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Happy New Year - SRA Meeting January 4, City Presentation on Prior/Venables Replacement

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dear Neighbours, 

The Strathcona Resident Association is wishing you and your families a Happy New Year!
We finished off 2016 with identifying the top priorities for our neighbourhood. Details of our discussion can be found in the December SRA meeting minutes below. One of the top priorities we identified were the implications of the viaduct removal for our community. 
In this spirit, we are starting the new year right away with the City of Vancouver's False Creek Flats planning team talking to us about the latest plans for the Prior/Venables replacement. This will be a very important opportunity for the community to express questions, thoughts and concerns about how the plans could impact Strathcona, including Prior Street, Strathcona Park, the local community gardens and the Atlantic residents area. For your information, we are attaching a document issued by the City of Vancouver to outline the different options that are under discussion. We will meet on Wednesday, January 4th at 7pm at the Strathcona Community Centre. 
We are hoping for a good turnout and for multiple voices to represent our community and its future. Please tell friends and neighbours about this important opportunity to have our voices heard.
Best wishes, 
The Strathcona Residents Association
Dan Jackson, Wilson Liang, Matthew Walko, Charis Walko
MEETING AGENDA - Jan 4, 2017
Update on Strathcona Residence Association 
Committee Updates (Prior Safety, Film)
Update from Treasury
Recap from December Meeting (Union St Bike Path, 2017 Priorities)
Upcoming Meetings in January
  • Community Retail Research Forum (Strathcona-Chinatown-DTES) - Jan 184-6pm, Dr Sun Yat Sen Garden, 578 Carrall Street
  • Healthy Communities Conversation - Jan 19, Strathcona Community Centre, Senior’s Room, Times TBC (evening)
Main Topic: Prior/Venables Replacement discussion
  • Megan Herod, Planning Analyst for False Creek Flats - short presentation
  • Questions & comments from the floor
Business and Motions from the Floor


