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Special Presentation: Patrick Condon, Ray Spaxman Discussing Heights & Built Form re: DTES Local Area Plan

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hello Friends and Neighbours,
Happy New Year!

In lieu of our regular general meeting this month, Wednesday January 8, the Strathcona Residents' Association is hosting a special Discussion of Heights and Built Form as relates to the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan. We are very excited to be presenting notable Canadian urban designer, planner and professor Patrick Condon to discuss ideas around densification and building scale. Joining us for a panel discussion and Q+A will be Ray Spaxman, Director of Planning for City of Vancouver 1973-1989, Planning Consultant and co-chair of DTES LAPP.

This event takes place in advance of a City-hosted Built Form and Places Feedback Workshop Saturday January 10.

Details of both events can be found below.

The draft of the City's Local Area Plan for the Downtown Eastside was released two weeks ago and can be found here The plan proposes a number of significant changes for the neighbourhood, some of which were mentioned in our newsletter from December 19 - residents are encouraged to review the plan, which goes before council on March 12.

In other news, the Ming Sun Benevolent Society's building at 439 Powell Street was granted an extension and spared demolition (in no small part thanks to the letters and support from Strathconans) but they are not out of the woods yet! The building is still standing, but there's still a lot to do in order to save it. Funds need to be raised to cover expenses and if anyone knows a plumber that can help with the sprinkler system (pro bono if possible but anyone willing to help would be great!), please contact David Wong at or 604-340-3793 or respond to this email. The Friends of 439 Powell and Ming Sun Benevolent Society have set up a website with the latest information at They have also set up a Paypal donation page.

Wednesday's presentation will also afford a very quick update on SRA business, including announcements and updates.

- Pete Fry, SRA Chair

How High, Where High, Why High?

Wednesday January 8, Strathcona Community Centre Senior's Lounge, 601 Keefer

A Discussion of Heights and Built Form, as relates to the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan.
Changes to height and scale are coming to Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside.
Up to 12 to 15 stories along Hastings, major rezonings in Kiwassa, over $1billion dollars and a 150% population increase over 30 years.
- How might these affect affordability and livability?
- Are there other options to consider?

Join us for a presentation by Patrick Condon, UBC James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments and Chair UBC Urban Design Program.
Professor Condon has written extensively on Vancouver urban issues (see his series in the Tyee) significantly on how to densify Vancouver with a mind to livability, affordability and transit. In particular Condon's ideas about low and mid rise densification using wood frame construction are starting to gain traction - Toronto has recently embarked on a similar direction as a solution for their growing affordable housing crisis, outlined here.

We'll follow Patrick's presentation with a discussion of the proposals being put forward in the DTES LAPP and Q+A.
Joining us will be Ray Spaxman. Ray is a Planning Consultant and was Director of Planning for City of Vancouver 1973-1989, serves as one of the co-chairs of the DTES LAPP, and brings a considerable amount of insight into the Local Area Plan and what is being proposed.

This discussion has wide ranging impacts on the future of not just Strathcona but the entire DTES, all are welcome. Download a poster for the event here.

Following this event, the City will be hosting a Built Form and Places Feedback Workshop, Saturday January 11, from 10 am - 12:30 pm at the Strathcona Community Centre.