SRA February 2021 Meeting Minutes
Strathcona Residents Association
February 3, 2021 Meeting
1.Community policing centre:
David Vogt, Chair of the Board of the Community Policing Centre (CPC) introduced himself in place of E.D. Dan Turville who was unable to attend.
The CPC is hoping to partner – working with BIA on a few issues and on traffic flow on Prior which is too aggressive – have set up volunteer run speed watch program to address over next 3 weeks, in partnership with VPD and broader calming of prior.
Officer Jen Obach was introduced as the new VPD liaison for Strathcona – has replaced Jeannine. Jen has worked with VPD for 19 years lots of experience with youth in the area which covers Clark to Gore to the Port.
Has been on the job 4 weeks, is learning about the neighbourhood. Looking forward to working with everyone.
Asked about situation in Strath Park the evening before – how police feel about going into the Park. (officers were in camp executing search warrant on alleged murderer of 78-year-old woman near QE Park). Officers were met with opposition and had to call for code 3 emergency cover for other officers – a dangerous, hostile and volatile crowd of 50 people swarmed them.
Jen indicates she is not in the know – still learning about the camp and the dynamics but that police are not afraid; it is a safety issue.
Q. Mira – what was the Canada wide warrant? Both CPC Officer and Jen unable to answer. It would be a serious crime if Canada Wide.
Q. Lisa – why was the suspect released today? CPC rep and VPD liaison unable to answer the question.
Was in the Park with Pete Fry previous day; felt unsafe, told by campers they could not be in park; felt very unsafe – young “warriers” in the Park attacked councillors; physically hit a councillor who fell to the ground. Very frustrating that no info available – nice to meet new liaison but were looking for more than a meet and greet. We are scared, concerned and we need help.
We hope that Jen will bring this message up the chain of command to management. She indicates they are aware, and they have a plan and there will be action; it’s coming. Unfortunately need to wait and have some patience. It’s very political and strategic and management is in control of that; she is sure they have a game plan.
David Vogt: Recognize Park is not safe will not send in volunteers.
City council gave a modest funding increase to Community Policing Centres – 30k increase on 150k budget – Looking to see where they can invest in different programs – restorative justice possibly – youth programs to give neighbourhood kids opportunities as part of weaving a better fabric of neighbourhood resilience.
Invited anyone who wants to help move plans forward to increasing CPC presence and role welcome
Restorative justice program for adults would be welcome in the hood and some guidance as to how the residents should respond to episodes of mental health/drug related behaviour seen in the hood. Police are doing a good job right now at responding but no more specific answer to this question from CPC or VPD liaison.
2. Air Quality Control Study
Trefor Smith: Board Member responsible for Air Quality Control Study
Outlined background of air quality study – related to expansion of centrum terminal- air emissions will likely double as a result of the expansion (according to port’s own review) and other expansions, i.e., grain terminals, etc. – increase in activity in port of vancouver – continually growing. A # of ambient air quality stations located in lower mainland. A few kilometres apart. When Port of Vancouver undertook assessment of impact of expansion, air quality stations were 2 in North Van and 1 a few kilometres east of strath but no station in Strathcona proper to measure air quality. Delays due to covid. Asking for funds out of community fund – 14k to do some community engagement – what are the concerns of residents re air quality? Possibly schools and Senior centres where people are vulnerable. How many stations, how will data be shared? Opportunity for mobile sensors that volunteers could use to measure and capture air quality.
Fun activity. Residents encouraged to fill out the survey (on SRA Website). Lots of opportunity for people to get involved. Please contact Trevor, Dan or Gazalle.
The port is engaged and are supporting this initiative as is UBC so great opportunity to become more aware of what the impact of the increased port traffic is on our hood. Please take the survey and encourage everyone you know to take it.
It’s an important issue that isn’t big on a lot of people’s radar but does affect people’s health.
What will happen with the results?
There will be a huge increase in the # of trucks on Clark.
78% of people who have completed survey are concerned with air quality. Government is starting to pay attention to air quality in the past 10 years or so and community led monitoring is becoming more and more the case wherever residential populations are next to industrial operations. There are also people working on the issue of noise from the increased rail and truck traffic in the neighbourhood.
3. Strathcona Access to Emergency Hubs:
City of Vancouver has an Emergency Response System consisting of support hubs. The containers in Strath school yard are part of that hub as well as containers in Oppenheimer Park. Since both have recently been fenced in there is concern about access.
Daniel Stevens from Emergency Management Agency at the City of Vancouver was introduced to speak to this issue.
Works with small team at COV to coordinate activities.
Showed Presentation: (attached)
Short term support – helps people left on the street without support with food and housing short term – link them to support through trained volunteers.
Supplies are in shipping containers around the City as above – equipment and tools to set up reception centre – h20, medical, blankets, etc. basic emergency food kits. Paperwork – forms, etc.
