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Meeting Feb 6 - City Presentation on Viaducts Removal and Update on DTES LAPP

Hello, Strathcona friends and neighbours.
Here are some items of interest to Strathcona residents, including the agenda for our upcoming meeting of the Strathcona Residents' Association (Wednesday Feb 6th), as well as minutes from January's meeting. 

This February's SRA meeting will be featuring a special guest presentation from the City regarding the viaducts removal plan, as well as updates on the DTES LAPP and upcoming discussion/workshop to identify key issues for Strathcona and the DTES on February 9.

In this newsletter:
• Community Announcements
• Strathcona Resident's Association - Meeting Agenda for Wednesday February 6
• Strathcona Resident's Association - Minutes from Wednesday January 9

Community Announcements

Important Strathcona Planning Event
Strathcona and the DTES Local Area Plan — What’s Important to You?
Saturday February 9 10:30AM - 1:30PM, Strathcona Community Centre’s Seniors Lounge

The City of Vancouver will be facilitating a DTES LAPP discussion for the Residents of Strathcona: Part of the City’s goal with the LAPP is to create a vision and plan for Strathcona and the DTES. This plan will determine future development in the area.

What Issues and Aspirations are Important for Our Neighbourhood?
This 3 hour workshop will include background on the LAP Process, information and progress to date, questions, answers, and discussion: to identify and reflect on the Key Issues of Strathcona and the DTES.

Saturday February 9 10:30AM - 1:30PM, Strathcona Community Centre’s Seniors Lounge. 
Open to all Strathcona residents, Snacks and Refreshments served.
Please consider RSVPing  dteslapp@strathcona-residents.org so we might have enough chairs and refreshments.
(We will be organizing a separate upcoming event for Cantonese-speaking neighbours, details TBA)

For more information on the DTES LAPP http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/dtes-local-area-plan.aspx
* The SRA's LAPP subcommittee will be reporting at wednesday's meeting about progress so far

New Daycare:
Children’s World/ Kodomo no Kuni Daycare, Open-house Sat. Feb. 23, 10:30 - 12:00

The Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall will open Children’s World/ Kodomo no Kuni, a licensed childcare division for children under six years old in September 2012.   Our enriched childcare programming consists of Daycare (3~5 yrs); Preschool immersion (3~5 yrs); and Toddlers' Time (2~3 years).   Programming will be held in our beautifully restored 1928 green heritage building and 5-storey multi-use complex with a large enclosed outdoor playground. 
For more details: http://www.vjls-jh.com/en/node/23

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Strathcona Resident's Association - Meeting Agenda for Wednesday February 6

Wednesday February 6, 7:15pm at the Strathcona Community Centre

Welcome from council

Approval of January SRA minutes (see below)

Report on council's January meeting

Committee Reports

LAPP Committee Reports

Other Announcements

Items for vote/discussion

1. Motion from the SRA Council to support Villa Cathay rezoning application

"That the SRA recognizes and appreciates the work Villa Cathay Care Home does for Chinese seniors in our community; that we support their application to expand and improve their facilities as detailed in their re-zoning application; and that we work with the Villa Cathay and their architects to ensure appropriate street frontages and Community Amenity Contributions"

Items/Announcements from the floor

(Members are reminded that there is limited time available for items from the floor, if they need more time they are asked to request being placed on the agenda, no later than one week prior to the meeting)

The Pigeon Park Street Market
Roland from the Pigeon Park Street Market will give a brief presentation on the market, discuss our future plans, and invite members of the SRA to give suggestions on what they would like from the market, and hopefully discuss areas of possible partnership. 
The Pigeon Park Street Market operates every Sunday, and provides up to $500,000 of economic stimulus directly into the hands of the most marginalized DTES residents for a cost of less than 5 cents on the dollar. Since January 2012, market operations have improved, and we have been reaching out to local businesses, business associations, and funding organizations to find funding to improve market operations and market cosmetics to attract customers and tourist traffic from Gastown and Chinatown. 

Special Presentation: City of Vancouver on viaducts removal.

Representatives from the City of Vancouver Central Area and Traffic Planning departments will be updating us on plans for viaduct removal.

Strathconans will remember that in the summer of 2012 City planners presented a plan for viaduct removal through a series of open houses. The community was shocked to realize, that contrary to the anticipated downgrading of Prior Street to a neighbourhood collector or greenway, the city's plans called for quite the opposite.
In their own words :
"Pacific Boulevard is combined with Expo north of the Skytrain guideway and connects east to Prior/Venables thereby maintaining a direct east-west link to the downtown for commuter vehicles and large goods-movement trucks. ."
* (From the City's Viaduct Open House presentation boards, May-June 2012)

The resulting grass roots community efforts and protests for our neighourhood's safety resulted in Mayor and Council directing staff to initiate immediate and long term traffic calming measures for Prior and pursue and fasttrack a Malkin Street connection. Staff is set to report back with the results of this directive in March. Staff's presentation will help the SRA make an informed decision to share with Mayor and Council on this matter. Additionally, the SRA has been approached by consultants for the land developers requesting a letter of support for the viaducts removal.

