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Meeting Wednesday March 5: DTES LAPP, news and more.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hello Friends and Neighbours,

Some news and updates for you, inlcuding agenda for our next meeting:
Wendesday, March 5, 7:15 at the Strathcona Community Centre

Of course, top of the list is final draft of the Local Area Plan for the Downtown Eastside and Strathcona, which has just been released and will be going to council on March 12. We'll be offering some background and points to consider below - with an expanded conversation at this Wednesday

A reminder too that dogs have been getting sick after allegedly eating rat poison in Strathcona Park, details are below - but please be vigilant if you use the off leash park.

- Pete Fry, SRA Chair

In this newsletter:

  1. DTES Local Area Plan
  2. Dog Danger: Rat Poison in Strathcona Park
  3. Agenda for Wednesday's meeting
  4. Community Announcements:
    • Neighbouhrood Small Grants
    • Black Strathcona Project
    • Ukrainian Hall's Dovbush Dancers at Discover Dance!
    • Bill C-38 Omnibus Counter-spell: Bill Jefferies
  5. Minutes from last months meeting

DTES Local Area Plan

The DTES Local Area Plan will spark significant development in the DTES as well as an almost doubling of the population over the next thirty years. The final draft of the plan and accompanying staff report was released on Thursday - and were followed up by a release of the Social Impact Assessment on Friday.

The SRA executive have met, discussed and agreed not to support this draft plan. At the time of this writing, there seems to be no support from any of the thirty stakeholder groups that have been working on this plan for the last two years. We'll unpack some of the issues, failures of the process as well as discuss opportunities for comment at our meeting wednesday.

It's important to understand there is a lot of good stuff in this plan, and the City staff responsible did an admirable job working on the draft and facilitating the process. The plan presents very well, and media coverage has been largely positive - although it should be noted that members of the citizen planning committee were not allowed to attend the media presentation, nor were we able to review the City's presentation: which was conducted by the City's corporate communication department, so media coverage has been largely one-sided.

Strathconans will remember the SRA initially rejected the planning process as flawed, but reluctantly agreed to join when it seemed the City was determined to continue, flawed process or not. We are extremely concerned that the over 450 pages of plan and associated reports have been released with less than two weeks to read and analyze before it goes to council. Ostensibly, we are being told the plan is essentially the same as earlier iterations with only minor technical details, although we note at least one major change in the form of a significant increase in the population projection for the area. As they say, the devil is in the details.

Staff Report and Plan

Social Impact Assessment

Corporate Communications presentation for media

Lastly, there has been a good deal of concern over proposed "no-condo zone" in the 10 blocks of the DEOD. In many respects we feel this is a bit of a red herring. The pretense includes 40% market rental and 20% "affordable" housing - with the remaining 40% split between shelter rate and CMHC's Housing Income allowance (30% income) rate. To put a dollar value on that, a one bedroom at the CMHC rate would be about $950, a one-bedroom at the "affordable" rate would be about $1350. The scheme proposed significant height and density increases and relies on uncommitted federal / provincial money and developer levies. We feel that the "upzoning" being proposed will cause significant land lift and resultant speculation that will negatively impact retail and industrial diversity as well as social sustainability and liveabilty, and ironically the very "affordable housing" it is proposing to protect. For perspective on the market economics driving purpose built rental, we suggest the Western Investor's recent "Why New Rentals are Being Built" article provides some context behind the market economics behind schemes like this and Rental 100 in the West End.
Fears that the 60-40 DEOD zoning will be a "ghetto" are likely overblown, if anything the proposal seems to underperform with respect to delivering affordable housing

Wednesday we'll explain how you can comment on the plan and process - and why we are recommending residents write in rather than attend City Hall in person.

Dog Danger: Rat Poison in Strathcona Park

Last week, we posted to the website and twitter a warning from neighbours Janine and Claire advising of dogs ingesting poison in Strathcona Park and getting quite sick. The story quickly went viral and gathered a significant amount of media attention. While the reaction and attention may have been a bit overblown, a number of dogs have gotten quite sick over the last month. Park users have noted a significant number of dead rats and Cottonwood Gardeners have reported a stranger allegedly and indiscriminately distributing rat poison in the area. Please be careful and mind what you dog gets into in the off-leash area. Further details in our blog post on the website.

Agenda for Wednesday Meeting

  1. Community Announcements
  2. DTES LAPP discussion
  3. Updates on Ming Sun Building and Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
  4. New Business

Community Announcements

as always events can be found on our website

Vancouver Foundation Neighbourhood Small Grants

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? Program launches March 3 and application for deadlines is April 7, 2014. The NSG program has successfully bootstrapped a number of great events and activities here in Strathcona. Find out more at Carnegie, Strathcona or Ray-Cam Community Centres.

Black Strathcona Interactive Project

One Community, Six Decades, Ten Stories
This interactive self-guided tour and celebration of Strathcona's rich cultural heritage launched February 22 as part of Black History Month. It is comprised of 10, 2-3 minute films on members of the black community. The films can be accessed in two ways: on the website, or, by taking a self-guided tour through the neighbourhood, locating the markers (map on website) and using a mobile device, download and hear the story that happened in that location.

Bill C-38 Omnibus Counter-spell

Former long-time Strathcona resident Bill Jeffries is having a small exhibition at 'China Cloud Gallery', 524 Main Street. Bill says: 'The subject is the Prime Minister & his policies - I have reversed portraits of him into colour negative in the hope that my act of conjuring will cause him to reverse his ideological position on the environment. The images will also allow him to see how ghostly & ghastly things look when they are rapidly reversed without proper consultation, a la Bill C-38. Opening Weds night March 12, 6:30 to 8:30 & then Saturday afternoons March 22 & 29 from 1 to 5, when I'll be sitting the space.' Note: China Cloud does not have regular hours - their Facebook page lists their schedule of events. Opens Wednesday March 12

The Dovbush Dancers

The Discover Dance! series presents an exciting program of exuberant, colorful dances from different regions of Ukraine
[Based at Strathcona's Ukrainian Hall] Dovbush is a highly-trained Ukrainian Folk-Stage dance ensemble which performs joyful, colourful dances from many regions of Ukraine. The group operates under the auspices of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians, which has been an integral part of the Ukrainian community in Vancouver for 85 years and also supports the AUUC School of Dance, the Barvinok Choir and the Vancouver Folk Orchestra. Dovbush consists of twenty dancers aged 15-35, and the company has built an outstanding reputation for excellence and authenticity, performing at festivals, community events and competitions regionally and nationally. Artistic Director Deborah (Wishinski) Karras trained in Canada and at the studio for the Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble in Kiev; the company travelled to the Virsky studio in summer 2013 for an intensive training program.
12 noon - Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St (at Granville), Vancouver
Video clip: