Feb 2024 SRA Newsletter
January 29, 2024
SRA February Residents Meeting Tuesday, Feb 6, 7-9 PM at the Strathcona Community Centre (also via Zoom). Open discussion about cocktail crawls, dissolving Park Boards, toxic fumes and whatever else is on your mind. Link and agenda will go to all members the day before.
Family Day Pajama Party Monday, Feb. 19 10:30-12:30 at the Strathcona Community Centre.Snuggle up with your family to watch a movie in your comfiest pajamas! This event will feature parent & tot toys, arts & crafts, face painting and other activities for the whole family to enjoy! Free. No pre-registration required.
Community Kitchen. Tuesdays, Feb 6-27, 3-5 PM at SCC. Our Winter Community Kitchen is the perfect opportunity to meet new friends, connect with neighbours and share in the joy of cooking and eating together. Participants will choose which recipes to cook each week and you’ll have the chance to discover new flavours and dishes. Extra food will be prepared and available to take home. Seasoned and beginner cooks are welcomed! 3 spots open! Click here to sign up.
KEEPING IT LOCAL
It’s that time of year when Strathconans tend to hibernate. Now that Union Market is closed, there are many neighbours we might not see until spring. Is there a way to keep community thriving all year round?
There is a group in Paris called the Republic of Super Neighbours. It’s a grass-roots initiative to create new, fun ways for neighbours to interact. It’s part of a movement in several European cities to promote local friendships, connections, support networks, and a sense of belonging. Hyper-local, five-minute micro-neighbourhoods.
Granted, we’re already pretty good at this in Strathcona, but is there a hunger for more? What kind of groups would you join if they existed? The options are many: game nights, rotating dinner parties, hot topic conversations, language groups, music making, fix-it groups, dance parties, cocktails crawls? If this intrigues you (even a tiny bit), please take the survey below to let us know what you’d be game for. If we get more than three people interested in the same thing, we’ll introduce you to each other.
WHAT I MIGHT JOIN IF ONLY IT EXISTED IN STRATHCONA SURVEY
NEW ST. PAUL’S HOSPITAL UPDATE
Currently, work is underway on level 9 of the new St. Paul’s Hospital. One of the cranes was recently lifted to accommodate work on the higher levels. “We expect the hospital building to top out on level 11 sometime in 2024.” Possible party in the works.
Ultimately, Providence Health Care has plans for six additional buildings on the “campus” (see above). Recently, the Province approved construction of the Clinical Support Research Centre located directly across from the hospital. Once complete, the centre will be home to research projects as well as specialty physician practices, allowing for an integrated health campus. Construction is expected to start in 2025 and will be overseen by PCL, the same lead contractor as the hospital.
Two other projects, independent of the hospital, are also underway adjoining the site. Strand recently began demolition of the site at 456-496 Prior St. for a 24-storey building that will combine five storeys of office/commercial space with two 19-storey residential apartment towers. Another 10-storey office tower is currently under construction at the corner of Prior and Station Streets.
THE FUTURE OF STRATHCONA PARK
For years, the SRA has lobbied the Park Board to make Strathcona Park more resident friendly. In 2021, we did a resident survey that yielded ten recommendations. We were told that any improvements depended on the
2023-2026 Capital Plan, which was passed last year, allocating $107 the various park amenities, noting a need to renew and enhance local parks, naming Strathcona Park as a “potential location.”We recently reached out to Doug Shearer, Park Board’s Manager of Planning, Policy & Environment, for an update on where things stand. Though he reassured that “staff are reviewing available resources for any potential quick-wins for Strathcona,” he cautioned that “While the allocation of $107 million in the 2023-2026 Capital Plan sounds like a lot, many of the line items in that category are specific to certain parks, with the balance spread across the many deserving parks in the city.” Which means don’t hold your breath.
What about the off-leash dog area that was in the works two years ago? “Resources are currently allocated to several in-progress dog off-leash areas in high priority neighborhoods and/or deficit areas as identified by the Park Board’s People, Parks and Dogs Strategy. Renewal of the off-leash area at Strathcona Park is identified as a priority OLA project after these in-progress projects are completed.”
What about the gravel field, which rarely seems to be used by anyone, particularly at night, especially when there are much nicer soccer fields at Trillium and David Livingstone. The lights were recently removed due to an electrical problem. “Replacement of the lights around the sport field is already in the works – I understand the field is regularly booked but not heavily used.” Not sure what that means.
Repair of the sink hole/tennis courts is also still on hold.
Reality check: Despite Park Board policy declarations for equity and a UBC study showing Strathcona Park to be the least equitable in the city, no improvements are coming anytime soon.
Will eliminating the Park Board change any of this? Unlikely. The root of the problem is, not surprisingly, money. Park Board capital budgets have been declining for years. According to the recently released Mayor’s Budget Task Force Report, property tax increases cannot cover growing infrastructure costs (this year running a $500 million deficit). The recommended solutions: cut costs further and better manage or sell city assets. Neither bodes well for Strathcona Park.