For more background on the 2012 viaducts removal plan and our repsonse, please visit http://strathcona-residents.org/viaducts 

Closing Remarks, items for next month's agenda

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Strathcona Resident's Association - Minutes for Wednesday January 9

Welcome from council

Approval of December SRA minutes — Minutes approved as presented 

Report on council's December meeting — Pete reports on the meeting in December, and the background to the current agenda, 

Website It is up for renewal and that was approved for $168 ($150 + HST)

Committee Reports

Zoning. No report

Film. Many production committees promise money but don't deliver. The committee has drafted a letter for distribution to film companies and requests the SRA membership to approve it for distribution. It contains a threat to list 'deadbeats' on the website which caused concerns. The council members will look into wording but heartily approved of the effort to get them to pay up.

Bike path. Continued difficulties with the bike route on Union and Hawkes. Pete is having some responses to his complaints 

Announcements

1. Report on rezoning application for Villa Cathay (970 Union).

Pete reported on a meeting he had with LAPP and distributed architectural drawings of the propose development. Will include neighborhood benefits.
Public open house January 14th at the site, and SRA members are encouraged to attend. Primary concern about the precedent of allowing a 11 story building in the area, setbacks and street presence. We will revisit if we would like to support it at the next meeting.

As part of the LAPP process, the City is sponsoring 4 roundtables and would like the SRA to participate. Council members will be trying to attend for SRA and report back. 

Question about the boundaries of Strathcona, According to the City. We are from the first alley east of Hastings to the flats, and from Gore to Clark. Involvement in these roundtables is not joining the LAPP Committee, but will give the SRA a voice in it.

Items for vote/discussion

1. Motion/Carried from the SRA Council to develop an official planning position: "That the SRA engage and work with the City of Vancouver on a Social Impact Assessment and visioning for the entire Strathcona Community and that the SRA form a committee to facilitiate this City work and develop a Strathcona Planning Position".  

Pete met with the City and they are willing to immediately assist us in a visioning and social assessment process to support developing this.

Judy McGuire working with the Safety Cmtee on mapping projects which she feels that these be part of SIAs. She also requests that any social assessment be in concert with RayCam. The City is doing a regional social assessment plan, and ours would be part of that.

NOTE that this and the earlier roundtables and the LAPP process are not mutually exclusive. The roundtables announced earlier in the next few months, then a larger roundtable to combine this information, new consultations and roundtables over the summer, with a final report to council in November. 10 months.

Krista Dawn Kimsey, Lee Joy Bezzasso, Lee Moorehouse, Allan Bronsro, Yuan Ricky Chan volunteered to be part of the SRA’s LAPP sub-committee.

Motion/Tabled from the floor (Matthew B.) regarding development along the Hastings Corridor "That the library/housing development at 723 East Hastings is unusually massive and lacking appropriate setbacks for being next to private residential properties; and in setting a precedent for other developments on the Hastings corridor that the SRA should take a position on this."

Withdrawn for now by the member, who has received some cooperation from the City in addressing his concerns. Issues of development scale and setbacks will be part of the larger LAPP discussion.

Motion/Tabled from the floor (Alan B.) to elect/appoint an SRA representative on the DTES LAPP Committee:

 "That the accept the City’s offer to participate in the Area Planning process by having an SRA representative on the committee, that the SRA contact the City in this regard, and that the SRA duly elect or appoint a representative." Concern that the decision on the LAPP should be delayed until next meeting, with this meeting devoted to discussing merits and demerits.

Items, announcements from the floor

(Members are reminded that there is limited time available for items from the floor, if they need more time they are asked to request being placed on the agenda, no later than one week prior to the meeting)

Concerns expressed about the speed of development around Strathcona, the relaxing of zoning requirements both in and around the area allowing more and more density in infill.

Pete read a letter from the Zoning Cmtee where the members stated that they had opposed the developments on Keefer

Background on DTES LAPP

Pete recapped the history of the SRA's initial response to LAPP and the reasons for our decision to not engage.

Group Discussion on DTES LAPP facilitated by Council member John Hawks.

The LAPP has mellowed as has the DNC, and the process is more inclusive. Additionally the pace and pressure of development on Hastings Corridor has increased. The SRA must engage at some level and soon, or be left behind.

Discussion centered around whether involvement would have positive results; whether the SRA has the energy and the volunteers to follow through with it; whether we need to join or whether we can engage with the process at a smaller/more focused manner or just attend the LAPP as an observer.

Scott Clark spoke about the current nature of the LAPP, asserting that it was a democratic planning body, trying to reconcile different rather than the conflict of positions. He felt that the LAPP and its subc-committees would be useful to the SRA.

Concern that the LAPP is a sideshow, that land is being amassed and developments are being planned while the process is going on, and the results of the process will have no effect on that. We should concentrate on political action to oppose that rather than wasting our time on this.

Argument for getting involved to gain the experience, to engage with other groups, and to develop a position from situated knowledge rather than in isolation.

Argument that we opposed it for good reason when we did but it makes more sense now to engage, but not to make a deep commitment.

We can't know if its a waste of time unless we get involved to find out, and we can't form our own position unless we know where we fit in and what's going on.

The whole neighborhood is supposed to be represented and the SRA has a seat, it should be involved to represent the neighborhood.

At the end of the discussion, it was agreed that motion #3 would be voted on at this meeting and was passed. Those who had already volunteered for the LAPP Committee would attend and report back to the SRA

Closing Remarks, Announcements regarding next month's agenda