Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Sign up to sustain Collingwood Legion Branch #48

BY PAUL REID

Members from Collingwood Neighbourhood House, RC INTERactive, Renfrew Collingwood Multicultural Artists Network, Still Moon Arts Society and, of course, the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News met with members of Collingwood Legion Branch #48 to tour the former Jaguar’s Pub location at Kingsway and Tyne. Following the tour, those present brainstormed on ways that this location might be used by Branch #48 in conjunction with these community groups.

We toured the former pub location and learned that mold issues will have the City of Vancouver needing to tear the place apart. Therefore, it will not be ready for about another year. The good news is that this renovation could be customized to fit the needs of Branch #48 and other local organizations. For instance, the rather large main room might be sectioned off or turned into more of a flex space. As you can see from the pictures, the place is currently quite a mess but does contain the basics of what Branch #48 is looking for.

While the location undergoes its renovations, the Branch needs to get their act together by the end of December – so that they are not dissolved. To aid in this, the Branch is seeking more people to come forward to become Legion members. Increasing the Branch’s membership would help their move to this location more feasible.

And this is where you come in, my friends.

We need to help the Branch this year especially by signing up as many new members as it is going to take. Membership is currently $40/year. I’m in. Who is with me? In fact, I am going to go in for two memberships, and I want to see who will match me.

To start, fill in your name and say “Please add me to the Legion #48 Community Supporters List” in the comment box below.

This is the blank slate that local MP Don Davies was talking about. The Legion needs to really rethink what its plans are, not just with our Branch #48, but with branches right across the country. Here is a great chance to set a new precedent where the Legion works hand in hand with other community organizations to move forward. We all want it here in RC = the organizations have spoken loud and clear. They want to help Branch #48 so that Branch #48 can continue to be a force in this community as they have been since before 1926, the year they became part of the Legion.

Do you have stories of being part of Branch #48 or how they’ve helped the community? Let us know. Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

To help, please add your name to a Community Supporters List for Collingwood Legion Branch #48. Just fill out the contact form below and we will add you to the list. Thank you for supporting Collingwood Legion Branch #48!

Please add in the comment box: Yes, add me to the Legion #48 Community Supporters List.

Copyright (c) 2014 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Welcoming the Kingsway Continental to the neighbourhood

The Kingsway Continental, formerly the Ramada Inn, is scheduled to open in fall 2013. The City purchased it in November 2012 to turn into non-market housing. A coalition of local service providers is collecting donations for welcoming kits for incoming residents.

BY DEANNA CHENG

Renfrew-Collingwood is gearing up to welcome the Kingsway Continental and its new tenants moving in from the Old Continental this fall. From an open house and community meetings, the City of Vancouver worked with a group of Renfrew-Collingwood service providers, identifying needs and concerns for a smooth transition.

Once the Ramada Inn, located at 3484 Kingsway at Tyne, the building will also house local residents requiring affordable housing as well as, temporarily, residents of BC Housing buildings undergoing renovations.

The committee working with the City includes Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH), the Collingwood Community Policing Centre, the Collingwood Business Improvement Association, the Evergreen Community Health Centre and the Renfrew-Collingwood Homelessness Community.

Angela Evans, the executive director of the Collingswood BIA, said, “The tenants were notified at the same time, about seven months ago, so it is not a surprise and people have time to process.”

CNH’s executive director Jennifer Gray-Grant said, “The neighbourhood’s expectation is for the new tenants to live here, get services locally and feel comfortable enough to participate in the community.”

Local service providers, residents and youth are putting together welcome kits with shopping bags provided by the Collingwood BIA.

Gray-Grant asks the public to donate everyday necessities such as socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors and shaving cream. These could be dropped off at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (5288 Joyce Street) or the Collingwood Community Policing Centre (5160 Joyce Street).

“The welcome packages will include information on local services and businesses. There will be coupons, socks, toques and toiletries, for example,” she said.

According to the City’s Kingsway Continental Q-and-A sheet, most of the tenants of the Old Continental (a City-operated non-market housing building in downtown Vancouver that will close) are men over the age of 45, primarily on welfare or receiving a pension. “Many tenants at the Old Continental are living with mental health or addition issues or other medical conditions.”

“The Evergreen clinic has said it has the capacity to work with the new residents,” notes Gray-Grant. “And here at CNH we provide breakfast for those who are homeless or tentatively housed every Saturday with our Morning Star breakfast-and-shower program. They are welcome to join us.”

Gray-Grant also said there are other adult and seniors programs and initiatives available at CNH.

