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Meeting March 1, Panel Discussion: The Future of Chinatown

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dear Neighbours, 

For our upcoming SRA Meeting on March 1 at 7pm in the Strathcona Community Centre, we have invited several stakeholders to participate in a panel discussion on "The Future of Chinatown". With many new property development projects underway in Chinatown, our community has raised concern during the December SRA Meeting about implications for Chinatown's residents, businesses and culture. Given that the future of Chinatown is very closely linked to that of Strathcona, we would like to invite everyone to participate in this discussion and learn what is happening to Chinatown from different perspectives. Ask questions and voice your concerns. 

During our last SRA Meeting we had a chance to hear from Ross Kenny about the City of Vancouver's plans in regards to updating the Union Street bike path traveling through our neighbourhood (see meeting minutes below). The community's concerns voiced in the SRA November 2016 meeting were only sparingly met by this proposals in improving the safety of pedestrians and cyclists along Union Street, further calming traffic and extending Vancouver cycle path network throughout the Union/Adanac corridor. However, there has been interest to hear from local artists about ideas to install art at the chicane. Please contact the SRA with proposals. 

Best wishes, 
 
The Strathcona Residents Association
Dan Jackson, Wilson Liang, Charis Walko
 
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MEETING AGENDA - March 1, 2017
 
Welcome and Introductions
Updates from the Committees and SRA
Neighbourhood Updates 
Panel Discussion: "The Future of Chinatown"
Topic for Next SRA Meeting on April 5th
Business and Motions from the Floor
 
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MEETING MINUTES - February 1, 2017

Welcome - 7:15pm


Introductions

  • Request to fill out the attendance sheet that is passed around.

  • Overview of the agenda for the evening

    • Committee updates, neighbourhood updates, February SRA Meeting updates and Union Street Bike Route

  • Guest Attendees: Ross Kenny & John Clelland from the City of Vancouver


Committee Updates

  • Treasury (Dan)

    • Society status of SRA has been restated.

    • Bank account will be opened on Tuesday. Balance: $8000.

  • Prior Safety (Dick)

    • Speed meters on Prior Street haven’t made much difference to the speed of vehicles. Committee is working with CoV on what can be done about it. Proposal to hang speed meters at lower level.

  • Film (Caroline)

    • SRA website includes a form for filming crews to fill out to indicate their interest to film in our community.

    • Income since last update: $250.

  • Rail Safety (Matthew on behalf of Pete)

    • Committee set up after last month’s meeting.

    • Committee hasn’t met in person through an extensive briefing document has been circulated.

    • Focus on four items:

      • Information sharing and train service scheduling — working to ensure traffic backlogs and rat running through Strathcona can be avoided.

      • Emergency management and safety protocols — disaster response, evacuation protocols need to be in place and communicated to the community.

      • Standards of maintenance and operation — track garbage, security and safety of rail, right of way need to be investigated.

      • Mitigation of pollution and diesel exhaust through residential communities — specific hazards of diesel engines, especially dangerous to children and the elderly need to be addressed.

    • Concerns have made their way to desk of Western Canada Operations Transport Canada, though no response yet, suggest re-circulating to more political types if no timely reply.

    • SRA followed up with CoV to install device to monitor train presence at Venables (frequency, and time of road blockage). City purchasing now and expected to be installed and gathering data mid-Feb. Will be correlated with traffic monitoring on Glen, Campbell, and Jackson.


Review of SRA Meeting in January (Matthew)

  • Motion to pass minutes from the January meeting (second? passed).

  • City of Vancouver and Vancouver Park board presented latest plans for Prior/Venables replacement.

    • Options discussed included National, Malkin, and Williams.

    • Update on speaking with Malkin business owners (Dan):

      • Stakeholders of Malkin Street (produce row owners) do not want Malkin to be arterial due to its interference with their business.

    • Strathcona needs to come to a consensus about where we stand as a community. We will conduct a survey.

    • Q: Is National Street still on the table? A: Yes, National is still on the table. But Williams Street is being favoured by the city and the produce row. We might need to agree on what we ask for in exchange for losing out to the Williams Street option.

    • There are plans for Strathcona Park to be remodelled and we could bring in our hopes and expectations for this. However, we need to bring one voice. Survey to be conducted (see below: Park Survey).

    • Q: We have lowest resident-to-park ratio in Vancouver and could request to extend the park to the firestation and have firestation replaced? A: Park cannot be expanded to firestation.

    • Q: Is firestation going to be decommissioned? It could be used for community centre?

    • Proposing unified stance for National as it has the lowest impact on residents, business and park space.


