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Roberts Bay Residents

“Our vision is to build a future in which our community lives in harmony with the living wonders of Roberts Bay and where the natural beauty and functionality of the ecosystems of the bay are preserved and enhanced to ensure that this very special place remains a safe refuge for wildlife and a source of inspiration for its present and future residents and visitors.”

Territorial Acknowledgement

The W̱SÁNEĆ people have lived in harmony with this place for millennia. We  respect and value their unceded rights and seek greater understanding and cooperation in stewardship for present and future generations.

Who Are the Roberts Bay Residents?

All Bufflehead Day Participants under tent

A group of 6 neighbours call ourselves the “Roberts Bay Residents Steering Committee”. Three  of us are waterfront property owners and the other three live within a block of Roberts Bay. We send a brief newsletter  approximately once a month to our  email list of 150, most of whom are neighbours who live close to Roberts Bay. However, anyone who feels a connection to the Bay, which is a fully developed residential area in Sidney and part of the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, is welcome to join our mailing list to get regular information about the health of the bay.

To contact Roberts Bay Residents or subscribe to our newsletter, email us at


We work closely with Friends of Shoal Harbour,, the Saanich Peninsula Environmental Coalition and other organizations to learn more about  the ecology  of the bay and protect it for the future. The Aquanuts cold water swimmers and the Roberts Bay Paddlers Facebook groups are important users of the bay.

As one of 15 local stewardship groups associated with Peninsula Streams and Shorelines Society, we have access to the expertise and experience of their staff biologists and restoration professionals, plus volunteer training and insurance. Many neighbours volunteer with Peninsula Streams, especially for forage fish spawning surveys, beach clean-ups and invasive species removal.

A Brief History

In January 2018, 4 neighbours met for lunch to see what we could do together to make a positive difference for Roberts Bay. We saw trees being lost to development, lack of respect for the  Shoal Harbour bird sanctuary, inadequate scope of Sidney’s Environmentally Sensitive Area boundaries, and what seemed like inconsistent enforcement of Bylaws.

We delivered 200 flyers to homes around the bay, inviting residents to a meeting February 17 at the Shoal Centre. About 70 neighbours showed up to discuss and identify their concerns: tree protection, the bird sanctuary, tsunami warnings, dogs on the beach chasing birds, commercial crabbing, deterioration of the Mermaid Creek shoreline, and debris washed up on the beach. Our email list grew.  Since then, we have advocated for greater understanding and recognition for the Bay.

Significant Activities and Accomplishments

We believe that a well-informed community is the best protection for natural spaces, especially in urban areas. We also believe that nature contributes to our human physical and mental health. Because we love Roberts Bay and the birds and other wildlife that shelter here, we do our best to safeguard and restore a clean and healthy environment for all.


Our newsletters contain the best information we can find about what’s happening in the Bay, for example:

  • what birds and animals are present, news about behaviour, nesting, migrations;
  • how dynamic forces work in the bay, eg. coastal squeeze shrinking the beach, estuary and salt marsh; contamination and stormwater surges flowing into the Bay.
Thierry heron in Mermaid Creek
Roberts Bay from Patricia

The Roberts Bay Restoration Project

Managed by Peninsula Streams, this multi-year effort began in 2021 with research on the historical movement of water and sediments in the bay. The following year, the speed and toxicity of the outflow from the Mermaid Creek storm drain system started to be addressed by installing ecocultural fencing, removing invasive species, and planting native marsh sedges. In 2023 after environmental assessment, Peninsula Streams and partners commissioned coastal engineering studies and secured $500,000 in funding to restore the Mermaid Creek Salt Marsh to its historic size to enhance biodiversity, improve water quality and mitigate coastal erosion. Unfortunately, this particular project had to be abandoned in 2024 due to unforeseen challenges related to land use and property boundaries. Other, more limited work to achieve these goals will continue.

Sidney’s Official Community Plan Review (2019 to 2022)

We kept neighbours informed about the  Official Community plan (OCP) review process and advocated for the expansion of Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit Areas (ESAs) to include all of Sidney’s Migratory Bird Sanctuary shoreline, all of Armstrong Point and Beaufort Grove, and more of Mermaid Creek, with improved guidelines.

Fireworks Prohibition Areas

Complaints about personal fireworks in the Environmentally Sensitive Area at Halloween 2021 prompted Sidney to adopt Fireworks Prohibition Zones. We lobbied to have all ESAs included and we continue to work with Friends of Shoal Harbour and Reay Creek Residents to educate the public about the effect of fireworks on birds and wildlife.

To contact Roberts Bay Residents or subscribe to our newsletter, email us at