June 2014 DRA Newsletter

June 2014 Newsletter

In this month's issue:
Contact us at info@victoriadra.ca     Nicholas Harrington, Editor, June 2014
The June Mystery Photo
Please click here, and tell us where you have seen this in Victoria. The first entry to correctly identify the building pictured by either its name and/or its address, wins a $10 gift certificate to The Clay Pigeon. Good luck!

Next time you are out and about downtown with your camera, please take a shot and send it to us (as a .jpg attachment please, with the location specified) to be considered for publication in the Mystery Photo contest. Please send your submissions to editor@victoriadra.ca
June 2014 Mystery Photo
Image by Andy Wachtel 

May's Mystery Photograph Revealed

Bay Centre interior fountains
Image by Andy Wachtel
We received many responses to the Mystery Photo contest last month - all of them correct. Thank you to everyone who wrote us to identify that the fountain pictured above is located in the Bay Centre. Congratulations to Hugh K., who won a $10 gift certificate to Bon Macaron Patisserie for the first correct response!

The Roving Refinery is the DRA's longest running Community Development Committee initiative. It is a recurring series of fun social events. Each Roving Refinery event is an opportunity for all of us to get to know each other better, and partake in the hospitality of the local business hosting the event. Roving Refinery events are free for DRA members, and for non-members who register for DRA membership at the event.

Lacey-Lou Tapas Lounge Inc.
Lacey-Lou logo
Our next Roving Refinery, the last until September, is scheduled for Monday, June 23. It will be hosted at Lacey-Lou Tapas Lounge, 1320 Broad Street, by founder and owner Natasha Grau-Ensminger, who has promised to "give a little talk about the business and our vision!"

On its Indiegogo campaign page, Lacey-Lou Tapas Lounge is billed as "a vibrant new space with one mission - to present to the downtown core with all that the city has to offer. With live musical shows from uniquely talented, unsigned musicians every night; old brick walls brimming with their own distinctive symphony of evocative colours and designs from local artist; a spectacular selection of delicious libations (in the $5 range, with tax), in addition to a litany of tantalizing tapas and entrées suitable for even the most discerning palates/wallets ($10 or less with tax)."

But that's not the whole story, and I assure you that you will want to hear the entire fascinating history of this creative, local-centric, community-based start-up. 

So, watch your email inbox over the next few days for your personal invitation to the Roving Refinery at Lacey-Lou Tapas Lounge on June 23rd, and please ensure that click on the bright orange "Attend Event" button on that email. You will be glad you did!

Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut

Roving Refinery Review

Nicholas Harrington reporting:
A sumptuous time was had by all 17 people who attended May's Roving Refinery at Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, 623 Broughton Street.
photo of Brad and Carey at the Roving Refinery on May 21, 2014
Our hosts Brad and Carey 
Our gracious hosts for the event were store manager Brad Potentier, and our very own DRA member Carey Froese. Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut is an upscale gift store that people visit to buy extraordinary gifts of chocolate. The chocolate originates from Barry Callebaut chocolate of Belgium, but while that factory makes 7,000 grades of chocolate, Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut only buys the top 1% of the chocolate they make. "If you're giving a gift, and you want to wow people, this is the place to come", says Brad. However, he jokingly forewarns, think carefully before you give your first gift of Bernard Callebaut chocolates, because once you do, you've set a level of gift giving that not everyone wants to maintain.
A view from behind the showcase at Bernard Callebaut
The enticing view from behind the showcase 
The expansive showcase currently displays an incredible 48 unique chocolate creations, including Brad's favourite, "Rhum", which he first sampled in 1984, and ultimately persuaded him to become a retailer of Bernard Callebaut chocolates. The store also sells a variety of dark and milk chocolate, baking chocolate, chocolate bars for everyday consumption, and even cocoa nibs which among other uses, can be sprinkled on your morning cereal to add the goodness of cocoa, a chocolate flavour, and extra crunch.
In addition to eating our fill, we all learned about the making of chocolate, and each received parting gifts of chocolate and a beautiful Gerbera donated by Flowers On Top. Three lucky guests, Hugh, Susan, and yours truly, each won a $25 gift certificate to Bernard Callebaut, and a total of 10 lbs of food and $55 cash for Our Place was donated by the generous attendees. 

The next time you're in the 600 block of Broughton Street, drop in and introduce yourself to Carey or Brad, and sample some of the finest chocolate the world has to offer.