Neighbourhood Updates

  • Strathcona Community Centre - Funding (Shannon Williams)

    • Shannon helps run the Strathcona Community Centre.

    • Park Board wants all community centres to be united under joined operating agreement.

    • However, challenge for Strathcona’s Community Centre is financing of this facility. Of the $1.7 mio operating cost, $1 mio is financed by the Community Centre itself and Ron Suzuki is a great donor.

    • Community Centre is challenged with bringing in its own revenue due to the small size of the Community Centre and the diversity of the population. Reliance on grants which is not sustainable.

    • Community Centre is crucial for community due to various programs offered, particularly those focused on assisting families living with food insecurity: provision of breakfast program, weekend backpack program, snack program.

    • Looking for support to allow stable funding as part of JOA Park Board meeting next week on February 8 at 4.30pm at the Wosk Centre (580 West Hastings). Request for SRA members to show support and voice importance to commissioners of Community Centre for Strathcona. Speaks need to sign up in advance.  

  • Park Survey (Matthew)

    • Park Board are looking at a master plan for renewal of Strathcona Park.

    • Best to get ahead of this and voice our thoughts earlier than later

    • Will distribute a Google survey with multiple choice questions to help consolidate

      • E.g. What would you like more or less of in the park (outdoor pool, kids play area, access to nature, etc...

      • How often do you use the park?

      • What would make you use the park more?

      • What do you like least about the park

      • What other parks in area should be addres?

    • For questions or wanting to help with this, request to contact SRA council.

  • Healthy Communities Conversation (Matthew)

    • Event took place Janary 19th

    • Turnout was reasonable, attendance was primarily from service providers.

    • Stamps Place representative called in sick last minute, and their members in attendance did complain that event was too service provider oriented

    • Positives:

      • Outcome was very positive, communication open

      • First Nations Health Authority are now looking at ways to better engage Urban Aboriginals

      • Vancouver Coastal Health have committed to a community reference panel

    • Debrief and next steps scheduled for this week

    • For further questions, request to speak to Pete Fry after the meeting

  • Community Policing Centre (CPC) (Dan)

    • CPC was committed to in December by CoV, part of a $7.5m budget to combat fentanyl/overdose crisis

    • Staff recommended a CPC as migration eastward of services for DTES

    • A few days before council meeting, Carnegie Community Action Project launched opposition to CPC.

    • Caught many by surprise who assumed was already a commitment by city

    • SRA and many local organizations wrote letters in support including Ray Cam, Stamp’s Place Tenants Council, Aboriginal Life In Vancouver Enhancement, Network Inner City Community Services Society

    • SRA sent out a call to action and many residents also wrote in to CoV to support CPC

    • Much concern over language of “Policing” - focus is really on community, neighbourhood is already heavily policed. CPC creates an interface between  community and police. Deputized police is not expected at CPC.

    • Some have suggested better to call this a “Safety Office” - which is ideal, although VPD will want to include CPC as part of their branding (city-wide).

    • Funding for CPC passed last Wednesday.

    • Currently getting society registered and securing the funding during this fiscal quarter.

    • Hunt is on for a storefront, ideally between 500 and 800 block of East Hastings, consideration for co-location as appropriate.

    • Community-led, as soon as possible an AGM to elect a citizen board.

    • VPD, neighbourhood associations and agencies do not have seats at the board table, but there will be a structure to include them as advisory board.

    • Q: Media suggested that SRA was in favour of CPC. What is the history with SRA’s stand on this? A: There has been a long-standing request to have a CPC in Strathcona. This has been supported by other community groups in Strathcona (e.g. Raycam). CPC used to be part of the community.

  • Update and letter of support for Chinatown (Doris Chow)

    • Beatty development on Keefer Street: SRA has previously agreed to write a letter of support

    • Policy review of zoning in Chinatown: minimum 200 feet lots on Main Street allows for larger buildings and big box stores to enter the neighbourhood.

    • Request for SRA to express a position on this zoning

    • Request to show support and attend Open House on Saturday at Chinese Cultural Centre 10am-1pm

    • Request to inform Chinese residents about this

    • Also notice of book of condolences for Joe Wai in Chinese Cultural Centre - he was a local Strathcona hero (http://langaraprm.com/2006/arts/structural-integrity-architect-joe-wai/).


Upcoming February Meetings

  • Chinatown Economic Revitalization Update & Development Policies Review (Beverley)

    • Saturday, February 4th, 10am to 1pm, Chinese Cultural Centre 50 East Pender St.