26 containers around the City – additional supplies in a vehicle – stockpile at works yard also. Not intended to house a lot of people (i.e., earthquake), but will get things going quickly – for 100 people.
Specialized volunteers include supporting pets – have had practice setting up lodging centres due to fires, using schools and other buildings.
Also, Disaster Support Hubs. Currently being reviewed – were going to engage w. community before covid. So, on hold for now. Will be restarted – low tech way to id. Places the community can come together following an earthquake and connect w. gov’t and other people and points of distribution for food, lodging, shelter, info, etc. but will depend on community. Community Centres will self- organize and coordinate inside but will depend on state of buildings.
Neighbourhood Resilience Program: Funding to 4 neighbourhoods in Vancouver pilot project – activities, i.e., map your neighbourhood to identify assets in the community, hazards, develop community-based response plans. Dunbar, Grandview, 312 Main, all developed programs that fit in their particular neighbourhoods and all culminated in a toolkit (see slide).
Incorporating this and hubs into a joint program (part of the review) how to link with hubs. Hoping to provide small grants (not yet confirmed) to communities going forward.
Sophie (for Drew)
Why are hubs behind fences and gates (i.e., oppenheimer park, Strath School) These are not accessible, especially Oppenheimer.
Answer: Limited outdoor space in the neighbourhood – hoping Oppenheimer fence will come down too. They can come down quickly after an earthquake. Will be lots of services in the DTES.
Can remove the sign and move the hub – are working with Park Board.
Sophie: would like to see planning and action – and a timeline for when this will happen.
Daniel: Open to suggestions for where we can move it; email him.
Shouldn’t be on us to figure out where the spaces are; we can’t wait for Park Board to take fence down. What’s missing from presentation – which communities need services most – i.e., we don’t have same advantage as, say Dunbar in terms of spaces and people who will know what to do. What’s your plan for that?
Daniel: Working on it through the resilience committees. Covid brought to light many issues.
Megan: Hubs in the DTES are most important for equity seeking populations – would be helpful if you could meet with reps from SRA, CC, Schools and walk through what that would look like. Would like to sit down with team to hear how it will roll out and give input as residents who live here.
Daniel: Can do that – will have to be post covid.
We need a micro evaluation of what disaster hubs will look like in the most under privileged area of the City.
Shouldn’t be waiting for post covid – need to do soon and properly. Unfortunately, only part of the school is seismically upgraded – this may affect the containers – any comment?
Have kids in schools that aren’t upgraded; can appreciate concern.
Many buildings like that around the City including schools not unique to Strathcona. School Board responsibility – there is no mechanism that exists, but City is working on it and seeing how local government can get some power to do something about it.
School Board made a decision to see how to deal with the building and how it could be used.
Addendum re fencing: Outdoor space is actually McLean Park – school is not actually in the plan – the supplies are there because close to the Community Centre so they will have keys to fence and container etc. So, McLean Park will be the outdoor gathering centre.
Very little info distributed to the Community from Disaster Management informing residents where to go, how to help, how to prepare. Basic communications with the neighbourhoods.
Daniel: There is information in the Community Centres and Libraries and online. Flyers haven’t been distributed from a sustainability perspective. Will look at providing more community-based info to Strathcona.
4. Richard Taplin SRA Board Member re Prior Street Calming
No progress on calming Prior in Jan because Bc hydro dug up the street. Should be done soon. Surface repairs to street have just started with patching by BC Hydro by end Feb.
Will continue with Bump outs and curb adjustments and lane painting plus pedestrian crosswalk painting – all will be done by end march they say – plus new bus shelters at Hawks and possibly at Raymuir – by end of March.
Key factor is re-instating street parking – to getting traffic to calm down.
VPD in partnership with the CPC have agreed to step up radar measurements in course of next 5 weeks which will help to alert drivers to stick to the limit. Once calming is done, will be a focus on the underpass development and what happens to Malkin as a truck route and the redesign of Prior as a great street. Hope to address noise factor by having decent roads to keep the noise down.
We have a good relationship with our contact in Engineering at the City and hope to have a meeting in March.
Talked to traffic management at City – waiting on batteries for speed readers – seems they should be there now given the situation in the Park. Seems very responsible of City to have 50k in a 30 k. they are saying they can’t recalibrate the reader – waiting on batteries. Lack of priority to the neighbourhood to do something so simple is disappointing.
Par for the Course for the City. Has been raised – they say they are working on it.
Wooden arch at Mothers of Raymuir underpass. Appears to have carvings that look like indigenous carvings. City has confirmed there are structural issues – have indicated they will dissemble. Trying to find out who carved – has reached out and hasn’t come up with anything. If anyone knows anything send Andrea a message through the SRA website.
Dan announced that a new website is being worked on and could be ready as soon as next month (march).
Meeting adjourned at 8:50 pm.