Monthly Archives: June 2013

Our Coalition Partner express common themes to City Council

Here is the letter to Mayor and Council from the Ray Cam Cooperative Community Association and the Inner City Safety Society.

Mayor and Council.

I am writing on behalf of the Ray-Cam Cooperative Community Association and the Inner City Safety Society to express our approval in principle for the proposed removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, with certain caveats. Both organizations are signatories to the Coalition of Communities letter, which we fully support. The letter is attached.

Our residents are excited about the proposed development of more local parkland, particularly given the long delay in actualizing the long-promised park in North False Creek. That said, we believe implementation of viaduct removal must incorporate strategies in three key areas:

1. Traffic calming on Prior/Venables

Our residents have been particularly vocal in calling for the return of Prior/Venables streets to local traffic use, with arterial traffic diverted through the eastern core. Planning for a full eastern core strategy must take place concurrently with planning for viaducts removal, with planning for the entire area coordinated and integrated prior to implementation. Too many families and seniors in our area avoid crossing Prior Street due to their fear of traffic speeding through the area — which means they are not able to use the neighbourhood’s only large park. Livability for residents should not be sacrificed on the altar of traffic convenience.

2. Amenity Funding

Any implementation of viaducts removal will clearly lead to the development of substantially more housing in our community. Recently Council has been directing virtually all amenity funding in our area to the provision of more social and affordable housing. While developing better housing options is certainly desirable, other neighbourhood amenities such as community centres and childcare services are already operating over capacity. Adding more residents to the area must include directing amenity funding to supporting all services needed by local residents. Communities are more than the houses in which we live. Housing more people in our neighbourhoods who will compete for already scare amenities will provide no benefit to local families and seniors.

3. Community Consultation

Too often community consultation has become of process of planners informing residents of what they plan to do, requesting feedback at the point where the planning process is well advanced. To say the least, many find that ‘consultation’ disingenuous and rather patronizing. Alternatively, committees are set up — such as the current DTES LAPP committee — through which city-appointed representatives select participants to provide local feedback and advice. Such committees give the appearance of community involvement, while in reality giving certain selected representatives the ability to advance their own positions with little or no actual accountability back to local residents. Having such groups set the agenda prior to any other resident involvement simply divides communities and skews planning. Planning for the viaduct removal and eastern core, as well as the development of final plans for the Downtown Eastside and Grandview Woodlands, must include full resident and business participation through the organizations such as resident associations, community centres, and business improvement associations, which are directly accountable back to their members. As noted in the attached letter, we believe these groups must be involved at all levels of the planning process and must be mandated to fully involve all parts of the community — not just those who will agree with pre-set agendas.

The proposal to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts gives the City and our communities an excellent opportunity to work together to develop and implement a responsive, respectful vision for the entire central north-east sector. We look forward to working comprehensively with Council and with Planning staff as we move forward.

Judy McGuire

Co-ordinator, Inner City Safety Society and Executive Board Member, Ray-Cam Cooperative Community Association

This is what we’re afraid of

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Concord Pacific’s advertisement at YVR shows their vision for False Creek — all towers and a think green strip of park.

Come to City Hall on June 26 and tell Council that we want the full 9 acre Creekside Park Extension delivered now!

Here is what we have written:

June 25, 2013

Dear Mayor and Council,

The False Creek Residents Association (FCRA), and its members in City Gate, Crosstown, South False Creek and Yaletown, are members of a coalition of neighbourhoods and organizations that include Grandview Woodlands (GWAC), Strathcona (SRA), the Ray-Cam Community Cooperative Association, the Lord Strathcona Elementary School PAC, the DTES Neighbourhood Council, the Inner City Safety Society, the Strathcona Business Improvement Association, and the Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee.

Together, we have endorsed the attached statement which outlines our approval “in principle” for the removal of the viaducts, subject to Council’s commitment to a transparent and inclusive community engagement process, the terms and principles of which are incorporated in our attached statement.

Although we share the same process concerns as our coalition neighbours to the east, we should be clear that it is our members who will be most directly impacted. Our members live on and around Quebec Street, Abbott Street, Pacific Boulevard, and Carrall Street. We use Andy Livingstone Park daily. We are dependent on the childcares, shops and services located on the impacted roads. The purpose of this letter is to ensure that Council has a clear idea of our issues as unfortunately the Staff Report includes Strathcona, Grandview Woodlands, DTES, Chinatown, and Downtown, but fails to specify FCRA’s issues.

