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Monday, January 29, 2018

The Strathcona Residents Association invites you to our first monthly meeting of 2018 on Weds., Feb. 7, from 7-9 PM at the Strathcona Community Centre.

This year, one of the SRA’s goals is to help form and support "working groups" focused on specific local issues. We already have active groups dedicated to preserving Strathcona Park and stopping late night train noise. We’d like to know from you what other issues matter enough to have their own working groups: Artist's spaces? Chinatown heritage? Community safety? Discarded needles? Renters? City planning in the Flats, Northeast False Creek, and the new hospital? Block parties? Community building events?

Please come to share your concerns and vision for Strathcona’s future. If you can not come, please e-mail us about what working groups you would like to see formed and be part of.  
On other fronts, the City just released its final plan for Northeast False Creek:
Worth noting that the plan maintains Union Street as the main bike route and doesn’t address Prior Street and future arterial. There is a public hearing at City Hall on Weds. Jan 31
MINUTES from SRA Meeting 2017-12-06

Temporary Modular Housing

  • “Housing First Approach” – understanding that first thing people need in order to find a balance and heal is a home, without needing to meet certain criteria
  • Plan and finances for 600 modules across the city for homeless, located on vacant land
  • Tenants: homeless with unsheltered living conditions or living in shelters; aiming to house homeless living in local neighbourhoods
  • 2138 people identified as homeless in Vancouver March 2017
    • Increase in seniors, decrease in youth homelessness, majority of homeless are men (76%), large population of indigenous people
    • 79% of respondents have one or more health conditions
    • Where are homeless people in Vancouver from (where did you last pay rent)? 68% lived in Vancouver before becoming homeless, 4% from other parts of Metro Vancouver
    • 40% of homeless population are indigenous (versus only 2% of general population); 49% of homeless on the streets (non-sheltered) are indigenous
  • Modular housing = prefabricated in a factory, provides much-needed housing for up to 10 years while more permanent housing is built, construction takes 2-4 months
  • Pilot project: 220 Terminal Avenue; housing offered at shelter rates
  • In September 2017: Province of BC announced $66 mio for temporary housing (housing and operations)
  • Site criteria for modular housing: land ownership considerations, current land-use zoning, environmental considerations, etc
  • Partners: BC Housing (leads tenanting process, installs housing units, secures non-profit housing operators to operate and manage the buildings), CoV (secures sites for temporary modular housing, leads engagement with surrounding community), VAHA (acts as developer, procures housing units), VCH (provides health and social series), Non-Profit Operator (oversees tenanting, etc) 
  • Newest site: Franklin and Powell (city-owned) – 40 units per building, 250sqft per unit
  • Community engagement: community information session held Dec 7th at Vancouver Buddhist Temple (220 Jackson), 4-7pm; Breanne Whyte 604 829 9321 – community liaison is available until housing opens; community advisory committee in action once housing opens
  • Operational Management Plan: describes how building will be managed. 
  • Q&A: 
    • Date for when housing goes in at Franklin and Powell? Early March 2018. 
    • What is the minimum of years needed for a site to be appropriate for modular housing? At least 3 years. 
    • How are tenants recruited? People come more often to our office than us to connecting with people on the street. 
    • Are modular units sustainable? Yes, modular units can be moved (viable for 40 years). Modular units are built in BC (Kamloops)
    • Availability for disabled tenants? Yes, available for disabled people on ground floor (at least 10% of every building). 
    • What is the feedback from tenants from Terminal and is this information used for future construction? Yes, tenants have expressed relief. Appreciation for bathroom and cooking facility. Size of fridges has been noted as too small. 
    • Building manager? Yes, non-for profit housing providers. Portland House Society. 24/7 staffing. 
    • Isn’t this a short-sighted approach to housing? Aim is to move people into permanent housing. Takes a long time to build social housing in next ten years. Modular homes act as bridge. 
    • Doesn’t the location at Franklin have Industrial zoning? Modular housing requires only temporary use of the site. 
    • How to decide on tenants? Central registry at BC Housing. Supportive housing offered. Assessments of candidates carried out. Don’t have to be sober first. But there are rules for community living. 
    • What about those who don’t fit into the tenant profile? City plans to build permanent social housing.
    • Can applications still be made? Yes, on December 1st applications opened for Franklin / Powell. There will be 600 units in Vancouver, 1400 in Greater Vancouver. 
    • Can we volunteer to put modular homes in our backyards? No, we are looking at around 40 modules as minimum because of staffing. 
    • Who pays for maintenance? BC Housing pays for electricity and running the operations and will own the houses. 


