. In the end, the final phase was completely financed by the New Horizons membership.
Today, the James Bay New Horizons Society (a non-profit organization which received its Certificate of Incorporation on September 18, 1974) has approximately 550 members. Not only is it responsible for managing its own affairs, including volunteers, employees, and operations, but under the leadership of a small Board led by President Helen Ruttan, and Executive Director, Kim Dixon and her staff, this organization currently delivers more than 30 health, recreational, and cultural programs as well as organizing special events and renting out much-needed space to community groups in the James Bay New Horizons Activity Centre. In a vital supportive role, the City of Victoria is responsible for the maintenance of the building and for providing a modest annual grant for the operation of the facility.
So, when you stroll by the James Bay New Horizons Activity Center this week, why not stop by and congratulate the elders of the community on their achievements to date as well as their tireless efforts in building a lasting legacy of this neighborhood. And, perhaps wish them well as they find their bearings in a fast-paced changing environment and learn how to pass the torch to a new generation of “zoomer boomers”! Better yet, volunteer to sit on their board, teach a class, help to plan, participate in, or attend their special events, or raise funds to support the work of this priceless neighborhood gem.
From what began as a simple dream by a group of “chronologically-gifted souls” to find a place to meet and to find ways to enrich their lives, the founders and members of the James Bay New Horizons Society have contributed immensely to the vitality and positive development of Victoria’s oldest neighborhood.
By V. Adams
Although James Bay, the oldest neighborhood in Victoria, may be considered by some to be an eccentric enclave, it possesses not only a soul but also a strong sense of community-mindedness, and a desire to contribute their “two-cents” to any “common cents” debate.
So, it’s not surprising that the James Bay Neighborhood Association at its monthly meeting on September 9th welcomed Ross Crockford, a Victoria journalist, editor and author who is leading a citizen-inspired examination of a decision in April 2009 by Victoria’s city council to demolish the 1924 Johnson Street Bridge on the Inner Harbour and to erect a new crossing at a cost of more than $60-million dollars.
While local politicians have been grappling with difficult urban issues such as late night noise and anti-social behavior from bar patrons in the downtown streets, aggressive panhandling and increasing policing costs, or creating affordable housing alternatives for those without a roof over their heads, not to mention the contentious matter of finalizing a regional sewage disposal option, a new mumblety-peg was thrown into the mix.
The dilemma facing the newly elected council this spring was how to cash in on a $4-billion federal government infrastructure fund. The first question was to find a “shovel-ready” project (of which two-thirds of the costs would be covered by the federal government provided it was completed by March 2011). Projects on the city’s books included an $80-million renovation of Centennial Square and a $58-million replacement of Crystal Pool.
What became the clincher in the selection of a quick fix project was a last-minute city engineering report indicating that the “blue bridge” counterweights would collapse during an 8.5 earthquake, (although if this was of concern to councilors then the Bay Street Bridge would also be a serious casualty with not only the loss of this bridge but also its utility services including a water main, plus gas, telephone, and electricity lines).
While bringing the blue bridge up to seismic code would cost $25-million and last 40 years, building a new one that would last 100 years together as well as reconfiguring roads and bicycle trails would likely cost more than $60 million not to mention disrupting traffic to and from the downtown core area resulting on a serious negative impact on downtown merchants during construction.
In 1920, the people of Victoria voted in a referendum giving the city the authority to borrow $1-million to build the existing bridge. Today, the city is asking the Inspector of Municipalities to authorize a loan of $63 million to the City of Victoria to build a new bridge.
Although Mayor Fortin and Councilor Madoff attended the meeting, the mayor did not speak and left early with his official photographer, while Ms. Madoff suggested the posh postcards being handed out to citizens by elected officials are being received in a positive way. It may be true that people are adding them to their favorite collection of trading cards, yet they’re also wondering why the political decision-making process is moving at lightening speed, while citizen remarks about key matters of concern at Council meetings are constrained my a stop-watch or the tendency of politicians to nod off into Neverland.
This quick decision on the part of Council, in the absence of public consultation about what options need to be considered (replacement, renovation or maintenance of the existing structure), financing (loans, special debentures, potential tax increases etc.), as well as net benefits/costs (job creation, awarding of local business contracts, or loss of business income or business failures attributed to the construction phase as happened during the construction of the Canada Line in the Lower Mainland) leaves a lot to be desired.