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Community association calls for input on Victoria boundary changes

City of Victoria proposes changes to neighbourhood borders
The City of Victoria is proposing a northern contraction from Haultain Street to Bay Street with a western contraction from Cook Street to Chambers Street for Fernwood. (Illustration/Google Maps)

The Fernwood Community Association is encouraging residents to come forward with their thoughts on recently pitched boundary changes.

This push comes after the City of Victoria proposed some neighbourhood boundary changes earlier this year.

Downtown could see a northern expansion to Bay Street, southeastern expansion to Quadra Street and amalgamation with the Harris Green neighbourhood. Proposed for the Oakland neighbourhood was a one-block expansion east to Scott Street.

In Fernwood, a northern contraction from Haultain Street to Bay Street is proposed with western contraction from Cook Street to Chambers Street, allowing expansions for Oaklands and North Park neighbourhoods respectively.

The Fernwood Community Association (FCA) has hosted two online meetings for community feedback, the latest of which was held Thursday, May 6.

Kristin Atwood, the FCA’s land use committee chair, said the relocation of Fernwood’s boundary from Haultain to Bay Street has been discussed before. The street is larger than Haultain Street.

As for a new Chambers Street boundary, she said “it seems like that came out of the blue for a lot of people.” She added North Park’s neighbourhood association had not proposed that expansion.

During last week’s consultation, Victoria Coun. Sarah Potts explained North Park’s Chambers Street expansion as a chance to designate a single neighbourhood around North Park Village, which runs along Caledonia Street from Blanshard to Chambers streets.

The effort is in line with the city’s village and corridor improvement plans for North Park, Fernwood and Hillside-Quadra, said Atwood.

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Neighbourhood boundary shifts could also mean recalculated funding for neighbourhood associations, who receive money from the city based on population numbers within their borders.

But Atwood said the city hasn’t really addressed any potential changes in funding for the FCA based on the new boundaries.

Financial implications are expected to be outlined in a final city staff report due to the council this September, ahead of the boundaries finalization in 2022. In the meantime, the City of Victoria has opened online surveys for feedback and, at the request of the FCA, agreed to send letters to everyone living within a proposed boundary shift.

“It sounds like an administrative task sort of on the surface of it, like just redrawing lines on the map,” Atwood said. “But actually … we invest a lot in our communities. Some of the people that have been very outspoken, they’re long-term [Fernwood] residents. This really matters to how they understand themselves, and how they understand their place in the community.”


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