Train is governed by Federal Government. City claims they cannot do anything to interfere with noise or volume of trains. However, we can request whistle-free zones and approach the CTA (Canadian Transportation Association). They can act as mediator between community and city. Formal complaints have been made to the CTA about the train noise. Several community members have been active to gather momentum and collect feedback from Strathconians affected by train noise. Complaints should be sent to CN and City of Vancouver. Flyers have been created to inform residents located close to the train tracks. Three impacts: (a) noise pollution, (b) air pollution (from trains and trucks and idling cars), (c) rat-running of cars through Strathcona rather than waiting  affects everyone in the community. Goal: get the complaints to CN Rail with copies sent to City so that CTA takes our issue seriously. What can we achieve? What are we asking for? Ideally: No trains between 8pm and 7am. Working group of Strathcona Residents has been formed. Please contact SRA if you would like to get involved. 


Port is expanding. Government should carry out environmental assessment for proposed expansion. However, port is doing its own environmental assessment. We asked Province to carry out its own non-biased environmental assessment or at least review the Port’s assessment. We met with Melanie Mark. Ministry of Environment wrote back to us to acknowledge that we have a genuine point. Provincial environmental assessment should have been carried out but nobody has called out the Province for this. Before construction starts, an environmental assessment must be carried out or an exemption must be issued. Province intends to explore exemptions if the port concludes that there are no issues inherent to its expansion. However, we are concerned that the port’s assessment is not done at arm’s length. Provincial assessment looks at health effects, social effects; but Port’s assessment does not consider these factors that are relevant for our community. We have not received a response from the Port about our concerns. Our next step (advised by Melanie Mark): meet with the Port to discuss concerns in person (mitigation, monitoring, traffic calming). We need to get our community mobilised and voices to speak up. “Exemption” will have a level of transparency and public engagement element to it. It’s an embarrassment to a green NDP government. We want to contact Weaver. Metro Vancouver is charged by Ministry of Environment to monitor air quality assessment. Asked Centerm to review their air quality reports due to insufficient data and non-suitable monitoring station. Environmental law program at University of Victoria is looking for projects – legal review. Opportunity for us to apply. 

Strathcona Park 

Where should arterial go? CoV suggested William Street option to Park Board for assessment. City has withdrawn this suggestion now and plans to appoint an independent review board. It will set up a Community Panel that will be selected “randomly”. We hope to have a considerate contingency from our community to be represented and that the complexity of this decision is being considered. We have also recruited Urban Planning SFU Graduate Students to assess the impacts and value of an arterial road through Strathcona Park. Report to be posted on our website soon. We should request from the CoV to share with us the stakeholders they have identified for the panel. What is the structure of the panel? How do they structure their decision-making? When will they tell us by? We should have a say in what the parameters are since our community is the one impacted. Also discussions on down-grading Prior to a one-way street with overpass at train tracks. Also, shunting of trains close to Strathcona Park could be done more efficiently further South (closer to Terminal) on the tracks. But CN Rail wants to control this land. This also would allow us to create a shorter overpass and create a cost-saving for the City (National would not be so costly as cited by the City). 

Email and communication 

Emails only reach about 15% of Strathconians. We want to improve our reach. We need to redesign the website. Who is in favour to design website ($1,000-2000)? Trefor to second. All for, nobody against. 

What’s next in 2017? 

  • St. Paul’s hospital will transform Strathcona. 5000 people will work there.
  • Dwindling attendance. We have specific issues that are not everyone’s interest. We need working groups that are more focused. 
  • Can we join forces with the Downtown Eastside Community? 
  • Community members want specific tasks to take away and to act on. Precise action items. 
  • Recommendation to dedicate one topic to each meeting and give crisp updates from committees.