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SRA News, 26 July 2010

Hello, Strathcona friends and neighbours. Isn't the weather beautiful right now? It's sunny but not too hot.

Here's some news for you; details are below:
-- Neighbourhood Small Grants program accepting applications
-- should Maclean Park be renamed?
-- two reports from DTES-based organizations have implications for Strathcona's future
-- former Strathcona resident developing his second musical

See you around the neighbourhood.




(Thanks to Roberta Robertson for this information)

The Vancouver Foundation has partnered with the City of Vancouver (Social Planning Division) to fund Neighbourhood Small Grant (NSG) projects focused on "urban food." This pilot project is called the Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grants.

The timeline for this pilot initiative with the City is from July to October 31, 2010. This means that we would need to have the projects funded to take place by the end of October.

Urban food projects which the City would like to support include any NSG Projects that have a food focus.  This means the projects may cover building food gardens or garden plots, educational workshops (i.e.canning, cooking), or workbooks, cookbooks or manuals related to food.

Check out the website and click the sidebar ad which will take you to the application form at http://www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca/urbanfood. Application forms can also be found at RayCam, Strathcona, or Carnegie Community Centres.

Deadline for applications is August 1, 2010 at 5 p.m. You will be notified on or before August 9, 2010. You could receive a grant of up to $400.



A neighbour recently suggested that Maclean Park be renamed Jane Jacobs Park because it was her influence that saved our neighbourhood from destruction.

Jacobs was a Canadian writer and activist interested in communities and urban planning. She was a critic of mid-20th-century American and Canadian "urban renewal" programs which destroyed neighbourhoods and created ghettos. Such a program by Vancouver's civic government in the 1960's killed our city's black neighbourhood, Hogan's Alley, and almost - if it had not been for the activism of many Strathcona residents - replaced all of Strathcona with a freeway and Detroit-style public housing projects.

The park is currently named after M. A. McLean, a realtor and the first mayor of Vancouver. The park was originally on the site of the current Maclean Park public housing complex, a few blocks west (and was called McLean Park then), but was moved as part of the partially completed 60's "urban renewal" project.

Another neighbour has suggested that, if Maclean Park were to be renamed, it should receive the name of someone from our neighbourhood's history; for example, Wayson Choy Park. Or it could just stay Maclean Park.

What do you think? Please let me know; I'm collecting opinions to see if a renaming campaign should go forward. Thanks.



Recently, two organizations based in the Downtown Eastside released documents laying out their recommendations for the future evolution of the DTES. Those documents have significant implications for our future here in Strathcona because both groups say that Strathcona is a part of the DTES, and that their plan includes our community.

In May, the Building Community Society (BCS) released a final draft of its document Vancouver Downtown Eastside: Putting It All Together: Plans, Policies, Programs, Projects, and Proposals: A Synthesis. The board of BCS includes Milton Wong, businessman and Chancellor Emeritus of SFU, and Mike Harcourt, a former mayor of Vancouver and former premier of BC. Find more info on BCS at http://buildingcommunitysociety.org/.

Earlier this month, the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) released its document, Community Vision for Change in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. CCAP is headed by Wendy Pedersen and funded by VanCity. For more info, check out http://ccapvancouver.wordpress.com/.

Both organizations offer a rationale and strategies for improving and increasing the supply of various types of non-market housing for low-income people. The BCS document provides a history of the City's performance in working toward this goal. The CCAP document calls for preventing any increase in market housing, explaining that more market housing – especially condos – will increase property values and threaten the low-income community.

For years, the City government's maps of our part of town have shown many different names and many different boundaries, depending on which department put out the map and what their political or other aims were. However, over the years, the area of the City labelled "Downtown Eastside" has gradually increased from a few square blocks to several square kilometers. According to the City Planning Department's current thinking, Strathcona, Chinatown, Gastown and several other communities are part of the DTES. See the map at http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/dtes/.

As many Strathcona residents know, Strathcona has developed two community plans in the past 20 years: the 1992 Strathcona Community Plan, and the 2008 Strathcona 2010: A Clear Vision for our Community. Those are the documents that speak for our aims and aspirations. The BCS plan mentions the Strathcona 2010 document only in a negative way. The CCAP vision plan ignores both Strathcona documents.

The BCS and CCAP documents make recommendations about the future of our neighbourhood, but without our input. Residents of Strathcona should be familiar with these documents and be able to discuss their pros and cons. 

Strathcona residents also need to be very familiar with our own community's vision document Strathcona 2010, which calls for socio-economic diversity, a healthy balance of social services, preservation of the industrial lands north of Hastings, and revitalization of Hastings Street.

I think the interests of Strathcona residents will be better served by a vision document like Strathcona 2010 that was developed with our participation rather than by plans that were made without us.

To read Strathcona 2010, see http://strathcona-residents.org/2010-vision-statement. The 1992 Strathcona Community Plan document isn't accessible on-line at the City's website. It wasn't in the City planners' interests to digitize it, I guess. But SRA Chair James Johnstone has hard copy, and may have had time to digitize it.



(Thanks to Bob Sarti for this heads-up)

A tale of misspent youth
Yippies in Love
By Bob Sarti
Music by Bill Sample

It’s a play. It’s a musical.
It’s a gas, man.
Coming to Vancouver in early 2011
A Theatre In The Raw production