ABOUT THE SRA
The Strathcona Residents' Association is a volunteer-run neighbourhood group. SRA business and operations are facilitated by an Executive Council: a six-member council that streamlines our operations and allow for more timely decision making. The council operates with full transparency and accountability, as mandated by the general voting SRA membership. SRA business, guest speakers, committees and reports are presented at our general meetings - along with a report of council business. Council members are elected from eligible residents at our annual AGM, and the council is mandated to have at least one renter and one home-owner. The 2013-2014 Council includes residents: John Hawkes, Gordon Roe, Chris Coleman, James Johnstone, Elana Zysblat and chair Pete Fry.
A BRIEF NOTE ON THE SRA’S HISTORY AND MANDATE
When the SRA was first formed the members had all been through a long process of community planning together and could take a certain common understanding of the background for granted. That was 18 years ago. Since then, we’ve periodically outlined our history and mandate at meetings, to inform newcomers. Many new residents have attended various talks in our lecture series and have signed up to receive minutes. The following briefly explains the SRA’s background and purpose.
The SRA was created in 1992 at the end of a three-year process of community meetings with city planners, during which very large numbers of residents participated in planning for the neighbourhood’s future. The process, conducted in English and Cantonese, was initiated because Strathcona was seen to be vulnerable. Many houses were in a state of advanced decay. On the one hand, high-rises were being built right on the other side of Main Street, and the next area for land assembly, demolition and the construction of residential towers was obviously this one. No zoning protections were in place. On the other hand, the transplantation of the downtown street sex trade to Strathcona’s borders, (to curtain it off from the eyes of tourists at Expo ‘86) had brought with it so many problems that families with children were leaving the neighbourhood. The community planning process asked the local residents to articulate what they wanted for their neighbourhood’s future, and the answers led to the formation of the Strathcona Community Plan. The plan was written by city staff and includes zoning regulations, a traffic plan, and an expression of social goals.
THE PLAN AND MANDATE
In accordance with the goals of the residents, the plan is designed to preserve the heritage architectural character, to protect the streets from commuter traffic and make them safe for walking and cycling, and to maintain a multi-cultural and mixed-income family population through modest increases in density, and through a supportive attitude to the maintenance of affordable rental accommodation alongside owner-occupancy. The Strathcona Residents’ Association was formed in conjunction with the Community Plan and was recognized by Vancouver City Council when the plan was approved.
The SRA’s mandate is to support the goals of the plan, and over the years, the members have worked to realize them. For example, the SRA has obtained further traffic controls and supported the development of bike routes, worked with the city to implement the zoning regulations and design guidelines that preserve heritage buildings, and worked on plans to improve the parks. The SRA ran the Porch Project for three years, (restoration of thirteen front porches with a grant from the Bronfman Foundation), coaxed the city to plant street trees, and organizes the annual clean-up. Needless to say, there have been countless letters written and many meetings with city staff and council on a variety of subjects that affect local residents. The organization is called the Strathcona Residents Association because we are not an association of property owners, we welcome tenants as well. SRA members are expected to support the basic goals of the plan outlined above.
Strathcona has changed in the last 18 years. Many houses have been rehabilitated and restored, and the neighbourhood is blooming with babies. Change will continue and Strathcona will continue to adapt, but the fundamental ideas agreed upon in1989-1992 still stand this neighbourhood in good stead.
Members of the SRA and guests at meetings are expected to conduct themselves appropriately and in accordance with our Code of Conduct.