A big thanks to Penny Crawford for taking minutes at last night's meeting (and thanks to Councillor Pete Fry for stopping by). For those of you who missed it, here they are. Feel free to add your comments.
Also, the SRA will be presenting to the Community Panel this Saturday, at 1:30 at the Dudoc Center at 189 Frances, just east of Clark. A good chance to see the process in action. A preview below...
Strathcona Residents Association
Meeting Held 6 February 2019
Chaired by Dan Jackson
- Lighting concerns in the Neighbourhood
- Parks Board intention to install more artificial turf in the City
- Community Panel – SRA Presentation
- Q&A with Pete Fry
- Claudio – resident from Campbell & Union
- Noticed the City was working on all the light standards along Union Street
- Contacted the City for information, others were also contacting the City with concerns
- Heritage lighting was requested and PAID for by residents in the past
- Initially the City indicated they would meet and talk about the plans
- Due to delays by the City – the new lighting has now been fully installed
- This new lighting changes the character of the neighborhood
- There was NO consultation with the neighborhood
- A meeting has now been confirmed with the City (Michael – Light Designer for the project)
- 11 Feb @ Union Market 5:00 pm
- Anyone interested can join
- Claudio will update the SRA after this meeting
- Kathy – representative from Slocan Neighbourhood (former Strathcona resident)
- Parks Board has plans to install artificial turf at Clinton Park, which is a small park and this will reduce the overall park space available to residents as the artificial turf area will be for permit soccer players only
- Currently the City has 11 synthetic fields and there are plans for more coming
- There are significant documented health & environmental concerns related to artificial turf
- A petition has been started and was circulated to the SRA attendees
- To date no success in meeting with Parks Board Commissioners
- Clinton Park residents will send the SRA a letter prepared for the City, requesting endorsement
- Urge others to send letters
- Request to get all the Eastside neighbourhood groups together – become a bigger voice
- Dan – presentation to the Community Panel – trial run
Dan ran through the bullets points he’ll be making in the SRA’s presentation to the community panel this Saturday (Feb 9, 1:30 PM). Below is a couple of the handout we’re planning to give to the panel.
WHY WE OPPOSE THE WILLIAM OPTION
- Loss of green space. According to the Park Board, Strathcona already has inadequate green space to serve a population of 12,000 (2016 Census), 80% of whom rent, 50% of whom live in social housing. There are 1,000 families with young children at home. These are the people who need parks the most.
- Loss of park amenities. The road will require removal of the existing oval track, tennis courts, off-leash dog area and fieldhouse.
- Loss of urban forest canopy. The road will require 60 mature trees to be removed in an area that has one of the city’s lowest percentages of tree canopy cover (5.9%).
- Violates Provincial eagle guidelines. There has been an eagle’s nest in the park for over 75 years. The BC Guide to Raptor Protection prohibits roadbuilding within 160m of a nest (the road would be 40m). Bald Eagle nest trees are protected by section 34 of the BC Wildlife Act 1996.
- William is too narrow. The distance between buildings on William east of the tracks is only 18-19m, insufficient for even a four-lane overpass and ramp foundation.
- 11 businesses impacted. Due to street re-alignment and widening, 11 buildings will need to be altered or demolished, impacting these businesses: Total Fresh, Landyachtz, Pacin Enterprises, Pacific Fresh, Alfa Paper, Food Bank, Fluff, Vancouver Fasteners & Tools, Wolsey Plumbing, MIG Tires, EMCO Plumbing, Schindler Elevators.
- Raising Raymur. Due to the short distance between the rail yard boundary and Raymur, there is insufficient room for a 5% grade, so the ramp will spill into the park by about 80m. Raymur will need to be raised, further impacting park access and quality.
- Traffic congestion. Once Parker is blocked, this will be the only truck access. Most trucks will enter and exit off Raymur, turning left or right, creating a two-lane backup midway down the ramp. There will be another backup on the half block of Raymur before Malkin. The intersection at William and Malkin will be too sharp for trucks to turn on or off. More trucks will be entering and exiting the four Produce Row businesses west of this intersection.
- Doesn’t help Produce Row. It only solves the truck maneuvering problem for 3 of 14 Produce Row businesses – and creates new problems for the other 11.
- Doesn’t save Cottonwood Gardens. Cottonwood Garden will be trapped in a hard to access triangle, with all current entry points blocked. Will anyone still want to garden there? If not, will the city decide to sell the land to suit the commercial development goals of Flat Creek Flats Plan?
