Wednesday, February 25, 2009

James Bay and the Water

James Bay is a peninsula, but I am amazed how disconnected the community is from the water.

On the north side of James Bay the neighbourhood is disconnected from the water by all of the hotels in the area. There is no connectivity between Menzies and Superior and the water to the north. Ideally a linear park connecting the downtown James Bay with the inner harbour would build that connectivity.

Even if there was a connection, the Inner Harbour does not have a complete walking route in place. The Inner Harbour does have the harbour ferries, but I do not see them as being connected to James Bay. It is James Bay that could actually have a use for them for getting to and from work in Esquimalt.

To the west of James Bay there are the remains of Victoria's industrial harbour. Acres of pavement at Ogden Point are being considered for redevelopment by the Greater Victoria Harbour Board. The site is still a very good dock facility, unfortunately it is located in an area that is not really useful for industrial purposes. Imagine have a container crane at the site. The truck traffic into the area would not fit with the type of streets leading into the area.

I believe we need a working harbour in Victoria. We need docks that can accommodate freighters and we need the ability to load and unload containers. James Bay is no longer a location that would work for this, but there should be something within the community to celebrate this heritage.

The breakwater is a wonderful walk that I have done many a time. It is a regional jewel the people of James Bay are lucky to have.

On the south side of the James Bay there is Dallas Road and the seawall there. I noted earlier that I felt that the neighbourhood is not well connected to this area. Some people disagreed. I still think this holds.

Dallas Road itself is a physical and visual barrier to the shore, the pavement of the road and parking is about 60 feet wide. There are few visual cues in James Bay that the water is nearby. In part this is the orientation of the community, but is was further impacted by the larger buildings that were allowed on Dallas Road. If you want to get an idea of why I think this is a problem, compare this part of Dallas Road to the area around Cloverpoint.

The only real use of the water I see in the James Bay area is the diving at the breakwater and the marina at fisherman's wharf. I get no sense of any water based recreation in the area. I know the area is not ideal for it, but still it feels like there should be something.
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