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Neighbourhood News, Stamp's Place & Party on December 3rd!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hi neighbours!

A few notices, especially about important events in the next few days - please read carefully and mark you calendars.

  1. SRA HOLIDAY SOCIAL - Wednesday, December 3rd YOU ARE INVITED
    Our next meeting is Wednesday, December 3rd
    - but no business, just pleasure!
    7:15 pm in the senior’s room at the Strathcona Community Centre.
    Enjoy some music, schmoozing with neighbours and special treats catered by cadeaux bakery.
    Bring your own goodies to share! Kids welcome! Pass on invitation to neighbours and friends.

  2. Rally to protest Stamps Place Sale!
    Friday, November 28th noon to 2 pm
    Raycam & Stamps Place Tenants Council are holding a rally to protest the selling of Stamps Place
    — meet at the RayCam basketball court.
    This is a family friendly event with bannock, soup, door prizes, kid’s games and activities.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1506040222981150/
    Please come out to support our neighbours and also take the time to write the Housing Minister and head of BC Housing.
    See suggestions below*.


  3. Strathcona Winter Craft Fair
    Saturday, November 29th
    10 am to 4 pm at the Strathcona Community Centre Gymnasium
    admission $2 - kids enter free. Come do your holiday shopping locally, support local artists and non-profits!
    http://strathconaevents.org/craft/

  4. Prior Street news - The SRA Prior Street Committee has just heard from City Engineering that the consultants who conducted the Prior Street Safety audit last summer will be putting together ‘emerging directions’ for Prior Street. We hope to have a report from City Staff and/or the consultants in early 2015. Watch for meeting dates in the upcoming newsletter.

  5. Minutes from last SRA meeting. see at the end of this newsletter.

*Write to Minister of Housing about Stamps Place:

Many Strathcona residents will have heard by now that Stamps Place, the large public housing complex east of Campbell Avenue which is home to 1500 people, is for sale by the provincial government.

You may also have heard that this sale of public housing is being done without any community consultation.

The sale of Stamps Place is only a small part of the sell-off of of public assets, including all public housing, by the province. Last fiscal year, the government sold $601 million in public assets, and it was this sale that made a budget surplus possible. However, as BC's auditor-general, Carol Bellringer, remarked in her recent report, "...assets can only be sold once and cannot be relied upon as a continuing revenue stream."

Although the sell-off of public property is a general concern, the Strathcona Residents Association is concerned most immediately with the threat to the housing security of our neighbours at Stamps Place and also at Maclean Housing, which would be sold later.

The documents relating to the province's "request for expressions of interest" to potential buyers of Stamps indicate that "the leveraging of assets" which such a sale would yield to a buyer could only come about by demolishing the current housing and re-building at a higher density.

What will happen to the people who live at Stamps Place if their homes are destroyed?

The SRA Executive Council is urging all Strathcona residents to write to Rich Coleman, the Minister Responsible for Housing, to state their support for our neighbours at Stamps Place, and to urge the Minister and his government to rethink this strategy of selling off public housing assets.

We've included a number of statements which residents can copy and paste into their email messages to Minister Coleman.

Email your message to Minister Coleman, and cc Premier Christy Clark, the CEO of BC Housing, Shane Ramsay, and Vancouver's Mayor and City Council.

EMAIL ADDRESSES
Minister Rich Coleman: rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca,
Premier Clark: premier@gov.bc.ca
Shane Ramsay: sramsay@bchousing.org
Mayor and Council: mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca

START YOUR MESSAGE like this:

Dear Minister Coleman: I am writing to express my concern about the sale of the Stamps Place public housing complex in Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood.

STATEMENTS YOU CAN CHOOSE to copy and paste into your email:

-- I am concerned about the lack of transparency and consultation in the process of selling Stamps Place. This sale will transfer a large tract of public land to the private sector and cause uncertainty and stress among current residents.

-- I am calling on BC Housing and the provincial government to halt the sale of Stamps Place and other public-housing sites and instead hold an open and transparent public consultation about these sales and the non-profit land transfer process.

-- I fear that a new owner of Stamps Place will demolish the current buildings in order to build market housing on the site, as happened at Little Mountain where an entire community was broken up and dispersed.

-- I am concerned that the possible construction of large towers will change the character of the development and of our community.

-- I am concerned about the sell-off of publicly owned provincial properties to the private sector for two reasons: I don't believe the provincial government should abandon its responsibility to provide housing to low-income people; and, I don't believe the sale of government property should be a strategy for eliminating government budget deficits.

