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Strathcona 2010: A Clear Vision for our Community

2. Build on History; don’t destroy it

Strathcona has a history as a dense, compact, and diverse neighbourhood. Strathcona—as defined above, with its small lot sizes, streetscapes of narrow building facades, its often quirky infill housing, together with the large blocks of non-market housing created by the abandoned federal ‘urban renewal’ program—is already one of Vancouver’s densest neighbourhoods. Twenty-five-foot lots put more buildings per block than in most parts of Vancouver: the many lane houses increase that number even further. Strathcona’s many light industries—concentrated north of Hastings Street and also scattered south of Hastings—are important components of our compact community. As well, Strathcona’s tradition of ethnic and socioeconomic diversity encourages and supports tolerance, creativity, and neighbourliness.

The following strategies will help us build on our history:

A. Update and respect Vancouver’s Heritage Registry

In order to build successfully on Strathcona’s history, the Heritage Registry for all parts of Strathcona will be updated to 2008. Heritage buildings and building forms, for example, the commercial streetscape of East Hastings with its narrow building fronts and rhythmic visual interest, will be respected in all redevelopments of heritage buildings and in all new construction.

B. Preserve industrial land and uses

Industrial land is a scarce and valuable resource in Vancouver, but business— including light industry and retail—are dying here or relocating elsewhere. Retain industrial uses north of East Hastings Street. Provide incentives to retain our existing light industry and business and to encourage new industry and business to locate in Strathcona. Make sure that industry is green and clean so industry will be sustainable and can coexist with housing. Encourage mixed-use buildings and creative non-conforming uses of space.

C. No displacement of existing residents

Maintain affordable housing to preserve the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of Strathcona’s population and to prevent the displacement of current residents with low incomes. Resolutely maintaining our affordable housing will maintain our artistic, innovative, and unconventional attitudes, and will uphold the community’s tolerance for those with problems and disadvantages. Ensure the one-for-one replacement of Single Room Occupancy housing units.

D. Retain RT-3 zoning

Current RT-3 zoning provides for an appropriate amount of infill and lane housing south of Hastings Street. This zoning respects heritage buildings and heritage building forms. Protecting back yards and gardens is important in an area like Strathcona which is deficient in green space. Yards and gardens will contribute to Strathcona’s neighbourhood character, and will provide opportunities for vegetable gardening for ‘eating locally’ and food security. RT-3 zoning has proven successful for many years in promoting a healthy, mixed-income residential neighbourhood with a strong identity. Strathcona’s RT-3 zoning should not be changed under any circumstances.