- Hawks has to stay. Hawks is vital for local access. It cannot be closed to compensate for parkland lost to the route.
- Underestimated costs: Building acquisitions costs and road work appear to be significantly underestimated.
WHY WE SUPPORT NATIONAL/CHARLES
- Preserves Cottonwood and Strathcona Gardens, Strathcona Park, trees, amenities, and eagle habitat.
- Calms Prior and creates opportunities for the neighbourhood to realize its potential by improving street life on Prior and making the park more resident-friendly
- Pollution Barrier. Vehicle pollution and noise kept away from homes, parks and wildlife.
- Acceptable connection to Clark. “Poor” spacing of National/Grant becomes “relatively balanced” if moved to Charles.
- Less property acquisition. The only buildings that may need to be altered are those that border Clark and Charles to make room for a turning lane.
- Comparable overpass. Overpass should be compared to Malkin, which has to extend across Glen and possibly Vernon. This bridge crosses more tracks, but no roads.
- Sufficient Right-of-Way. The current right-of-way on National measures 22.5m, enough for four traffic lanes and one separated sidewalk with only minor boundary adjustments and changes to access points to the City Works Yard.
- Truck access for Produce Row. Produce trucks would have access at Chess, Thornton and possibly Raymur. Use of Malkin and Glen to maneuvre trucks would be as it is now for all 14 PR businesses.
- Safer for bikes and pedestrians. Pedestrian and bike traffic would be routed onto an underpass at Venables, away from traffic and off Union.
- 5-Minute transit access. Strathcona currently has 5-minute bus access on Hastings and Main. A National bus route would provide access to an estimated 3000 employees at hospital, Produce Row and City Works Yard. A shuttle could keep 22 bus access on Prior.
- Comparable curves. These would be similar S curves as those on Knight St at 15th Ave. Alternately, if a straighter street is the goal, National could be widened thru to Main or Quebec to provide an alternate route.
- Mitigations for VFD and HUSAR. The VFD has outgrown the Fire Training facility and wants to move. Why not solve two problems at once? VFD could join forces with adjoining cities to create a state-of-the-art Regional Training Centre. Land not used for arterial purposes can be sold for approx. $35M.
- Costs comparable to Malkin. The shorter bridge (compared to National/Grant), adjusted property mitigation and road costs (for William) make this option comparable in cost to Malkin and William.
- City isn’t paying. The Port of Vancouver estimates the cost for two overpasses (vehicle and bike) will be $225M. They’ve applied to the NTCF for $100M and state the rest will come from the CN Rail, who will directly profit from increased rail access, Translink and COV. For comparison, COV contributed only $3.75M to the $50M cost of Powell Street.
The following feedback & suggestions were provided:
- Add how many people would be able to use transit to get to work if bus running along National
- Trillium is a “temporary” park, turf is scheduled to be replaced in 2020, to straighten the road – go through Trillium
- Have we talked with the 11 businesses that will be impacted? Yes. More importantly the material given to the Panel at this time does not capture this impact and the SRA presentation will provide this valuable detail.
- Richard adds a lot of credibility to the presentation & will be fielding all the questions
- Can’t argue the “disturbances” with construction – not a strong point
- Must request shuttle bus on Prior
- Provide grades
- Noted - City works yard on National has “state of the art building”, that will adjust for CO2
- Produce Row Land values have increased, for example Van-Whole Produce from $14.6 m – $46.7m in past 5 years
- As the city grows, is Produce Row actually sustainable for food security in its current state? Efficient? Earthquake prepared?
- Vancouver is running out of industrial land – what is the “best” use of what is left?
- Consider the revenue the City receives from businesses like Article that is paying significantly more taxes than the paint company
- Eagles “belong” to downtown eastside, eagles come out for Women’s March, this is a key point in favor of no disruption to the Park
- Mention the 3rd Party Independent Safety Review of Prior St in 2015 – concluded not suitable for an arterial
- Emphasise the Parks Board mandate not to lose green space
- Pete Fry – Q&A
- Individual letters work – Councillors read them and they have more impact than a “form” letter on behalf of an organisation!!
- Conflict between very strong Engineering Planning Team & a newer Citywide Planner – after 10 years of a Vision dominated City Council, will take time to make appropriate changes. Councillors providing their support to the new Citywide Planner
- Council is not one party, more discussion will take place
- Fully behind the SRA and the National Charles route
- Council will be asking tough questions when the City brings forward the recommendation for the arterial
- Contact the Parks Board for all issues related to parks
Dan Jackson adjourned meeting at 9:00 pm