May DRA Board Meeting Highlights

[Thanks to Cathy Brankston for this content - Editor]

Councilor's Report: Marianne Alto (stepping in for Lisa Helps)
  • City staff is currently working on a program to enable sign-up to specific notices, bulletins and documents to be sent by email. This will complement mail-outs through Canada Post. Currently, Land Use notices are mailed out only to residents and businesses in the zone immediately surrounding the proposed project. This new program would allow the DRA Land Use Committee to obtain Land Use notices concerning any and all projects in our neighbourhood, and those in other neighbourhoods that border on ours, such as Rock Bay, North Park, Fernwood, Fairfield, and James Bay.
  • Downtown priority bus lanes along Douglas Street are now in use. The stretch between Hillside Avenue and Tolmie Avenue will be open in September. BC Transit has funded the changes.
  • The sewage treatment plant scheduled for McLoughlin Point is officially on hold. Upgrades will be going ahead at Clover Point as that facility is 40 years old. The potential for improved upgrades to the Dallas Road waterfront has been altered by these decisions.
  • The proposal to change the speed limit to 40km on specific streets throughout the City has been put on hold. The DRA did not support the proposal as presented. Traffic calming and traffic engineering studies are needed to determine if and where the speed limit could be reduced. Just changing signs is not the answer.
  • As Marianne is Council Liaison for the DVBA (Downtown Victoria Business Association), a suggestion was made to consider a more formal partnership Between the DRA and the DVBA which could make use of knowledge and expertise from both organizations.
  • Jawl Properties is proposing to build 200,000 sqft of office space behind the Legislature Building in James Bay. The potential for vacancies in the core will hopefully be minor if the new construction is phased, with new business/government departments taking over vacated space.
  • No decision has been made on partially closing Government Street on certain weekends this summer. Marianne stated that some of the issues  from previous closures were, too many people/kiosks and not enough foot traffic into local merchants' establishments, not having a “draw” to bring and keep people in the area, and making the closure the right size to accommodate pedestrian and the re-routed vehicle traffic.

Land Use Committee: Ian Sutherland

816 Broughton Street – Customs House Site
A CALUC meeting was held May 8, 2014, at the Victoria Executive Centre. Principals are Stan Sipos of Cielo Properties and Jim Wong of Studio One Architecture. Paul Merrick of Merrick Architecture presented their proposal. The meeting was attended by DRA Land Use Committee members, nearby residents and building owners. Rezoning and development permits are required. The plan is to keep and renovate the heritage portion along Wharf and Courtney Streets, remove and rebuild the 1950’s building facing Government Street, creating ground level retail space along the 3 streets, with condos above. A seven storey total height is proposed which would match that of the Belmont building opposite it on Government Street. Issues raised include a lack of transition in height down to the waterfront, the addition of stories atop the heritage portion, a lack of sample materials to be used, and an overall lack of detailed information for the site. Site plans will be sent to LUC members for their comments. In light of the fact that a CALUC meeting was called for this project though insufficient detail was available to warrant one, it was suggested that for future projects, the DRA LUC should meet with developers before any CALUC meeting is called. This would ensure that the CALUC meeting is as informative as possible. The website for this project is www.customshouse.ca

836 Broughton St - Chard Developments
This development proposal is part of the Fairfield Neighborhood District, another reason why it is important for neighbouring districts to meet together (see first point in Councillors Report above). Fairfield, and the developer were surprised to learn that this small portion of Broughton Street was not part of the Downtown Neighbourhood. A 10 storey mixed-use building with underground parking is proposed for the site. The site is presently a parking lot and the former Black Press Building. The development proposal received approval from the Planning and Land Use Committee and Public Hearing. The website for this project is www.eschervictoria.com.

Next DRA Board Meeting

Our next board meeting will be held on Tuesday June 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm. We will soon announce a new location for our board meetings, as the Silver Threads Service is relocating their downtown activity centre and we are looking for a new facility. Until further notice however, meetings will still be held at the Silver Threads Centre, 1728 Douglas Street. DRA Board meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of every month, and are open to all DRA members.

Bartholomew’s Pub Liquor License Application

Please be advised that a public information session is being arranged by Mairet Consulting and Management, in cooperation with the DRA, regarding the primary liquor license application made by Bartholomew’s Pub. As of this writing, the date and location have not been finalized, but details will be posted to the DRA website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed as soon as they are known.
Meeting Format:
A short overview presentation from Francis Mairet about the project will be given followed be a short recap about the application. A large portion of the meeting time will be allocated to the Q&A period.   

Intent Behind The Meeting:
The applicant has had a lengthy past record of operating the Pub with minimal infractions on record. However, it is understood that the neighbourhood has had concerns regarding the applicant’s operation. This Q&A period should be spent in trying to understand the impact of the Pub on the neighbourhood and the issues that the neighbours are faced with in regards to the applicant’s operations. The management company wants to be made aware of these issues in order to plan and improve its operations. Understandably, the management company will not be able to address issues related to operations other than the operation covered by the application.

