Nov 3 2021 SRA AGM Minutes
November 3, 2021 7 p.m. Zoom
Chair: Dan Jackson
Guests: Liefka Vissers, Hayley Hoikka, Tom Wanklin, City of Vancouver Planning Department
456 Prior Proposal
Update and discussion regarding proposed development & re-zoning application by Strand for a 19-story mixed use building at 456/496 Prior (between Malkin and Dunlevy). Concerns: The project is out of sync with the city’s False Creek Plan. (Example: current zoning allows for a building of 60 feet high and up to 100 feet if certain conditions are met. The Strand proposal is asking for a variance to allow for 210 feet.)
Leifka outlined the process for a rezoning application, which includes:
Feedback from 2 Public Open Houses, the Urban Design Panel, and from the public. Staff then creates a Report to Council, followed by a Public Hearing where input can be provided directly to Council by individuals.
Steps taken regarding this development so far include a sign on the property to notify the public, a review with Engineering, Traffic and other teams, and Public Open Houses (online) with opportunity for everyone to provide input – which is still ongoing. The proposal went to the Design Panel of the City last week and staff have received their feedback which will be incorporated into their report to Council.
All feedback will go tin to the report to council.
Q: What is the feedback you are seeing so far?
A: Due to the history of the community, the applicants went to the public with 2 open houses before making the application. The Community gave lots of feedback asking for amenities onsite (a gym, childcare, commercial including grocery, etc.), and the applicants are open to these ideas. Additional concerns listed: traffic, shadowing, too much strain on the neighbourhood.
Q: At a height of 210 feet, which is taller than hospital itself – the ask is to build 3x the height of the fixed zoning for the site – the False Creek plan gives no justification for this so why is the City considering it?
A: When the False Creek Plan was prepared along with policy statement for the new St. Paul’s Hospital, the urban design advice at that time was to provide a re-zoning policy allowing up to 100 feet with conditions relating to hospital amenities. Council was asked to approve this as a policy as it connected to providing much needed office space and rental accommodation for health care staff and others. What the difference is now, is that the rezoning policy was approved by council and an owner of the property has applied to re-zone to have more than what the plan allows for – which is their right to do. City Staff have no decision-making power in the zoning variance request – but are obliged to consider it, because it’s a legitimate application. Staff will prepare a report for Council – showing the ask and what the Community has said. Following that a public hearing before Council is scheduled and the public will be given a chance to speak (5 minutes per person) before a decision is made. There will be a benefit to the community from the land lift (the added monetary benefit to the developer from being given added height). A portion of the profits are given back to the City for community amenities – in this case, 75% to social housing and adding to artist space in the area, some of which will be lost as a result of the development.
Q: How will the City address the increased population being added to an already strained neighbourhood in terms of amenities and traffic?
A: The review process includes intense transportation review – and the impact on neighborhood. Engineering studies and information goes into report that goes to council: ambulances and increased traffic for St. Paul’s is taken into account. A new study was incorporated this week to ensure needs are met.
Q: What will happen with the parking with so few spots in the building?
A: A significant amount of loading space will be required underground so that the neighbourhood won’t be impacted by demand for parking.
A: Commercial parking space is separate from residential space – will ensure that there will be enough parking for residents and commercial and office space in building – intention to make self-sufficient so no offloading of parking to neighbourhood. St. Paul’s has done lots of studies to make sure there is adequate parking on site, connections to sky trains, additional bike parking and bike lanes. Heavily studied.
Q: Strathcona already has least green space in entire city and the current plans for the green space in the proposed development is all for private use. Basketball courts but all private – Also the plan calls for the removal of 7 trees – which we need in our neighbourhood which has lots of air pollution.
A: Application proposes a central courtyard substantial in size – but we will take this to planning – do want to enhance green space to reduce heat factor – so we can go back to landscapers. Re Trees – removed as part of road re-alignment and not particularly this project and will be replaced and also with a larger number on site – so more trees than 7 will be replaced with trees compatible with the area – reviewed by landscape team. Not sure of #.
Q: Is one of the factors that staff and ultimately council will consider is how it fits into the community and the eco system of False Creek Flats as envisioned in the plan – how we will be able to integrate into neighbourhood should be a large decision to be factored in.
A: This typically comes up heavily at public hearings. Strand might revise the application based on feedback from public/design panel – or they might choose to take their existing application to Council.
