Up-Date: Building Community Society October 13, 2008
Demonstration Sites: Gerry and Mike H. have met with a Vancouver lawyer with strong philanthropic interests and connections. He has asked BCS to prepare by the end of the month case statements for three potential housing projects by the end of this month. The Aboriginal Mothers’ Centre, First United Church, the Pantages Project and 58 West Hastings are all possibilities being considered. (Gerry Zipursky and Mike Harcourt)
Report to City Council: Separate meetings were held with Mayoral candidates Peter Ladner and Gregor Robertson to present the case for a local area planning program in the DTES. Following consultations among some of the BCS members it was decided that time and strategy suggest that we wait until a new Mayor and Council are installed before formally take the proposal to Council (this will also provide more time to work on it). However it is still intended to bring out a public statement about the importance of a DTES community plan and planning program. Consultations are underway in the community about this too. As well meetings are being held with City Planning. (Larry Beasley, Ray Spaxman, Michael Clague, Michael Mortensen, Milton Wong, Mike Harcourt).
Community Connections: Meetings continue with the Carnegie Community Action Project and the D.T.E.S. Low Income Land Use and Housing Coalition (LILAHC). The purposes are to increase BCS learning about the important work of these two organizations and to provide advice on how the community visioning work of CCAP can expand to include other community groups and interests. (Ray Spaxman and Michael Clague)
A detailed review has been written and sent to the recent report of the Strathcona Revitalization Committee: “Strathcona 2010 – A Clear Vision for our Community.” The SRVC requested comments from BCS and the chair has indicated there will probably be follow-up conversation. (Michael Clague)
Planning is underway for BCS representatives to meet with the board of Building Opportunities with Business (BOB) in December. (Norm Silins, Shirley Chan, Michael Clague)
Tools for Talking: A request has been received from the Carnegie Community Action Project for some BCS representatives to meet with CCAP and the real estate agent for the Infinity Theatre properties in the 300 block Main. Michael Mortensen will use the Tools format to explore various development possibilities. (Ray Spaxman, Gerry Zipursky, Michael Mortensen, Michael Clague)
Model Block – Pantages Project: As this note is being written we are awaiting word as to whether Marc Williams and his partners (owners of the Pantages properties) have accepted the City’s request to pay for a right of first refusal on the properties (which have now been listed on the market). If accepted then the City is putting together a staff team to do further work to keep alive the possibility of the City acquiring the properties and furthering the Pantages Project. There is interest in the Pantages being one of the anchors in a potential strategy known as the “Renaissance of Hastings Street.” The Pantages project would include non-market housing and possibly market rental and entry-level ownership housing together with a restored theatre (see attachment for drawings by dysarchitecture). Joe Way’s model block software can serve as a good discussion tool around how the Pantages Project could be configured into a rehabilitated/developed 100 block East Hastings. (Gerry Zipursky, Michael Clague, Joe Wai)
Other Project Status Reports
Aboriginal Mothers’ Centre: With Gerry’s assistance a new board and a new management structure are in place and the AMC is gearing up for fund-raising for a construction start with Builders Without Borders in early 2009. (Gerry Zipursky)
First United Church: With Robert Brown and Heather Tremain of “Rethinking Building Inc” as the project consultants architect Walter Francl has produced the first set of plans for the redevelopment of the church on its present site. An environmental assessment report estimates the cost of remediation work on the parking lot to the south of the church to be more than $700,000. However, as the offer on the property is still in place, preliminary design work has also been done for the development of this site should there be a break-through on negotiations with the owner. Robert Brown and Tim Pringle are meeting to prepare an MOU regarding the contribution that BCS can bring to this project (First United is seen as another one of the Hastings street anchors with important connections to Chinatown and Strathcona and it will be important that this, like the Pantages will be built in forms that respect the aesthetic, scale and history of the street). (Michael Clague, Tim Pringle)
Vitality Health: The “Soul to Sole” foot care program is on hold, awaiting a shipment of running shoes from China that were held up due to the manufacturer being affected by the Olympics. Research is underway through SFU to conduct a survey regarding health needs among homeless and street-involved people. (Terry Howard, Gerry Zipursky)
Business Community Society:
• Communications: Work is currently underway on a “Manifesto” for BCS that Milton has requested. Attention will return to the communications plan once this is complete (Paul Sullivan).
• BCS Funding: Over the summer funds have been received from the Rix Foundation, the Conconi Foundation, and two significant individual gifts. Three of these are multi-year commitments. A major submission has been made to the Vancouver Foundation. A progress report to our funders will be issue shortly.(Mike Harcourt, Milton Wong, Maggie Geiser and Michael Clague)
• Ismali Community: Discussions are under way with representatives of the Aga Khan Foundation in Canada to discuss collaboration with BCS in refining our conceptual framework and in project development, fund-raising and the provision of skilled volunteers with backgrounds in community economic and social development. (Milton Wong, Michael Clague)
• BCS office: Discussions are underway with for BCS to have office space within the new UBC Learning Exchange at Keefer and Main Streets. There would one office with some availability to display work plans etc) and access to meeting space in the facility. This office is apart from the continuing efforts of BCS for the City to establish a community planning information office. (Joe Wai, Maggie, Michael Clague, Gerry Zipursky, Mike Harcourt).
• BCS Work Plan: The time is due for members of BCS to invest two hours in a planning workshop to set out our tasks, the deadlines, and those responsible for the next 4 months (to January 31, 2009). Maggie Geiser will be in touch to locate that miracle date and time when we all can gather (likely it would be an evening session from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm). (Michael Clague, Gerry Zipursky and Maggie Geiser – with input from other members such as Ray Spaxman who quite rightly suggests we need it).
• BCS Business Plan: As part of the 4 month work plan we will be committing time to the development of a business plan. Ken Scott, Partner, and Kent Chawrun, C.A. with KPMG have generously offered to be advisors. (Milton Wong, Gerry Zipursky, Michael Clague).
For more information: Michael Clague (224-0604), Gerry Zipursky (809-5111), Maggie Geiser (619-5050).
Please note: Maggie Geiser is setting up an electronic calendar so she can post our various meetings on-line.