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Guest Speaker in February - Tom Wanklin, City of Vancouver Senior Planner for DTES

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hello everyone,

We are excited to announce that Tom Wanklin, Senior Planner with the City of Vancouver, in charge of our area (DTES) as well as the study currently going on for the Eastern Core and Northeast False Creek (involving the viaducts) will be our guest at the next SRA meeting on Feb 4th. It’s been a while since we’ve had a good sit down with City Staff, and this is an amazing opportunity for a Q & A with a planner who is directly linked with our neighbourhood.

We will be accepting questions and suggested topics for discussion with Tom. Please send them by e-mailing council@strathcona-residents.org

Mark your calendars and spread the word: SRA meeting with guest speaker, Tom Wanklin - Wednesday, February 4th 7:15 pm at the Strathcona Community Centre.

A few announcements about upcoming events in the neighbourhood:

1. TONIGHT: Tues, Jan 13 from 7-9pm. Screening of the documentary “Everything Will Be” at VPL Central branch. Doors open at 6.

http://vpl.bibliocommons.com/events#/events/search/q=Everything%20will/event/54808e39f6b6b404630182cf

"Julia Kwan, Sundance award-winning director, captures Vancouver's Chinatown in the midst of transformation. Long-time residents and newcomers offer intimate reflections on change, memory and legacy under the neon sign reading "EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT" that looms over Chinatown's oldest building recently restored. A Q and A session will be held after the screening with filmmaker Julia Kwan.

Before the screening, participants are invited to take part in a collaborative community art mosaic for Chinatown led by local artist Ken Lum.

Review from a local mom : This is a beautiful and heartbreaking documentary. The questions the film raises are close to home for all of us who live in Strathcona. I'm looking forward to seeing it a second time.

2. Monday, January 19 at 10 am: The official groundbreaking of Vancouver Public Library’s nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch & YWCA Cause We Care House with Mayor Gregor Robertson.

At the construction site at 730 East Hastings, between Heatley and Hawks, please enter from alley and dress for the weather.
To attend please RSVP by January 15 to 604.331.4094 or joan.brookes@vpl.ca.

3. Monday, January 26th 5-8 pm: 420 Hawks rezoning application open house at the Rice Block, 404 Hawks Avenue.
This seven-storey development project was discussed at our last meeting (see minutes below) and see City website information of the proposal:
http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/420hawksave/index.htm

The Stamps Place Tenants Council is planning a rally at the same time and location to call attention to the looming sale of this BC Housing family housing project which could put the current 1500 tenants at risk of rent hikes or even eviction.

That’s it for now. Stay in touch!
Looking forward to seeing everyone on February 4th.

Regards,

SRA Executive Council: Elana, Rick, Gord, Chris and Roberta

MINUTES OF S.R.A. MEETING ON January 7, 2015

Elana chaired the meeting and Rick took the minutes.

We welcomed two new Strathcona neighbours to tonight’s meeting.

Zoning Committee Report
Elana said the Zoning Committee comments – at the request of the City’s Planning Department – on development applications in Strathcona, with the goal of preserving the neighbourhood’s heritage street-scapes. She said a request has been made to comment on a proposed development at 703 Heatley Street, on the southwest corner of Heatley and Georgia. This development includes the house at the corner and the one next to it on Heatley. Elana said the Zoning Committee supports the development application, but is asking that the developer provide a bit more clarity in the application and provide a better conservation plan for the site’s heritage features.

Prior Street Traffic
We are hoping to hear from the City in the next month or so about the recent traffic audit of Prior Street, Elana said. Will the City agree to more traffic-calming measures?

There were no more committee reports tonight. The discussion turned to information-sharing about some of the other developments in the neighbourhood.

Library Ground-Breaking
A ground-breaking ceremony for the new Strathcona branch of the Vancouver Public Library will be held on Monday, January 19, at 10:00 a.m. in the middle of the 700-block East Hastings, south side. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to 604-331-4094 or joan.brooks@vpl.ca.

Container Housing Open House
An Open House will be held by the City on Monday, January 26, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., regarding the plan by Atira Housing to develop a 7-storey residential building at 420 Hawks (behind the Rice Block at Hawks and Hastings). Atira plans 26 units of social housing for women and children to be built out of re-purposed shipping containers. The Open House will be in the Rice Block at 404 Hawks. The new development will be densely populated, with a very high floor-space-ratio of 4.7. People should attend the Open House with a critical eye; be prepared to ask that the facility have a neighbourhood covenant or good neighbour agreement. Atira has a growing reputation for poorly managed social housing facilities. For more information on the proposed development, go to www.vancouver.ca/rezapps or contact the Rezoning Planner at linda.gillan@vancouver.ca.

Other
The long-promised seismic upgrade to Strathcona School is still on track, but with no known start date. When it occurs, one building at a time will be upgraded. Classes will be moved out of the affected building into the other school buildings on site, in order to minimize disruptions to the children’s education and daily routine.

Several people have noticed interior renovations happening at the former Catholic elementary school at Pender and Campbell. Sacred Heart Parish had previously proposed a new development there but later withdrew its development permit application.

Rumours and speculation are increasing about work being done at the former Pivot Legal building, west of the Heatley Block in the 600-block East Hastings. There is no confirmed information yet about what new purpose the building may have.

Two new businesses will be opening soon in the Heatley Block, a craft store and a restaurant/bar.

Stamps Place Update
Judy McGuire of the RayCam Community Centre said there are three groups bidding on the sale of the 1500-tenant Stamps Place public housing site. She said the group led by Atira Housing seems to be the front-runner in the process, which would transfer provincially owned land from B.C. Housing to a private non-profit housing provider. (Atira’s executive director is married to the chief executive officer of B.C. Housing.)

Stamps Residents will hold a protest rally in front of the Rice Block on January 26, during the Open House for the proposed new development there, Judy said.

Members of the Stamps Place tenants association are very concerned about the looming sale, Judy said. One of the declared reasons for this sale of public land is to “leverage” the provision of more social housing, which usually means demolition of existing housing (remember Little Mountain) and building anew with higher density. Judy said there have been discussions at RayCam about a “staged renewal” process which would see the current buildings replaced one-at-a-time so no tenants would be displaced, but there are no guarantees the new landlord would follow this process.

Although a new landlord would sign an agreement with B.C. Housing “protecting” existing tenants (from displacement? from drastically increased rents?), details have not been made public. Residents would no longer be tenants of B.C. Housing and would not be able to transfer to other B.C. Housing properties.

Free Wi-Fi?
Judy mentioned that RayCam and Strathcona community centres are in discussions with the City about providing free wi-fi zones in the neighbourhood. No further details at this time.

Guest Speakers
We briefly brainstormed about what interesting guest speakers to invite to SRA meetings. A City Planner familiar with the False Creek Flats planning process would be an interesting choice. Candidates for the upcoming federal election might be another – several people have declared in interest in running for the NDP nomination in Vancouver East, now that Libby Davies is retiring. Residents with ideas for good guest speakers should contact the SRA Executive Committee (council@strathcona-residents.org).

Meeting adjourned; next meeting Wednesday, February 4.