Resident holds savvy vision for seafront

Shoreline needs rethinking, future planning says nature-lover

Resident Jacques Sirois hopes to spur conversation about Oak Bay’s seaside infrastructure and the natural and cultural history he says the community needs to share.

Resident Jacques Sirois hopes to spur conversation about Oak Bay’s seaside infrastructure and the natural and cultural history he says the community needs to share.

Oak Bay’s seafront needs to be more savvy, says Jacques Sirois.

The longtime Oak Bay resident wants to spur discussion on how to reinvigorate infrastructure and share stories about what he calls – in flawless French – “Canada’s Cote D’Azur.”

“I’m an ocean lover, a bird lover and a heritage fan,” he says. “We have a lot of interesting natural and cultural heritage in Oak Bay.”

Sirois sees it as taken for granted, saying for example, that people don’t realize Oak Bay is part of the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary established in the 1920s.

“There was a need to rein in the hunting,” Sirois says. “The city grew and industry grew … everybody forgot about this bird sanctuary.”

He wants to resurrect the sanctuary, just one of the “unknown stories” of local shorelines that should be shared through signage.

“We need an Oak Bay seafront initiative that will unfold in the next decade. We have to be thoughtful and savvy,” Sirois says.

“We have the best marine environment in urban Canada. We’ve got an incredible package for a city.”

Another example Sirois cites is the Trial Islands ecological reserve that also boasts a federally designated heritage lighthouse.

“People are vaguely aware of it but we are not celebrating it,” Sirois says.

He also cites the tales of Lekwungen people, and the region’s once abundant herring population.

“Hopefully this conversation would lead to a region-wide herring recovery program,” he says.

Signage would be a start, but he sees the infrastructure, from steps to lack of public washrooms, as out of date.

“We could start with Mc Neill Bay. We have to redesign the infrastructure on the seafront,” he says, adding it would require professional design, with the municipality taking the lead.

“I realize we are a small municipality but at least we have to start talking about it.”

One tangible, if nostalgic, start would be rebuilding an Oak Bay Boathouse similar to what the Oak Bay Marina replaced in the 1960s.

While it needed to come down, he admits, a building inspired by the former landmark could serve as a nature house, or tourist centre, to start sharing the stories.

“We need to rebuild. It was the most-loved building in our history. It was charismatic and interesting,” Sirois says. “It would be a very tangible project that could be a launching pad for a seafront plan.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Google/Screencap)
BC Coroners Service investigating death at a North Saanich marina

Death said to have happened late Monday night

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Dallas Road

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

In January, six flights with cases of COVID-19 onboard have landed at the Victoria International Airport so far. (Black Press Media file photo)
Two new COVID-19 exposures reported on flights to Victoria

A Jan. 10 flight from Toronto and Jan. 11 flight from Calgary were affected

West Shore RCMP is looking for a suspect and their minivan, which crashed into a parked vehicle and home along the 200-block of Island Highway in View Royal on Jan. 18. (Black Press Media file photo)
Driver crashes into parked car and home in View Royal, speeds away: RCMP

Incident took place near 200-block of Island Highway Monday night

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Nanaimo mall, RCMP investigating

Police have searched areas of Woodgrove Centre accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Most Read