The report makes repeated mention of Council’s consistent and on-going request for the ‘early’ delivery of the 9.06 acre Creekside Park Extension. We believe that plans for removing the viaducts present a unprecedented opportunity to comply with that focus.

Reconfiguring the parks and the streets, removing the viaducts, creating new public spaces, and effecting the required land swaps, all necessitate renegotiating the 2004 agreement with Concord Pacific that called for delivery of the park upon the development of Lot 6C. We believe the Creekside Park Extension should be delivered prior to any construction activity associated with removing the viaducts and building the new Pacific Avenue. Lot 6C is available as a staging area for viaduct removal. Lot 9 and the southern portion of Lot 6C should immediately be delivered as park space, with the completed seawall as envisioned when, on October 6, 2011, Council approved in principle reconfiguration of the Creekside Park Extension.

The timeline included in the staff report (Page 24, Figure 14) shows no firm time commitment for Creekside Park Extension. Unlike other items in the Chart with a fixed line, the line for park delivery is portrayed as a forward arrow, “to infinity and beyond” as Buzz Lightyear might say.

Therefore, as a complement to our support for the attached statement from our Community Coalition, the FCRA requests that delivery of the Creekside Park Extension, or a significant portion thereof, precede any construction or removal of the viaduct. Further, we request that any plan for removing the viaducts have a firm and final plan for delivery of the full park with dates and penalties part of the legal agreement with affected property owners.

Thank you for your consideration.

Patsy McMillan and Fern Jeffries Co-Chairs
False Creek Residents Association

 

 

Full House at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Garden

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Representatives from Chinatown organizations heard Brian Jackson, the City’s General Manager of Planning and Development urge them to support removing the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts –  in Cantonese, Mandarin and English!!

Along with Mr. Jackson, there was a full complement of city staff including Wendy Au from the City Manager’s office, Kevin McNaney, Assistant Director of Planning, and Jerry Dobrovolny, Director of Transportation.  City Councillors present included Kerry Jang, Geoff Meggs, Tony Tang, and Raymond Louis.

Chinatown organizations were enthusiastic about opportunities for bringing new people and prosperity to the community.  Henry Tom, representing the Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee is a member of our Coalition of Communities.  He, along with others, urged the City “not to forget Chinatown” and to engage with the community in planning processes.

Parks, density, and traffic continue to be emerging themes in the discussion.  Hope we have a good turnout of residents at Wednesday’s Council meeting.

2 pm at City Hall.  Be there!

 

Tell Council we want the Park FIRST! 2 pm on Wednesday, June 26 at City Hall

There is an opportunity to speak to City Council.  This is our chance to ensure our elected officials know we want the park first!  They can use other Concord vacant lots for staging viaduct removal. Not our Park!!

The City should negotiate immediate park delivery from Concord Pacific who has owed us this amenity for over two decades.  To register to speak, please call Tina Hildebrandt, Meeting Coordinator, at 604.873.7268 or e-mail tina.hildebrandt@vancouver.ca, or Pat Boomhower, Meeting Coordinator at 604.873.7015, e-mail pat.boomhower@vancouver.ca.

 

Support in Principle

The FCRA will support removal of the viaducts “in principle”.  We have formed a coalition with our neighbours to the east:  the Strathcona Residents Association, the Grandview-Woodlands Area Council, together with a number of groups including the Strathcona Elementary School Parents Advisory Committee, the Strathcona BIA, the Inner City Safety Society, and the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council.  Our coalition statement is attached.

Key to our support ‘in principle’ is the belief that Creekside Park can be developed well in advance of removing the viaducts.

 

We hope you will attend at City Hall on June 26th and give this message to Council.Coalition_of_communities- statement_June2013

Creekside Park — NOW!!

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On Wednesday, June 26th,  you have an opportunity to address City Council and let councillors know that we believe they can deliver Creekside Park BEFORE the viaducts come down.

The Staff Report on the Viaducts is available at:  http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20130625/documents/rr1.pdf

This report supports “early” delivery of at least portions of the park.  The city’s plan will require renegotiation of their 2004 deal with Concord Pacific.  Let’s let council know that the time is now for the whole park, not in 5 or 10 years suggested in the report.