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SRA ramps up for a busy Fall

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hello everyone,

Our first SRA meeting of the fall was very interesting. We hosted planners from the City’s Flats team who told us about plans to date and how to get more information. The SRA will be sending a representative to the Flats Advisory Committee (thanks John Hawkes for volunteering!). See minutes below for all the details from that discussion.

On that topic, we have just heard from the City that they have made some changes to the Viaducts web page to “reduce down to more of the key messages, with the more detailed information on the ‘In-depth’ tab for those interested in getting more information… includes a number of interactive features including before and after slider graphic tools and a timeline to display the policy and key dates chronologically. The page is also built in a responsive page format so the more important information is visible first as you scroll through the page on different devices”.

Here is the link:

You will see in the minutes below that the SRA Prior Street committee gave an update about discussions with the City Engineering Department and our efforts to calm Prior now, notwithstanding any changes that may come through Viaducts, Flats or even hospital planning. They have since heard from Engineering staff that the Viaducts removal plan will not go to vote in Council in September after all, but will be delayed until October at least. This will give us more time to review the proposed related report before it goes to Council. We will hear an update from the Prior Street committee at the next meeting on October 7th .

Next month’s meeting, Wednesday October 7th @ 7:15 pm, is the SRA AGM (Annual General Meeting) where committees and leadership positions are opened up to membership. Elana Zysblat will be stepping down from Executive Council (2 years) and Chair (1 year) and other executive council members will be as well. Please think about volunteering for (or nominating someone who you think might be a good fit) for the following positions:

SRA Executive Council (6 people), including
- 1 chair
- 1 Secretary Minute taker (1 person but can be shared between 2)
- 1 Treasurer

Committees (everyone welcome to volunteer):
Prior Street
Film Liaisons
Zoning (limited to whether any current members step down)
new committee ideas are welcome and can be formed in October


Electoral Candidates Forum
Organized with our peers at the Grandview Woodlands Area Council
Monday, October 5th - 7pm @ Astorino’s (corner of Venables & Commercial)

East Side Culture Crawl
November 19th - 22nd

Strathcona Winter Craft Fair -
November 28th from 10-4pm in the Strathcona Community Centre Gymnasium

We look forward to seeing you all at the October meeting (Wednesday October 7th @ 7:15).
Here are the minutes from September’s meeting. Thanks to Gordon Roe for taking the minutes for the past year!

SRA meeting 2 September 2015 at the Strathcona Community Centre
Call to Order- 2 SRA Executive Council members present: 3 new members from the neighbourhood introduced themselves , 2 speakers from City and 2 visitors from False Creek
New members/attendees welcome
AGM in October- elections, council report, statement of finances.
Elana ran down the structure and functioning of the SRA executive and committees

Report from the Prior Street Committee- John Hawkes and Dick Hellofs:
Had a meeting today with City planners on Prior Street traffic.
Last August they did a walk through with the city and safety consultant, who had been retained at our insistence to study traffic movement and safety
Livability Report has not yet been completed but the decision to remove the viaducts appears to be inevitable.
The removal plan is being circulated but has not been released. Anticipate having all or most of it released to the public with specific concerns and action items highlighted.
It appears the bigger neighbourhood recommendations/concerns on Prior Street safety will be ignored.
Some of these were extending parking hours, dropping speed limit, structural changes to make it a non-arterial.
The problem is that the City stats indicate that Prior is not statistically dangerous, there is insufficient reported deaths for their software to identify it as a real concern. So in their minds it isn’t.
If our concerns aren’t addressed, SRA has to plan to actively push for traffic changes we want. And quickly, because between the timing and release of actual plans in September and Council’s decisions, we won’t have much time to influence them.
We have to keep them from pretending that the viaduct removal and where the traffic goes as a result, and the development in the Flats are separate problems. Alternative routes can be as far as 10 years away. Plans will change. The new route will take some time to be put in place, and not all traffic will use it, instead spilling onto Hastings, Prior, Clark and more.
What we can offer them is that we may be able to accept arterial traffic if they institute measures now which ensure pedestrian and neighborhood safety. The SRA needs to push the arterial traffic off Prior to a non-residential road, but also to push in the interim for more traffic calming and safety on Prior.
The City is not the only player and not really in control of the process - three levels of government, the port, St. Pauls, the railways, the businesses on Malkin, all have something to say.
These plans will evolve and change. The viaducts may even remain. Unlikely, but still possible if the money dries up.
Speakers- City planners Thomas Daley and Tom Wanklin form the City of Vancouver to talk about ‘The Flats' planning process.
Tom Wanklin:
Thanked us for inviting him.
Encouraged the SRA to continue its engagement and activism.
A problem of bureaucracy is that the City has different teams/departments working on narrow problems without recognizing the overlaps between them.
The False Creek Flats process is an example of this, where it is separated from the viaducts teams, and from the LAPP.
There will be opportunities for the SRA to engage and influence what will happen and the actions of the Prior Street committee should be encouraged and expanded.
There’s an enormous amount of infrastructure, planning and money involved in all this, and it will go on for most of a decade. And it all changes quickly, as the sudden insertion of St. Pauls illustrates
Announced another round of planning workshops and meetings.

Thomas Daley:

False Creek Flats encompasses Main to Clark Drive, Hastings to Great Northern Way.
The City has sponsored and conducted a number of workshops and public information meetings, as well as an online survey.
Want the SRA to contribute a representatives to a Flats Advisory Committee and series of workshops this Fall. John Hawkes volunteered and was thanked for contributing.
Draft plan planned for June 2016, and then submit to Council, designed on a relatively specific 10 year plan and a longer term, 30 year ‘big picture’
This will be considered alongside the report from the viaducts
Note that removing arterial classification from Prior and making a new route elsewhere is considered an established decision, whether or not the viaducts come down.
Q. What about the heritage warehouse structures across the Skytrain station?
A. They are being considered for restoration (2 are on the heritage registry) but renovation/restoration are 3 times as expensive building new.
Q. What about St. Pauls?
A. Their planners are working with us for their designs and timelines
Q. What about green spaces and recreational facilities?
A. We have heard that people need more rec spaces as well as more useful and convenient traffic access for pedestrians and cyclists
Q. What about contamination?
A. There are serious concerns with toxic contamination as well as storm water and sea water tables. These are a complicated part of the planning.
Q. What about traffic increases?
A. They are taking into account some increases but also how traffic may become spread out to different routes, and the impact of re-configured as well as new transit initiatives like the planned Evergreen Line. St. Pauls and their anticipated transport needs are big part of it.

question from the floor: What is the current state of the proposal for 420 Hawks, where Atira is planning a second, 7 story 26s unit container housing for its clients?
SRA had expressed concerns that it would have no provision for street-level retail space, no green space, singles-only housing with no provision for women in relationships or with children, and that there was no provision for parking because ‘poor people won’t have cars’.
Tom Wanklin says the concerns were put to Atira and they were going back to the planning table. They haven’t gotten back to the City with a new submission. When they do it will be treated as a re-zoning application and so it will be re-examined by the City through the lens of the DTES LAPP and there will be mandated opportunities for public consultation, as well as the possibility Council may require more consultations with the neighborhood.