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Meeting this wednesday: LAPP, PHS, news and events, plus a special presentation on Music Tree festival in Strathcona Park

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hello Friends and Neighbours,
Some news and updates for you, inlcuding agenda for our next meeting:
Wendesday, April 2, 7:15 at the Strathcona Community Centre

There's plenty of stuff going on in the neighbourhood, including tomorrow - Spade to Spoon ( Strathcona's own food and garden event) at the community centre, the public hearing for the DTES LAP on tuesday - and the deadline for Neighbourhood Small Grants - Monday April 7th!

Wednesday's SRA meeting will include a special presentation about The Music Tree, a big festival being planned for July 5th in Strathcona Park; as well as updates and discussions around the latest neighbourhood news, including the situation with PHS and the services they provide.

- Pete Fry, SRA Chair

In this newsletter:

  1. Community Announcements:
    • Spade to Spoon this Saturday
    • Public Hearing DTES LAPP Tuesday April 1
    • Neighbourhood Small Grants/ Greenest City Grants deadline April 7
    • Maps and Memories, 4th DTES Artfare Institute, June 6-8
  2. DTES Local Area Plan Zoning and Other Bylaw Amendments Public Hearing
  3. PHS Situation
  4. Aggressive coyote, poisoned rats in Strathcona Park
  5. Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, Metro Vancouver Alliance
  6. Introducing Music Tree Festival in Strathcona Park (*this month's guest presentation)
  7. Agenda for Wednesday's meeting
  8. Minutes from last month's meeting

1. Community Announcements

as always events can be found on our website

Spade to Spoon, Strathcona's own food and garden event - TOMORROW, March 29

Get inspired to grow a little. This homegrown event will introduce you to some local people and resources that can help you build a better garden as well as add some real deliciousness to your table.

Peter Ladner will talk on The Urban Food Revolution (and book signing).
Entertainment: Movies including Meet your Local Urban Farmer and Truck Farm
Demonstrations include: growing your own mushrooms, a composting workshop with Homesteaders Emporium, marvellous microgreens (healthy and fun), how to make a self watering container, and all about honey.
10am - 4pm. Lord Strathcona Elementary, 593 East Pender Street

Public Hearing DTES LAPP - April 1

The agenda for the public hearing for Council to consider Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan Zoning and Other By-law Amendments is now online, and includes links to the new bylaws. [more on this below]

Anyone who considers themselves affected by the proposed by-law amendments may speak at the Public Hearing. Please register individually before 5 pm on April 1, 2014, by:
phone: 604.829.4238
in-person: 5:30 to 6 pm on day of Public Hearing
For more information on Public Hearings and ways to share your views, please visit:

Vancouver Foundation Neighbourhood Small Grants/Greenest City Grants - deadline April 7

Deadline for grant applications is April 7. The small grants program has helped bootstrap a number of awesome events and initiatives in Strathcona and around the DTES - this year includes a separate stream for "Greenest City" initiatives. Neighbourhood Small Grants is Vancouver Foundation’s unique program that helps build community and strengthen connections right where people live. Have a great idea for your the neighbourhood? Application deadlines is April 7, 2014. Find out more at Carnegie, Strathcona or Ray-Cam Community Centres.

Maps & Memories 4th Downtown Eastside Artfare Institute

A three-day intensive workshop on researching and expressing community stories through oral history and mapping.
Vancouver Moving Theatre and Jumblies Theatre are pleased to announce the newest round of the Downtown Eastside Artfare Institutes. This three-day workshop on community-engaged practice will explore the gathering of personal and ancestral histories; images of landscapes and waterways from False Creek to Burrard Inlet and beyond; and their application in community-engaged art making.
Friday, June 6, 2014 - Sunday, June 8, 2014 Application Deadline May 5

2. DTES Local Area Plan Public Hearing

With the Local Area Plan approved, the actual zoning and bylaws will be voted on. The SRA will be re-presenting based on our established concerns. Members of the low income community are expected to present based on concerns with the new definition of social housing, SRO renovation grants and proposed "micro-dwellings" - they will also be reiterating their support for the 60/40 zone in the DEOD (you can read more on their position here).

3. PHS Situation

As many will have heard, the Portland Hotel Society has had its board replaced - amidst an audit and allegations of misspending. There has been a lot of media commentary and controversy, but regardless, most agree that the PHS have done a good job advocating for and providing services to the DTES as well as employing a great number of neighbours here in Strathcona and the DTES. A new interim board will be taking over next week and while the health and housing aspects are expected to be retained - there is a concern that some of the social enterprises may be on the chopping block. Provincial Housing Minister, Rich Coleman was quoted in the Globe and Mail this week: "We have not come to any conclusion there was fraud. There was bad spending, irresponsible spending... The deficit was caused by these social enterprises... We’re not going to subsidize all this stuff "[link]. There is a Facebook Group: "Friends of the PHS" if you would like to find out more.

At Wednesday's SRA meeting, we will discuss the role of PHS social enterprises and how they benefit the local economy and community development —  and what (if any) position the SRA should take in advocating for their value as part of the revitalization (without displacement) of the DTES.