-- I worry that a new owner may not maintain the current level of rent subsidy for current and newly placed residents, and that it may change the criteria for accepting new residents.

-- I am concerned that should the operating agreement be cancelled between BC Housing and the private housing operator, the land will not revert to public control but will remain private property.

END YOUR MESSAGE by asking the Minister for a reply.

Thanks for sending this important message, folks. We hope to see you at the November 28th rally on Hastings Street!

Minutes: SRA Monthly Meeting November 5th, 2014

Guest Speaker

Personal emergency preparedness from the Vancouver Fire Department
1000 earthquakes a year in BC that are sufficiently powerful to be felt, generally magnitude 2 or 3
There are number of fault lines along the coast
Magnitude 6 quake would be devastating, and it could happen at any time
Public services would be extremely stressed.
Must plan to either shelter in place or evacuate and be able supply your own needs for at least 72 hours.
Most interior injuries happen because of objects being knocked over on top of you, ceiling separating and falling, etc. It is important to do a safety check and secure any objects which topple in these circumstances
Get under a table or other overhead protection- stop, cover and hold- and hang onto it to keep it from moving away.
If you have to leave, best to:
have a Grab and Go kit, near a place that you will be able to access quickly
include necessary medications, documents and a little cash in small denominations
have pre-planned safe places in or near your home and office
have a plan for evacuation, assembly
have a means of communication, a list of phone #s/addresses of needed services, and an outside contact .
When the tremor stops, wait 30 seconds and then evacuate.
If evacuating from a building covered with glass or brick facing, be aware that these will shatter and rain down some distance from the walls during the quake, and for some time after.
If you have natural gas, priority is confirming it's not leaking and having a means to turn it off (a wrench) if it is.
Know where your water shut off and power shut off are.
The speakers described some of the equipment and planning done by the fire department to deal with the consequences of an earthquake.
A secure high pressure hydrant system set up in 1990s to serve the West End and up to VGH- but nothing east of Main St.
The speakers described Neighborhood Emergency Assistance Team (NEAT) and its role in supplementing responses in disaster situations.
Volunteers receive 18hr training in communications, first aid, rescue, fire suppression, in emergency conditions
NEAT not used except in disaster, but exercise frequently to be ready, and the program is projected for expansion.
http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/neighbourhood-emergency-assistance-team.aspx

Approval of meeting minutes for October 1st, 2014

Committee reports:

Executive Council
Stamps Place. Now looks like BC wants to unload 350 housing properties on non-profits.
Stamps Place and Nicholson Towers in West End are the first two. The proposals are that they be taken over and then the property sold or repurposed to help the non-profits pay for their old and new services. The timeline for this is very short, probably deliberately. Tenants at Stamps have only received 30 days’ notice to respond and the bids have to be in by Nov.3. No one knows how many organizations expressed interest/put in proposals, and BC Housing has refused public consultation.
Petitions were circulated and a link will be placed on the SRA’s website. The SRA was asked to support Stamps officially and the membership was completely supportive. Council was directed to provide a letter of support for the tenants and in opposition to both the process and goals of BC housing in this matter.
Cathay Villa has requested the SRA’s help in approaching VCH for additional funding for senior's health support in their new building. Since the SRA already supports the development plan and this is just an elaboration of that, Council was directed to letter of support for their request.
Treasurer reports our total wealth is $3286.69, held by the SCC currently. They may want us to stop holding money for us in future, so we will plan for opening and managing an SRA bank account.
Zoning committee- No report
Prior Street committee- No report
Strathcona Community Centre Association –
The SCC has applied for a $50,000 grant to do community consultations towards a redesign plan.
Coalition of Neighbourhoods
Chris reported on the candidates meetings he attended. Candidates came with policy scripts and kept to those messages, and the issues they spoke of and were asked about remained consistent. The Coalition is remaining non-partisan but pressing all candidates about development and financial matters.
Film
Some money has come in from production companies and others have contacted us to contribute

Announcements:

• Social on December 3rd, catered! Cadeaux (bakery on Powell St) will be providing pastries and it will be BYOF
• SCC permanent meeting room is now upstairs permanently. The lower room is now committed to a youth program. We will have to consider how to deal with this in terms of advertising the new location and whether we would want to move temporarily/permanently to RayCam, etc to draw in new people.
• Heart of the City Festival events
• Strathcona Craft Fair
• Upcoming speakers
• SCC is having pub night this Friday nite (7th), free childcare, pizza as well as beer
These and more events are on the website

Adjournment

Next meeting December 3rd 2014 at 7:15PM in the seniors room, ground floor

Stay warm everyone and hope to see you at the social December 3rd!

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