  • Matthew (M) starts the meeting. Introductions. 
  • Coastal Health, Bike path. Sholto has stepped down from the SRA. Wilson is the the only member from previous years. Want to look at the priority for the community and residents. What is important to you? Does anyone else want to bring something up?
  • Prior Street Safety Committee. Slow the street, make it safer, in the last three years. Speed reader boards- one heading East and one toward the S’ curve. Discussions about new signage at the park. It’s an underused park compared to Mclean Park. Mission is to make it safer on Prior. Met with the Park Board. The take-away is: massive planning for Strathcona Park. They are talking about removing Prior as the arterial and replacing with Malkin or National. National is too long for the overpass, Malkin interferes with Cottonwood gardens and Produce terminals. New idea to run road through Strathcona Park, and gardens. There were other plans to convert firehall into park and a park overpass- no communication between Parks Board and City. Parks Board is going to do community outreach. If Prior street is used as an arterial then the park is going to be used. Prior is too dangerous and so people don’t use Strathcona park. It is a city park, not regional. You don’t have to live in the city of Vancouver to rent a Field
  • The issue of macroeconomics and macro health, are here. There should be no traffic within 100 metres of a park. In 30 years this is going to be a problem
  • This is the type of issue that we need to address. Park Board has issue with running a road through a park, it is already an issue
  • We could upgrade our presentation from four years ago. 
  • Park Board is not city council. They are two opposing political parties. They don’t really have the same aspirations. Parks Board mandate is to win parks, not to loose parks. They are keen on having their own independent planning process. 
  • M-Let's bring this topic back up in a bit. Review the committees
  • Wilson (W)- we are getting a 500$ donation coming in. 
  • M-50% of that money goes to the backpack program to kids in need. And the other portion goes to the SRA. Any events that people want to share?
  • I work for the PUSH Fest. A show at the Russian hall, called the City in the City. Audience members get an earpiece and get instructions through. Jan 16th-Feb 5th
  • M- There are a couple of other meetings coming up, Jan 4th the city planner- Meghan, will be doing a short presentation and a Q&A time. Show their plans. Great Northern way to Clark. 
  • Someone may also be coming from the Park Board. 
  • The False Creek Flat plan is going to be the decider about Prior St. There are various plans ongoing but this is the deciders. Jan 19th Vancouver Coastal Health and Delivery of Services, VPD, RayCam, Strathcona BIA, supervised injection sites and their effect on the area.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health aren’t mandated to consult; they are interested in having a robust community consultation. The most violent incidents in this neighbourhood happened because of people being too unstable to be in VCH care.
  • Survey work- CEASAC, got passed, report back on survey results, accumulation of info. Jan 18th.
  • Interest in local businesses about how they can contribute to the community.
  • M-Update on the treasury. In the process of opening a bank account. It is proving to be difficult. Do need to do some registration. IN the meantime we can’t currently reimburse people, please come and speak to us if you need reimbursement.
  • Quick summary about what we talked about last month: Union Bike path- Key problem areas and solutions.
  • Dan (D)-Looking for a clear consensus view about what the community wants then create a letter as a unified voice. Four different problems: Union street bike route is a victim of it’s own success. Add a new E-W cycling corridor, move bike route to prior st. Cyclist education program. More signage. S curve- no slowing down, speed bump or other mechanism, switch stop sign or signage. Campbell and Union intersection- congestion, poor sight lines for vehicles. Solution: four way stop sign, traffic light. Street parking should not be sacrificed. Can email the document out, refining it.
  • Lack of enforcement of the rules came from last meeting, I think the issue is: several major groups are fining cyclists for speed (Paris). It’s a problem all over the world. It needs to be enforced.
  • Even if you stop people and give them a warning.
  • How to change people's behaviour, what is the most effective way.
  • Encouraging police to give tickets, people just tear them up.
  • I wish I was here last meeting to be a part of the conversation, when they coast down toward the s curve, they can’t stop, they are going at the highest speed possible. How would you enforce that. It isn’t safe.
  • I will add that idea, circulate the letter amongst everyone.
  • Minutes were attached to email.
  • The city came because they are overviewing the entire Adanac bike route, a warm up consultation.
  • This is a window to give them our thoughts.
  • Is there anything else that was missed that would like to be added? No. Ok we will talk about next year and the main topics. Where our priorities are. If we are saying the same thing, it’s not a bad thing. If you are really passionate, we encourage you to take on a topic, go to a city meeting, and report back. We are going to use the black boards, and write down our big topics. Why do you care about it, what do you think we as a community can do about it?
  • Some big ones: the viaduct, the flats, what happens with the park, the hospital, the drug epidemic and ongoing impact on the community and how that’s handled, bike path. And what you would like to see accomplished.
  • Thoughts:
    • Vancouver Coastal Health- consultations, Life skills and the Living room and being shifted. I was involved in the School PAC- discussing whether we should put needle bins around the school. It didn’t happen but it’s a concern. There has to be ways to integrate the areas in such a way so that people are shoved places. I’ve seen RayCam evolve. There may be a different way to integrate things. Have you ever thought of how do we encompass everything.
    • I live next to the Strathcona Park, people shooting up, police. What are the non-emergency numbers, mental health, sharps (spikes on bikes through PHS). If we know better about how to access those services. We all need to step forward. I am looking forward to the meeting with Coastal Health. The unique thing is the multitude of small businesses that are being run out of houses. City bylaws should reflect that- permits and licenses, small shops, stuff like that needs to remain viable. Artists, etc.. the regulations need to better reflect that.
    • I am interested in the things that the city will not respond to. The invisible stuff that happens after their mandates decades later. They are not progressive in protecting the community. Strathcona will be sacrificed for the better good of Vancouver. Their planning has gone to the birds. The issue is to be sure that they are not going to forget the invisible consequences of their decisions. The specifics are conforming to worldwide guidelines to protect the future health of the community. We-Strathcona-are going to suffer. The city doesn’t give a damn about then.
    • I am quite interested in bike and foot traffic. I walk and bike a lot. The arts, relationships, use the artists that work, connect them, they can provide great ways to communicate in a different way.
    • All topics have been covered off. We are getting a big daycare in the community. NW corner of Venables and Vernon. JJ Bean, 3 stories, top two floors is a daycare.
    • It is going to be $5000 a month, they have baby yoga, not for everyone.
    • I didn’t know that.
    • Nothing specific, housing comes to mind. Seniors home, where are new places being built, displacement. Rental housing, families have a difficult time finding housing.
    • Difficulty finding affordable housing. Displacement. For the SRA- would like to see a more diverse representation of people groups, ethnic groups, renters or in social housing.
    • Affordable housing, rental
    • Urban planning, large scale, housing continuum, diversity of tenure. There is no one type of person that makes Strathcona. A fragile mix, holistic role, Chinatown needs to be stepped up on. There are young Chinese Canadian people who would like to save/preserve Chinatown. Villa Cathay- eleven stories. Those Chinese seniors were the ones who saved this neighbourhood decades ago, we owe it to them. Support the old generation, and the newer young gen. Encourage people to shop in Chinatown. Once they are gone they are gone. Then it will be in name only.
    • I live on Gore- the faux heritage houses that have popped up on Gore. Our level of concern/anxiety has increased as one announcement after another. We have our own little community on the edge there. Our kids were raised at McLean park, because Strathcona park is too unhealthy and unsafe. I am here because of that, we want to work constructively with the City so we sent a letter. We work with V6A strata, we feel on the forefront on those changes, we want to introduce the issues from our perspective. Gore is going to become a major dividing line. I sent a letter that brings up these issues, ways we could live with the changes and couldn’t. The changes in Chinatown, we felt that the density, private property, no parking, Fire Halls that are going to be amalgamated, The flight path for the helicopter at the new hospital, this will affect our quality of life. Do we have a say? I am a landscape architect, have worked with the city. We have talked about a loose coalition between Chinatown and Strathcona. Western edge of Gore. It’s going to be most directly impacted.
    • We have talked about all of these planning groups that aren’t communicating.Technically you are in Strathcona. False Creek Flats, St. Paul's Precinct Planning, DTES local area plan and two others, they are not cohesive, they don’t communicate. When we talk about rezoning, there is little consideration to impact of scale. There are a myriad of issues. This is where the SRA can take an assertive role. It makes it a lot of work thought unfortunately
    • Top three points: affordable artist space, green building, green design- stuff that’s good for the environment- tackle the RT3 zoning. Make owners rebuild and actually reuse their product. There are no rewards for anyone doing anything green. RT3 zoning; zoned for duplex. .75 FRS up to .95 FSR, no bonuses for using geothermal, passive, reusing wood
    • The caveat for the bylaws- you need a good plan, larger frontage. Laneway houses didn’t really exist. The Bylaw hasn’t been touched. And Safety is a huge one too- work on that someway
    • I think housing is a big deal, social housing, middle class, feels like rentals are dropping. It’s a travesty for people who rented and now have to move on. I worry about this just becoming a place for wealthy people to live, pushing others out. I’m also worried about Chinatown, everyone is leaving- businesses are gone. Relationships with the business people, places are being lost very quickly.
    • Trying to help us get a voice on these different groups. I am interested in the Hastings corridor and Chip Wilson buying every second property. Going to meetings, playing back. We need our fingers in a few more pots. Noone is asking for Residents input.
    • I would second that. I would like to make it a force to be reckoned with. We are the only force that is standing for preserving such a wonderful neighbourhood. We are beset by form the North- an at risk population and from the South lots of huge changes. And everything north of Hastings who knows what- we need to coexist in a healthy way. It is the most historic and artistic, in Vancouver. It is to be preserved. The SRA needs to be at the table, my hope is to help us to channel all of our energy into preserving what we have.
    • Preserving Chinatown. It is a cultural hub, social hub, historically Strathcona has always fought against forces and pressure. I would like to see how we can keep that tradition, staying together, expanding our connections. Making more connections, reaching out to young people who have their own groups of concern about Chinatown development.
    • Communities, being a force to be reckoned with.
    • Chinatown, preserve community and character, housing, union bike lane, VCH, the unity of the SRA, diversity of neighbourhood needs to be represented, North and South, vulnerable populations.
  • Blackboard mind map of all topics brought up. Multiple mentions were marked with a star:

