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False Creek Flats Draft report and road through Strathcona Park

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
City Council hears the draft report on the Flase Creeek Flats today, including the option for a road through Stratchona Park. The following is the SRA Council response.

May 15, 2017

 
Mayor and Council
City of Vancouver
Vancouver City Hall
453 West 12th Ave
Vancouver, BC
V5Y 1V4

Strathcona Residents Association:
Comments on proposed False Creek Flats draft report
 
Dear Mayor Robertson and Councillors of Vancouver,
As you will be aware, the Strathcona Residents Association (SRA) has been actively
engaged with the False Creek’s planning committee regarding the new arterial
proposals and revitalization plans for the False Creek Flats. Our comments in this letter
are provided in the interest of the health and sustainability of our neighbourhood.
 
We recognize ourselves as a diverse community and sought to find consensus over the
proposed changes and their impacts for our neighbourhood during a vote on April 5th,
2017. The vast majority rejected the options “Malkin” and “Williams” on the grounds of:
 
- Lost space of Strathcona Park, recreational areas and eagle habitat.
Strathcona Park is the closest park for many community members. The arterial
expansion “Williams” will have permanent impacts for our community members
who frequently use this urban green space. We will be bearing the costs of such
development decisions, sacrificing also recreational use of a track field, baseball
field, tennis fields, trees and their inhabiting eagle population.
We conducted a SRA survey in February 2017 to explore the utilization of
Strathcona Park by our community. While the majority of participants indicated
daily or weekly use of the park, they also identified the adjacent traffic of Prior
Street as the greatest deterrent from using the park more frequently – a constraint
that would be further heightened by an arterial road running straight through it.
- Lost jobs for employees at the Produce Terminals, lost business for owners.
This concern is also shared by the Vancouver Board of Trade.
- Lost green space for community members of the Cottonwood Gardens.
 
Rerouting the new arterial along “National” is the option favoured by the SRA. We
believe that the increased rail traffic, necessity to build rail overpasses and redirect 
traffic calls for increased financial contribution from the Port of Vancouver and the
Federal Government toward a sustainable solution. As some city staff members
expressed resistance to “National”, we were particularly surprised that an alternate “4th
way” included in early city concepts was omitted from the draft presented to
council on Wednesday, April 17th 2017. We have interpreted and endorsed this “4th
way” in the image below.
 
 Arterial extension proposed as a 4th  option by the Strathcona Residents Association.
 
Vehicles on Main Street are proposed to turn East on Prior Street and travel on a short
connector through city-owned land towards the storage sheds on the North end of the
National Works Yard (701 National Street). It will traverse a small corner of Trillium
Park, cross Thornton Street and progress along the path of the city storage units. The
route further crosses Chess Street and enters the city-owned VFD land (1330 Chess
Street) and enters into railway-owned land with buried dead tracks (1451 Glen
Drive). From there a short overpass across the tracks would connect to Grant Street
and channel into Clark Street or Vernon Drive.
 
The following arguments outline the advantages of this “4th option” over the other three:
- Significantly lower costs to build since minimal land needs to be acquired that
the city does not already own.
Lowest impact and most agreeable solution for all stakeholders affected by
this arterial: Strathcona residents, owners/employees of the produce row on
Malkin Street, and community members utilizing the Cottonwood Garden.
 

Despite our efforts to contact senior planners and senior transportation engineers, we

have not received adequate information on why our proposal cannot be explored as a
4th option and presented to council at this stage. We therefore request for additional
studies to be conducted that thoroughly investigate this proposal for a 4th arterial
route.
 
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments at this time. We understand that the
mandate of the False Creek Flats planning committee is “to unlock the economic
potential of the area by creating a more productive, sustainable and integrated False
Creek Flats”. As one of the residential communities most directly impacted by this
proposed project, and as an already park-deficient community expected to receive
considerable population increase in the coming years, we hope you will give serious
consideration to the comments of Strathcona’s residents and choose to protect our local
community with a sustainable solution that integrates our history as Vancouver’s oldest
neighbourhood.
 
Sincerely,
Charis Walko, Dan Jackson, Jeff Murton, Wilson Liang

 

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