Get Involved in Your Neighbourhood

Tools and resources for active citizens.

Passionate residents make Victoria’s neighbourhoods great places to live.  There are plenty of resources available to help citizens understand local government and take advantage of opportunities to participate in making their neighbourhoods even better.

City Hall 101

What do cities do? Local governments have an important role to play in serving the needs of citizens. Here is a booklet that provides an overview and this short video explains how this works.

In Victoria, we have 8 councillors and a Mayor who develop directions for the City and its budget, based on the City’s Strategic Plan, current needs and the opinions of citizens.  Topics are discussed by Council at their Committee of the Whole meetings, usually held every Thursday morning at 9am. 

The results of discussions are then brought for formal Council approval, usually every second Thursday of the month starting at 6:30pm.  Its City staff’s job to support Council in it decision-making process and to ensure that their decisions are implemented. Agendas for upcoming Council meetings and videos of current and past meetings can be found here.

For more detailed information, take a look at this book on local government in BC or the provincial Community Charter and Local Government Act that describe the powers of local government.

Neighbourhood Associations

Community groups are important organizations at the neighbourhood level.  Neighbourhood Associations are community development organizations that meet regularly to discuss neighbourhood issues.  Their meetings are attended by City councillors and staff who provide information and respond to queries. Council appoints a councillor to act as a liaison to each community or neighbourhood association. Read the terms of reference. Councillors can bring neighbourhood issues to Council, if an issue or topic arises that may require Council attention. 

Neighbourhood Associations also have land use committees that help review proposed property developments in the neighbourhood.  Community Association Land Use Committees work with the City’s Planning Department and have their own Terms of Reference.

Some neighbourhood associations operate community centres that meet a range of needs in the community such as childcare, recreation and neighbourhood development.  The City provides some funding to operate the centres. We also provide a small operational grant for neighbourhood associations and for the coordination of public meetings by land use committees. 

Supporting Neighbourhood Action

We often find that residents don’t know neighbours who may live metres away from their front doors or next to them in an apartment building. When they do get to know each other, it’s a positive experience and it improves the quality of life in the neighbourhood. 

There are many ways to help strengthen neighbourhood social connections and support is available through the Great Neighbourhood Grant program. Organizations and groups of individuals may want to coordinate an activity to celebrate community (e.g. block party, ball tournament) or improve neighbourhood conditions (e.g. cleanup event, set up a block emergency plan).

Others may want to provide more tangible improvements to the neighbourhood through a placemaking project.  This might include a new community or boulevard garden. It could be a small stage for a park or some outdoor furniture for a potential gathering spot on the block. 

The grant program provides up to $1,000 for an activity and up to $5,000 for placemaking, as long as the applicant matches the requested sum with labour, funding and/or donated materials.  Neighbourhood staff are available to help you develop your ideas and support you through the application process.

Building Capacity

The City will be introducing training opportunities for community groups to help strengthen their organizations’ capacity to achieve their goals and engage residents.  At this time, you may find helpful training opportunities with Volunteer Victoria.