A Conversation With Chief Elsner

Victoria's new Chief of Police is holding three community conversation sessions this month, and everyone is welcome to attend.

According to Chief Elsner, "We don't often talk of community health as being part of the police department's job. But, the truth is that a community that is safe and vibrant is a community that is healthy. It takes many hands, many partners working together to foster that health."

Two key questions will be addressed, "What does it take to make your community healthy?", and "What can we do to start to address these concerns?" Each of the three conversational sessions will take place on different days, and in different communities. VicPD's Senior Command Team, Community Resource Officers, and members of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board will also be in attendance.

If you are interested in attending, please visit this page of the VicPD website, where you will find additional information, and can register for the session of your choice.

Harbour Dialogue Digest

City of Victoria logo
As announced in the May newsletter, the Community Planning Division of the City of Victoria held an open house and an ideas session, and invited the public to share their ideas for enhancing and revitalizing three key sites along the Inner Harbour - Belleville Terminal, Ship Point and Lower Wharf Street (see map).

A summary of those sessions, complete with the public's raw, unedited comments is available at victoria.ca/harbourdialogue

Victoria Celebrates Canada Day

A Family-Friendly, Multicultural Celebration

Victoria Canada Day logo
The City of Victoria will celebrate Canada’s 147th birthday,with an impressive line-up of family-friendly events, multicultural programming, and spectacular fireworks on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 along Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
  • The Canada Day Kid’s Zone will return to Belleville Street with plenty of interactive activities for the whole family.
  • JUNO Award winning children’s entertainer Charlotte Diamond will take centre stage Tuesday afternoon, promising a performance that will get kids dancing.
  • The ever-popular Living Flag will return to the Legislature Lawns and 1,500 red and white T-shirts will be available to participants courtesy of Coast Capital Savings.
  • Main Stage highlights on July 1 are Victoria-based, folk rock and reggae band, Jon and Roy; Victoria’s joyful indie newcomers, Towers and Trees; Kikeyambay, a BC-based musical that combines a dynamic Afro-fusion electric band with dancers; Montreal-based Oothéque, the solo project of Malajube drummer, Francis Mineau;and a variety of Victoria artists and multicultural performers, including Masala, Compaigni V’ni Dansi’s ‘Louis Riel Métis Dancers’, Cookeilidh and the Sunshine Fitness Club.
  • A Flavour of Canada will return with an international food village and sponsor activity tents on Belleville Street
  • Ship Point will play host to expanded family-oriented performances on the Ska Fest Stage. To celebrate Ska Fest’s 15th anniversary, the City of Victoria and the Ska Society have partnered to develop a diverse program of reggae, ska and world beat music featuring Dope Soda as the headliner, with Brave New Waves, the New Groovement, Leg up Program and Whitey keeping the mood light throughout the day.
  • Ship Point Weekend Market. All weekend long, starting Friday afternoon, a Foodie Fest will take place at the West end of Ship Point pier. The fest will feature food trucks, and foodie items like hand blended spices jams, sauces, truffles, fudge, ice cream, as well as artists, music and jugglers.
For complete information on Victoria's Canada Day event, visit the website VictoriaCanadaDay.ca 

Aboriginal Cultural Festival

June 19 - 21, 2014
Aboriginal Cultural Festival 2014 poster
"The Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC (AtBC) is pleased to be the driving force behind a new festival which will showcase local Aboriginal cultures from British Columbia. Hosted in partnership with the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations and supported by the Royal BC Museum, Tourism Victoria, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and First Peoples Cultural Council, our goal is to create an annual event in the heart of Victoria that will increase community engagement with the diverse experiences offered by our local indigenous culture. These include dance, story telling, creation of art including carving, singing, and food.

Our theme is about celebrating and connecting local residents, visitors and communities with the diverse Aboriginal cultures in BC, tied into the National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2014. The National Aboriginal Day is a day to honor the Summer solstice. Join in for three days filled with colour, sound, education and appreciation of the wonders of our local Aboriginal culture, held on the Royal BC Museum campus, outside and along Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

This festival also coincides with the launch of the Royal BC Museum exhibition, “Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC”, opening June 21st.

During the three-day event, there will be Main Stage performances, an artisan area where people may watch demonstrations, meet the artists and also learn about the new Authentic Aboriginal program which helps consumers identify products designed, created and sold by local Aboriginal artists. There will also be a children’s area, food vendors and an AtBC Information booth."

To learn more about Aboriginal Cultural Festival 2014, visit their website.