    • Proposal allows for significantly larger street frontages of big block developments


Union/Adanac Bike Path (Matthew - 8pm at the latest)

  • Background: Ross from CoV attended SRA meeting in November to hear concerns about bike path developments on Union Street. SRA council summarized and sent key points raised in that meeting to CoV (better cyclist awareness of pedestrian right of way, enforce safety/rules, crosswalks on intersections, changes to chicane (e.g. speed bump) to slow down cyclists, 4-way stop sign/light at campbell, maintain street parking).

  • Ross Kenny to share a short presentation on planned updated to Union Street bike path:

    • Proposed updates address some, but not all of SRA’s concerns

    • Key objectives: improve safety and comfort of all walkers and cyclists, further calm traffic on bike path, enhance and extend cyclist corridor

    • Discussion of improvements focused during this meeting on Strathcona section of the cyclist route

    • In the Vancouver port area, the cycling per home ratio is nearly double than other communities (17%). Strathcona sees the third biggest cyclist volume after Science World and the Burrard Bridge.

    • Goal to develop “all ages and abilities” path: means local street bikeways, protected bike lanes, off-street pathway.

    • Union Street bike path section between Gore to Dunlevy

      • Up to 1500 vehicles a day

      • Proposal for Union Street to be one way going east

      • Anticipated decrease of traffic to 700-800 vehicles per day

    • CoV perform traffic data study and found that less than ⅓ of traffic traveling through Strathcona was local. People commuting on Prior Street turn onto local streets, especially Union, to speed up their travel.

    • Q: In 2013 there was a proposal for designated bike lanes in Strathcona. Is this choking access at Union Street to pave the way for designated bike lane throughout the rest of Strathcona? Is it necessary to do this right now? Also with complications of the the railway crossing, this seems to induce further chaos. A: There is no intention to put protected lanes throughout the rest of Union Street. The closure essentially removes car traffic, making further protected bike lanes not necessary. The main focus of the proposal is the pedestrian safety improvements. Pedestrian improvements could stay for the long run. Isolated bike paths could be removed at minimal cost.

    • Q: Will this bring more traffic to Jackson and Keefer, by the school? A: CoV will be monitoring and measuring the impact.

    • Q: Is it possible to drive westbound traffic on Prior around viaducts to remove traffic from the school? A: Unlikely to get involved with viaducts as it is a long term, complicated process. Need to find solutions for now.

    • Q: Are cyclists required to stop at pedestrian crosswalks? Yes, it is a legal crosswalk. Doesn’t change with paint, technically.

    • Q: Current issue of cyclists not stopping at Hawks crossing, therefore what would change with this proposal?

    • Q: Do the perpendicular running stop signs create a bike super highway? A: No stop sign at Campbell in plan now, but could be open to it once these elements in place.

    • Q: Any plans for policing of bikes on the cycle route? A: Essentially no. VPD says it’s an engineering issue.

    • Q: Consideration to introduce pedestrian-activating crossing? A: Don’t do this for low traffic areas, more for arterials.

    • Q: Why not introduce other ways to control speed, e.g. speed bumps? A: The city doesn’t put speed bumps anywhere. Says it’s dangerous

    • Q: If no speed bumps, then chicane needs to be steeper to slow down traffic.

    • Proposing Pedestrian Bulges

      • Decreases the overall width of the street.

      • Visual cut to cyclists/drivers; improved visibility.

      • Shorter crossing distance for pedestrians.

      • Data shows that this encourages slower speed through intersections

      • Opportunity for public space and green street gardens

        • Resident sponsored

        • option for seating and ground water basin

    • Q: Cost of installing pedestrian bulge? A: $30-50k. Partly to redo drainage and street lighting.

    • Plan to install curb ramps through the whole city.

    • Plan to improve lighting for everyone, driving, pedestrians and cycling.

    • Q: How do bulges impact parking? A: Depends on where the signs are, but should be minimal. Maybe 2-3 meters removed. Regulations mediated by bylaws. CoV can’t commit to “no loss of parking”.

    • Vernon: Busiest and most confusing part of the bike path. A lot of traffic of vehicles cutting through neighbourhood. Proposal: closure to vehicles.

    • Q: What happens to the 2000 cars a day travelling through this section, specifically with the increased train traffic?

    • Q: People on Vernon told they had to pay for their own traffic calming. Affects most people going from Venables to Hastings.

    • Q: What is going to happen with both an east and west closure to the neighbourhood?

    • Next steps: online survey is still open and will be evaluated once closed. Timing for final designs (end of spring 2017) and implementation over next few years. Possible to input into what happens (e.g. where bulges are put in place). Will consult Strathcona about creative solutions and signs for bike highway.

Other Business and Motions from the Floor

  • None.