4. Aggressive Coyote and Poisoned Rats in Strathcona Park

Last month, we warned dog owners about rat poison in Strathcona Park. While no dogs have gotten sick since that warning - there are still a number of dead rats showing up in and around Cottonwood Gardens - so please be vigilant. We have also received a number of emails about a coyote in the area, often seen in the middle of the day, and often around the area of the Union Market. In the last two weeks, two dogs (and their owners) have reportedly been attacked by an aggressive female coyote who is apparently "nesting" in Cottonwood Gardens. If you encounter a brazen and habituated coyote the best thing you can do for the safety of coyotes, pets and people is to frighten the coyote away.
Do not run – this could trigger a hunt or play instinct in the coyote
Raise your arms above your head and act aggressively
Yell “Go Away Coyote” – the sound will scare it and alert others that a coyote is near

5. Metro Vancouver Alliance and Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Last month, SRA executive members attended the Founding Assembly of the Metro Vancouver Alliance. The MVA currently includes 36 member organizations (a broad based alliance of community groups, labour, faith and educational institutions ) representing over 200,000 people from across Vancouver - all working together to bring real change to the City. The MVA have identified four core objectives for collaboration: Housing, Poverty, Social Isolation, and Transit. We'll report on the Founding Assembly and discuss how the SRA might get involved. We will also report latest news from the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods.

6. Introducing Music Tree Festival in Strathcona Park

At Wednesday's meeting we will be joined by Angus Ramsay, Event Coordinator for The Music Tree. The Music Tree is an East Van not-for-profit whose mandates include community building by bringing people together with music. They have been given approval by the Park Board to host a 3000 ticket music festival in Strathcona Park on Saturday, July the 5th 2014 —  and are excited to work with and engage the Strathcona community as partners. One of the main beneficiaries of this event will be the St. James Music Academy.
Angus will bring a presentation and answer any questions Wednesday. More on the The Music Tree here.

7. Agenda for Wednesday Meeting

  1. Community Announcements
  2. DTES Local Area Plan Zoning and Other Bylaw Amendments Public Hearing [update]
  3. PHS Situation
  4. Aggressive coyote, poisoned rats in Strathcona Park
  5. Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, Metro Vancouver Alliance
  6. Neighbourhood Small Grants and SRA applications
  7. New Business
  8. Guest Presentation: Music Tree Festival in Strathcona Park

8. Minutes from Last Month's meeting

SRA Meeting Wednesday March 5, 2014

Community Announcements

Rat poison in the park discussion.
Belief now is that it wasn't a deliberate dog poisoning,
The City and residents are on it.
Amazing amount of coverage on it.

DTES LAPP discussion
- Report is out, it is huge and impossible to assess completely - devil is in the details
- Most of the people who were on the LAPP committee rejected the report, mostly due to issues of process. Unfortunately there was no consensus on a position to take in this rejection, so stakeholders are making their own statements and pursuing their own concerns.
- Our position is that substantive issues were never on the table, and the resulting report is skewed towards the bottom and the top.
- 60/40 no condo zone a bit of a red herring, "social housing" is essentially rental housing, plan does not address the actual need for housing in the DTES, planning is more about unlocking development
- Built form, which is tall concrete towers, are going ahead.
- DEOD and Hastings corridor will see double the population in the next 15 years but no new facilities, and no real consideration of traffic concerns.
- Coastal Health has done its own long-term plan completely separate from the LAPP or any other process.
- No implementation strategy for how this will happen, so its left to the developers.
- Council discussed we boycott the city council and their alleged consultations, since that would just result in city council pitting us against other groups, then portraying the community as too divided to work with any further.
- Question: Any interest from the LAPP stakeholders in extending the LAPP in order address these issues?
Answer: Everyone is burnt out, there's little likelihood of agreement and less faith in getting anything out of such an extension. Plus with the DNC and CCAP divided, and the fight getting ugly, there's the likelihood that any revived LAPP would become the focus of that fight.
- Question: Are there stakeholders from the LAPP that we could still work with in pursuing shared goals.
Answer: Good idea to invite people to discuss this, informally. We could apply for a neighborhood grant. ALIVE is sponsoring a community forum next Monday (10th) at RayCam
- Question: what potential repercussions of boycotting?
Answer: this plan was in place years ago, land was bought and deals were made before the LAPP, so what was always going to happen will just happen.
- Question: what could we shoot to achieve?
Answer: new community centre, a pool, an actual implementation strategy which involves community input and is followed by supervision, arts community space, some revision of built-form from towers to low rises.
- Question: Were there any successes for the SRA?
Answer: view cone from McLean Park was protected. A number of small wins were integrated into the plan, but that's it for now.
- Updates on Ming Sun Building and Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
- The LAPP will go through before the Heritage Registry is updated, which means the property value and taxes will go up dramatically and they will not be able to meet the new expense. One way or another, they will be driven out unless the City intervenes or someone wins the lottery.

New Business
Pete Fry is transitioning out of the Chair over the next few months. He will be standing for nomination as Green Party candidate for City Council, the decision will be made in May.
With LAPP done, council will be re-focusing on issues and events that are more directly affect the community.
We will be reviving the speaker’s series, starting with a speaker on disaster preparedness for community (John).
Suggestions are more on heritage and history (John Atkin), more outdoor film and social events, have Black Strathcona present the show here at a meeting, have an open meeting to invite people into map and plan what the SRA should focus on, work to increase the diversity and representativeness of the SRA.
Agreed that we don't necessarily need everyone to join the SRA and attend meetings, but we do need to hear from and serve the broader community.
Revive the neighborhood garage sale