Tours of Canada's Oldest Synagogue

Every Thursday this summer (June 12 - August 28), Victoria's Jewish history comes to life as Congregation Emanu-el, Canada’s oldest surviving synagogue, opens its doors for public tours. Most Synagogue Tours will be led by Canada’s first ordained Maggidah (Jewish Storyteller and Educator), Shoshana Litman. Congregation Emanu-el is located at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Blanshard Street. The Synagogue Tour begins at 1 pm, $10 for adults, children 12 and under are free. 

Afterwards, enjoy an easy 90 minute Walking Tour in the footsteps of the Jewish pioneers who were so instrumental in shaping the history of Victoria led by accomplished Jewish musician and tour guide, Gary Cohen. Walking Tours begin outside Congregation Emanu-el, and slowly wind through downtown ending at Government and Yates, rain or shine. $15 for adults, $13 for seniors/students (cash only). A $2 discount is offered to anyone taking both tours.

For more information on both tours click here.

TD Victoria International JazzFest

JazzFest 2014 logo
The TD Victoria International JazzFest takes place between June 20 and 29, 2014 at various locations around town. Featuring all genres of jazz, blues & worldbeat music, this annual event has grown into a 10 day festival attracting more than 300 musicians, and is attended by over 35,000 people from Greater Victoria, Vancouver Island & around the world. Click here for more details.

Victoria Pride 2014

Victoria Pride takes place from June 29 - July 6, 2014. The Parade and Festival are on July 6. Check the Victoria Pride Society website for more information.

Sewage Treatment: The Future Is Upon Us

Local Citizen Opinion by Lisa Helps:
I keep hearing that Esquimalt's refusal to rezone the land at McLoughlin Point and Environment Minister Mary Polak's refusal to intervene on sewage treatment "has cost taxpayers tens of millions and will now cost millions more." 

Every time I hear this, I become more determined to implement a solution that will cost less, accomplish a higher level of treatment and be embraced by the region's residents and businesses. Some view Polak's refusal to intervene as a crisis. I don't. The firmness of her decision, promises of funding and the knowledge that federal deadlines are not imminent provide us with a rare opportunity. 

With the unwillingness of the Capital Regional District to undertake a review of its sewage project after much public outcry, and now that the CRD plan is defunct, individual municipalities are left to seek solutions that are longterm, ecologically sound and costeffective. I welcome this opportunity. 

Colwood and Esquimalt have taken leadership and publicly recognized that a better way forward exists. Both municipalities are seeking the knowledge required to implement waste-management solutions that are in the best interest of their residents. These efforts will rely on independent examinations of treatment options and ensure that the selected systems maximize efficiency and affordability, and bring with them long-lasting benefits. 

It's time for Victoria to take action. Coun. Marianne Alto and Mayor Dean Fortin are proposing that council ask staff for the implications for the city of proceeding with a local liquid-waste treatment facility. 

There are two ways in which their proposal can be strengthened. First, to start with a fresh set of eyes, the city needs to seek outside advice from people who have not been involved in the CRD's project from its inception. Second, to innovate and build for the future, the city needs to consider multiple sewage treatment/resource recovery sites rather than begin with the notion that a single site is the best way forward. 

And finally, Victoria must not begin with the premise that led to the CRD project's failure - an "us versus them" mentality. Victoria cannot begin by saying: "We tried to be good regional players but the region doesn't want to play." There is an opportunity to collaborate and partner with our neighbours through co-operative research, contracting and public consultation, and maybe even in shared facilities where environmental and economic benefits exist. 

Victoria must begin with openness, a willingness to innovate and collaborate, and, most importantly, a willingness to engage our residents in the process. We need to rebuild the relationship between the public and its government. 

To achieve a desirable outcome, Victoria must: 
  • implement tertiary level of treatment to capture the chemicals of emerging concern and limit micro-plastic pollution; 
  • employ modern technologies that allow for plants with a smaller footprint; 
  • maximize heat, energy and water recovery; 
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions; 
  • apply "SmartGrowth" principles to inform all decision-making; 
  • integrate an active program to repair our underground piping network; 
  • and finally, change the story from large-scale sewage treatment plants to human-scale integrated-resource-management projects. This will go a long way to replacing the cry, "Not in my backyard" with, "In my neighbourhood please!"
This is a turning point - away from the recent controversy and polarization and toward reconciliation. Victoria, Esquimalt, Colwood and others can and must design and build treatment systems that our residents not only can afford, but also can be proud of.

[Lisa Helps is a Victoria City Councillor, and the City Council Liaison to the DRA. This piece was originally published in the Times Colonist on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. It is republished here with permission. Note: Opinions expressed in the "Local Citizen Opinion" column are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of the DRA or its members - Editor]
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