James Bay Community Project

By Paula Greene

In 1975 Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister, the Beaver became the official symbol of Canada, Michael Bublé was born, the Rocky Horror Picture show was released and Elton John, The Bee Gees and Barry Manilow were hitting the Billboard charts… and of course many of us were wearing those 70’s fashions!

Closer to home the James Bay Community Association was founded by the James Bay United Church and Reverend Ken Woods and Marion Woods. 40 years ago a community office was opened to listen to residents’ ideas and to sign up volunteers for community work and Rob Dill was hired as a Community Coordinator. After being selected for an urban pilot project to deliver integrated delivery health and social services a Community Board was voted in under the Provincial Resources Board Act and the first chair was David Wolochow.

2015 is the 40 anniversary of the James Bay Community Project (JBCP) and today the vision of the project is for a “Healthy, inclusive community in James Bay and beyond, where families, youth, seniors and other community members find the support they need”. 40 years on JBCP still listens to the community and strives to respond to their needs; with over 300 volunteers community volunteer work remains more important than ever.

There has been four decades of tremendous growth and change. During the 70’s educational support programs started and a community office located in James Bay Square housed probation, child welfare and income assistance. The 70’s was also the decade when the Senior’s Advisory Council was launched and a recycling trailer was introduced to James Bay.

The 80/90’s was a time of development for core programs; health services, home support and community services. A co-op child minding service started as did the formation of Seniors Connections which is still going today and celebrating its 15 anniversary. This was also when the current building was purchased and a capital campaign was launched called “Under One Roof’ to locate all of JBCP’s services to 547 Michigan Street.

As for many societies and organizations periods of growth are often tempered with more challenging times and in the period between 1997-2009 cuts to funding in Family and Community Services led to the loss of a Community Development Worker and a new funding model led to a doctor crisis.

JBCP continues to grow and develop; sometimes saying goodbye and wishing well to services it has birthed such as the Victoria Youth Clinic and at other times forming new partnerships such as Victoria Better at Home. Today the Family Resource Centre is thriving and busy, serving children from 0-5years. The Youth Outreach Worker and Family Counsellor are supporting children, youth and their families and Outreach Workers are connecting seniors and adults with disabilities to the volunteers and services they need.

At the core of the many twists and turns that JBCP has taken over the years have been the people, the community. It is the reason JBCP started, to serve and respond to those in need. Nothing essentially has changed and today JBCP is here; for children, families, seniors and adults with disabilities; for those who are hungry, unwell, lonely and vulnerable.

There have been so very many people who have contributed to JBCP over the years, the founders, board members, volunteers, staff, donors and participants – and everyone has a story.

Do you have a memory/story of JBCP over the last 4 decades?

Perhaps you have some photos tucked away. We are hoping to collect stories and pictures and if you can help I’d love to hear from you, please contact: Paula Greene pgreene@jbcp.bc.ca 250.388.7844 Ext 309.

The start of the 40 anniversary celebrations will be the AGM on June 18 at 5.30pm with special guest Mayor Lisa Helps. JBCP would love to see you there please do come and join us at 547 Michigan Street and celebrate 40 years of, “Building healthy Community Together”.