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.

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Signage would be a start, but he sees the infrastructure, from steps to lack of public washrooms, as out of date.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

 

Just Posted

UPDATED: Man arrested on Richmond Avenue after standoff with police following ‘serious assault’

Police were called early Sunday morning following an assault in the building

Victoria harpist releases ‘old school’ jazz album, makes singing debut

Musician ‘blown away’ by reactions to her seventh album Songs From the Harp

Victoria’s Christmas bird count set to take flight

More volunteers needed on the West Shore for Dec. 14 count

Trees topped, greenery snatched from Saanich park

‘If everyone took one thing, there’d be nothing left,’ says president of park society

New Saanich resident says volunteers get back as much as they give

Saanich Volunteers Services Society member encourages others to help the community

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Most Read