  • M-looking for point people who are particularly passionate about some of these areas. If there are no other points we will wrap things up.
  • This myriad of issues, encourages us to grow. Everybody bring more people to the next SRA. We have had issues, if we don’t fight for it, it’s going to be gone. Motivate everyone else, articulate what we love about this place. Let’s do it!
  • We need to get more people to step up and take ownership of a particular issue. Say that’s mine, you become the expert. It’s going to take a little more than someone coming to the meetings, but action.
  • There are committee’s, start one up or join one.
  • All of the topics we have mentioned, there are other groups addressing the same topic, we need to connect them.
  • There is a benefit to banding together with other community associations, there are overlaps. The Metro Vancouver Alliance, signed up as members, haven’t paid dues. Union and faith based members, several unions, it’s a people powered kind of thing. What they do is community activism training. How to better organize as a community.
  • Any other motions or business before we close.
  • As I understand it. A year ago Trudeau made a pledge to make an infrastructure plan by Dec 1st. It’s on the city now, they had push back from the produce terminals
  • Cottonwood gardens was built on a right of way. The viaduct goes nowhere. We are stuck with the viaduct. The freeway never happened and became cottonwood gardens. The road, Malkin is four lanes with no parking, they need a larger right of way. The produce terminals can’t do business, they supply our food so we need them. They are at an impasse. Considering Williams Street.
  • I can’t get my head around this- why do they deliver the food from the centre of the city? Why don’t they go to Abbotsford and truck it in? 
  • Do we need more traffic on the roads? They are trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • But the food is trucked in anyway.
  • This kerfuffle is going screwing with two million people, and their health
  • Lets bring this up wit the city planner in January.
  • They want more money.
  • M-Calls to end the meeting. 9pm


More info: false-creek-flats-prior-venables-replacement-open-house-information-displays