Q: Why don’t we have a proper rec centre – why not a pool at St. Paul’s? Kids of Strathcona and there are many including low-income – don’t have this. Why not? How can we work with City to achieve that.
A: Will be fully informed – so you the community can exercise the opportunity to have your say – we understand the need for a pool – it was raised in 2012 but haven’t been able to get support from Parks Board. We are fully committed to artists space – 10,000 sq. ft is a start. We will ask Council to ensure that cultural space is included if they decide they’re going to approve this application; remember that there are situations where council can turn down an application or ask for revisions because of the community. It is not a done deal.
Q: How can we send our comments to the City?
A: You can provide comments on the online form and email Hailey Hoikka: email@example.com
Comments will be received right up until this goes to council. Best bet is to show up to public hearing – will be posting notices when hearing is scheduled – anyone providing comments will receive an email.
Susan Adams from Adopt a Block is doing a great job – still blocks that have not been adopted. Time commitment is an hour every 2 weeks to keep your block clean – please consider doing it or putting together a group on your block to take turns. Makes a big difference. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prior St. Report – Richard Taplin
Efforts to implement efforts to slow Prior traffic are ongoing but have been slowed down due to BC hydro work on the road and road surfacing. The good news – re-installation of art installation cars, crosswalk painting, signage for speed reduction and the removal of the RV’s have all taken place.
Meetings have taken place with PCL Management who are building hospital – got cooperation from them – will do what they can to avoid Prior St. Looking at what we can do for next year.
- Have Hawks Avenue closed to truck traffic – currently, the trucks turning in and out are causing traffic problems and safety issues. Residents should email the city about this.
- Establish 24- hour parking on Prior in front of Srathcona Park permanently;
- Move the 30 kph restriction from Hawks up to Heatley so cars slow down before they reach the slope.
- Install amber lights at unguarded crossings, i.e. Heatley, Venables and Vernon.
- Traffic calming at Campbell and Glen to reduce cut thru for train crossings.
- Some kind of traffic control at Gore and Prior – which is a complex intersection considering hospital road coming in.
Early next year, City engineering will measure the difference between traffic flow and speeds between before and after the calming measures now in place and will go to City Council for permanent parking measures so good time for us to keep pressure to ensure all temporary measures become permanent and that other measures including closing Hawks also become permanent. Please email questions to email@example.com
Progress on proposed Underpass: The SRA has been holding quarterly meetings with City Senior Management to discuss the calm Prior Project and the underpass design.
Underpass at Venables hasn’t moved at all since the community panel reached a conclusion and was overridden by engineering – The city is applying for money for a design firm to begin designing the underpass and are in no rush to get this done – CN has delayed indefinitely plans to double the tracks – The Port constitutes to expand and in 2022 will have more containers coming thru – it’s a problem coming solutions stuck in the mud – equally with viaducts coming down – they should have made some progress by now but nothing. Keeping an eye on it but no progress as far as know.
Air Quality Monitoring Project – Trefor Smith
We now have a steering committee with wide range of experts including UBC, Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health, Environment Canada – looking at the effects of our air quality. Technical experts have been hired to design a process with multiple monitors distributed throughout Strathcona, starting next spring or summer and in place for 24 months. The locations of monitors are posted on the SRA website. Updates on website ongoing.
Looking for 1 or 2 volunteers to help approach businesses and homeowners where we would like to put additional monitors – to help explain what we’re doing.
Big thanks to Ghazal Arefi Board Member and Environmental Scientist (and busy mom) was thanked for her role in the Air Quality Committee.
Park Board is open to the idea of changing Strathcona Park from regional to a community focused park. The SRA sent this e-mail to the Park Board’s General Manger’s Office to urge them to put Strathcona Park on the 2023-36 capital plan, which is being formulated now by park staff. It would help if members send a follow-up e-mail of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Strathcona Residents Association Board is looking for feedback on we are doing, and what issues residents feel should be addressed that are currently not being addressed.
Tom Rhone, recent Strathcona resident and parent was introduced – is running for a Board position on the SRA.
Roberta Robertson announced that the Neighbourhood small grants program deadline is Nov. 9th. Here’s the link to apply:
Event in Strathcona Park: Initial brainstorming ongoing for Celebrate Strathcona event in spring 2022 – please provide input to Dan through the contact form on the website. email@example.com
Results of the online ballot:
Bylaws amendment: Do you agree to amend the bylaws to expand the maximum number of directors on the Executive Council from 7 to 8? 34 yes. 2 no.
Elected to the 2021-22 Board of Directors: