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Agenda for September 7 SRA meeting

 Strathcona Residents Association





September 7, 2011

7:15 p.m.

Strathcona Community Centre




A.  Announcements


-- Strathcona Harvest Festival – September 18; more info at 


-- This Is Strathcona (Vancouver 125) Festival – September 25; more info at 


-- Heart of the City Festival – October 26 to November 6; more info at 




B.  Discussion on Initiating Community Circles


This discussion will be led by neighbour Annabelle McCorquodale.


Neighbourhood Circles are small-group, democratic, highly participatory discussions in which large numbers of citizens discuss and take action on a problem or an issue.


For more info, please read the letter from Annabelle appended at the bottom of this message.




C.  SRA Voting Procedures 


Discussion and vote on whether to formally adopt a secret ballot system for voting on motions made at SRA meetings


At the July 6 SRA meeting, Judy Kenzie MOVED that, at the September meeting, the SRA formally adopt a secret ballot voting system. Claudine Michaud SECONDED the motion.




D.  Guest Speaker on Tenants’ Legal Rights and Obligations


Emma Lazo, Public Legal Education Coordinator for the the BC Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre, will speak about the legal rights and obligations of tenants and owners in British Columbia.


Topics include…

• How to protect yourself

• Your Rights and Responsibilities

• Security Deposits

• Illegal Entry

• Repairs & Evictions, etc.


Ms. Lazo will also speak about community resources and the work TRAC does to support communities, for example, their Info Line, Multilingual Publications, videos in 19 languages, website links, and so on.


(More info available at







Letter from Annabelle:



“…..strong local communities are created when citizens are also the producers of the future.  They cannot be replaced.  No professional, institution, business or government can substitute for the power, creativity or relevance of productive local citizens.”   


from recent report entitled, “Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside:

A Community in Need of Balance” by Strathcona Business Improvement Association, Ray-Cam Community Association and Inner City Safety Society



Dear Neighbours;


Usually called study circles, Neighbourhood Circles are small-group, democratic, highly participatory discussions in which large numbers of citizens discuss and take action on a problem or an issue.


It seems to me we have been spending a lot of time and energy on what we don’t want to see in Strathcona.  Reacting.   I will always be grateful to neighbours like Lindsay for clueing us in about the Casino project.   Still it seems we are spending too much time fighting against things and at times, each other.


We spend precious little time on talking about what it is that we actually want to see happen in Strathcona?


How many people do you know that don’t come to meetings citing their reasons as “the politics”?  The bickering and conflict?


We have a vision for Strathcona—one that took much time and effort by many neighbours and organisations.


Yet, on the whole, real discussion about our concerns and hopes takes a “back seat”--like most organizations.  We rush to get through the agenda.  Not everyone gets to say their piece.  Not everyone wants to stand up and speak in a group.  We run out of time or patience.


Characteristics of Neighbourhood Circles


Small groups discussions-ranging from 5 to 20 people

Diverse in makeup representing the many and different types of people working and living here


Highly participatory

Respectful listening is the norm so that everyone is heard

Large numbers of people meeting in small groups discussing issues that matter to them in order to take action

Led by objective facilitators

People meeting 3 to 6 times for 2 to 3 hours each time.


This idea is not new.  It’s been used in Canada since the early 1900s and has been used in more than 180 countries by a wide range of organizations from the Dalai Lama Foundation to Human Resources Development Canada.


“There’s no need to re-invent the wheel”.  Without cost, we can access a “map” for beginning and running our own Neighbourhood Circles.  Resource materials are free to anyone on the Web and can be adapted to us.  Simon Fraser University has 2 programs that could help us find trained group facilitators.  


Neighbourhood Circles work best when the issues or problems being discussed:


Relate to the concerns and daily lives of many different types of people ie genuinely public issues

Capture widespread public attention because of timeliness

Are addressed by many people through multiple forms of social, political, personal and policy changes

When new relationships and networks are formed


More Information?  Go to the Web, just type in “study circles”   Two specific addresses you might like:  





We have so much talent, so many good hearts and amazing creative people in Strathcona.  There is so much that we can do for ourselves and each other.  This is one way of coming together.


Let’s get the “ball rolling” this fall and begin by contacting other neighbours, people and organizations to join us.


Many thanks,


Annabelle  (McCorquodale)