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August: Local Area Plan, Viaducts, Union Street, and coming events

Hello, Strathcona friends and neighbours.

Hope everyone has a fantastic B.C. Day long weekend, if you are in town there are a lot of fantastic events, including Pride, the Festival of Light, Red Bull Airshow and right here in the neighbourhood; the 37th Annual Powell Street Festival on Saturday and Sunday. There's also a great history walk if you'd like to learn more about the Powell Street area's fascinating history. Please see community announcements below or event listings on our website strathcona-residents.org/events.

While things tend to slow down during the lazy days of summer, there are some ongoing local issues that continue to evolve. The Local Area Plan is continuing open houses and an online survey where you can offer feedback. It's important for residents to be aware of the kind of directions the City is proposing for our neighbourhood, as this plan will likely be voted on and adopted as official policy as soon as November. We also have some updates on Viaducts/Eastern Core and the proposal to close Union Street to local traffic.

On a sad note, it is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of long-time local resident and business-owner, Dan Small of Dan's Homebrew Supplies. Dan was extremely well respected in nascent craft-brewing scene, and was always game to chip in to help the neighbourhood. Details of a service over the long weekend can be found at the (new) shop on 800 block Hastings.

- Pete Fry, SRA Chair

In this newsletter:
• Local Area Plan
• Viaducts and Eastern Core
• Union Street Closures
• Community Announcements

Local Area Planning

The City is continuing to engage local residents to provide feedback on their "Emerging Directions" regarding the Local Area Plan through a few more open houses and an online survey, now through August 16. The LAP will have significant bearing on future developments in Strathcona and the DTES, including heights, types of housing, community amenities. The recent open house at Strathcona Community Centre saw about 260 attendees from Strathcona and the DTES. There are two more opportunities to engage with staff, over small display events:

  1. Saturday August 3rd from 11 to 2 pm in the retail foyer of the Chinatown Plaza, 180 Keefer St
  2. Thursday August 8th from 3 to 5:30 in the hall of the Carnegie Centre

You can also fill out the online questionnaire (in English and Chinese).
The Outreach Panels for the Emerging Directions to reference for the questionnaire can be found here

Viaducts Removal and Eastern Core Strategy

On June 26, 2013 Council unanimously approved a report which laid the foundation for viaducts removal and how to manage traffic east of Main (ie. Prior Street). One of the conditions of that approval was a promise to work with the local affected communities in a developing a transparent and collaborative consultation process over the next two years. This result is in no small part thanks to the work of folk not just in our neighbourhood but together with folk from the Chinatown, Ray-Cam, DTES, Grandview Woodland and False Creek, all working together.

The City is now seeking input on how best to achieve meaningful public consultation in their planning programs moving forward. Please take time to fill out the following survey questionnaire [http://vancouver.fluidsurveys.com/s/NEFCandEasternCoreConsultation/] by Monday, August 26, 2013. Tell the City what you desire in a public process and how they might shape the way that consultation is done in these studies to best engage with you. The City will be gathering the feedback and developing a draft engagement plan that addresses concerns in a balanced and practical way, for review and report back in early September. This plan will be developed concurrently with local resident group executives including the SRA. We will simultaneously be working with staff on a Road Safety Audit of Prior/Venables in the fall.

Union Street Closures

We expect to hear from City staff early in the fall regarding community consultation on the city's proposal to eliminate vehicular access into Strathcona via Union Street. Despite growing concerns in Strathcona, Chinatown, City Gate and False Creek over the lack of consultation with local stakeholders regarding the City's plan to close Union Street, billed as "upgrades to the Adanac Bikeway"; the City's Active Transportation Branch remains undeterred in closing Union Street access to Pacific Boulevard, and drastic alterations to the retail stretch along 200 block Union.

Apparently, failure to consult has not been limited to local residents. Recent concrete road blocks installed at Union and Glen have since been removed as the City had neglected to inform CN Rail of their plans and inadvertently created a significant safety risk. This apparent failure of process should be of concern to Strathconans, not only because if fails to consider local insight and considerations, but also in the wake of the tragedy at Lac Mégantique it give pause to question the competence of the staff responsible for this planning.

For more information on the City's proposal for Union Street, see their webpage here. An alternate community plan, involving the input of local stakeholder groups and the SRA executive can be found here: bikepathforeveryone.ca. Residents are encouraged to share their thoughts, concerns with mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca.

Community Announcements

This Saturday: History Walk of Milltown (Strathcona North of Hastings)
10am Saturday August 3

On Powell Street Festival weekend - explore the East End neighbourhood North of Hastings where the annual festival takes place : home to Vancouver's pre WWII Japantown but so much more. The largely industrialized area of the Strathcona North of Hastings is the oldest part of the city of Vancouver. The point of land on the north foot of Dunlevy where Captain Edward Stamp established Vancouver’s first industry, the Hastings Mill (originally the Vancouver Island Spar, Lumber & Sawmill Co.) in 1865, was known as Kumkumalay ("big leaf maple trees").

Local historian James Johnstone leads this two-hour tour, which is a great opportunity to learn more about the neighbourhood and some of the history that helps to define and contextualize the Powell Street Festival. This informative tour is a great introduction and segue to the festival itself. Details can be found on the website historywalksinvancouver.blogspot.ca

This Weekend: 37th Annual Powell Street Festival
Saturday/Sunday August 2-3

The Powell Street Festival is the largest Japanese Canadian festival in the country and the longest running community celebration in Vancouver! Enjoy traditional and contemporary Japanese Canadian performances and demonstrations, including taiko drumming, sumo wrestling, martial arts, bonsai and ikebana, folk and modern dance, alternative pop/rock/urban music, visual arts, film/video, as well as historical walking tours, tea ceremonies, and a fantastic array of Japanese food, crafts, & displays.
http://www.powellstreetfestival.com

August 17: Cindy's 5th Annual Fun'draiser and Block Party

The 5th annual charity fundraiser and celebration of Strathcona's big-hearted and dearly departed resident firefighter Cindy Kampmeinert
Starts 2pm, 800 Block Hawks Ave(@Union) Vancouver
BBQ, Live Music, Prizes, Silent Auction, Dunk Tank and Firetruck visit.
Everyone is welcome!
It's all by donation so bring your loonies and toonies!
Proceeds will once again benefit these local volunteer based organizations:
*The Fire Fighters Burn Fund
*Strathcona Community Centre Food Security Program
*St. James Music Academy
If you have something for the silent auction or would like to help out with the event: Sandra @ 604-928-4416