Evans said, “It has been a positive process. To see everyone come together as a community–the businesses, people, associations, volunteers–everyone on every level is committed and on the same page. They’re welcoming, not barring anyone. “

She said members of the BIA were asked to contribute next month.

Jennifer Standeven, the City of Vancouver spokesperson for this project, said that, based on the open house event held at the neighbourhood house, she found residents warm and welcoming. Some of them mentioned the possibility of moving to the Kingsway Continental when they get older and want a smaller or more affordable place.

“They see it as a community resource,” Standeven said.

Gray-Grant said, “We have the highest number of seniors of any Vancouver neighbourhood. As well as the highest number of youth and second highest number of children.”

Having this building available nearby means residents on limited incomes will have one more option for staying within their community of friends and neighbours.

One of the priorities set out by the Metro Vancouver Affordable Housing Strategy is to “increase the supply of modest cost housing.” The Kingsway Continental Q-and-A says the hotel has 123 rooms.

“The first priority is housing the tenants from the Old Continental,” said Standeven. “The second priority is to support BC Housing while they renovate their old buildings. People will be able to stay temporarily at the Kingsway Continental.”

Standeven estimates these members would stay from 12 to 18 months at a time while renovations happen.

“And the third priority is two-fold: to acquire or build social housing across Vancouver and to build community partnerships to support affordable housing across the city. We want neighbourhoods to feel good about this.

“Collingwood has been fabulous because they want to see more social housing in the neighbourhood,” she said.

According to the Metro Vancouver Housing Data Book, BC Housing collects data on households that have applied for social housing in Metro Vancouver and there is a wait list. While the waiting list indicates a need for affordable housing, it is not necessarily an accurate measure of the demand.

The book notes, “the number of households in Metro Vancouver waiting for social housing has increased by 35%, from 6,630 in 2009 to 8,955 in 2012.”

The City of Vancouver is the municipality with the greatest number of households waiting for social housing at 3,632 households. It is followed by Surrey (1, 305), Burnaby (1,182) and Richmond (599).

There is a possibility of the Collingwood Legion leasing the former pub space on the ground floor; they are currently in the middle of negotiations and nothing is confirmed.

Standeven said, “Once the tenants are settled in, the community will be invited for a welcome, possibly in October.”

For information about the welcome kits, please contact CNH at 604-435-0323.

For more information about the Kingsway Continental project, go to http://vancouver.ca/people-programs/kingsway-continental.aspx.

Deanna Cheng is a journalism student at Langara College.

Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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February 2013 is here

Get your February 2013 issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery story, library and community centre.

RCCNews February 2013Click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Collingwood Cinemas: A cultural meeting place
  • Ramada Hotel on Kingsway bought by city of Vancouver
  • Eating Out in RC: Poor Italian Restaurant
  • Quick Mind, Quick Feet: Claire Fergusson works to follow her softball dreams
  • Collingwood’s newest community garden
  • Artists welcome neighbours to Art House in the Field


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Renfrew Ravine community consultation

Residents have their say at a Park Board open house

BY DEANNA CHENG

The City of Vancouver worked with local residents last month on developing a master plan to improve the Renfrew Ravine and the community park.

On November 15, about 30 people showed up to the open house and workshop at Firehall No. 15. They reviewed panels that stated the goal of the master plan is to increase recreational opportunities while preserving and enhancing wildlife habitat.

A few suggestions were to update the playground, create a community garden and more gathering/event spaces, and improve trail connections and accessibility to those trails.

The workshop was designed to gather community feedback and to figure out which amenities to put in and which ones to remove, said Ben Mulhall, landscape designer at Catherine Berris Associates.

The Park Board was pleased with the number of community members who attended and participated in the workshop.

“The community around Renfrew Ravine and Renfrew Ravine Park has been very positive and supportive over the years during open houses and events,” Tiina Mack, manager of park development of the Vancouver Park Board, wrote in an email. “The participants on November 15th were equally as enthusiastic about enhancing the ecology of Still Creek, and it appears ecosystem restoration continues to be a strong commitment in this neighbourhood.”

Carmen Rosen, artistic director of Still Moon Arts Society, said the riparian area (between the land and the stream) has been compromised from logging 100 years ago, but community groups have worked to restore that area, making it possible for salmon to live in the water.

Catherine Berris, landscape architect and planner, lead the workshop and engaged the audience, which had little problem speaking up and voicing their ideas.

A couple youths sat among the attentive crowd. Alex Leung and Jordon Lui, members of the Windermere Secondary School Leadership program, are in charge of their school’s Renfrew Ravine Cleanup program.

Leung found the workshop informative and helpful in learning what people think and what needs to be done.

The three needs that kept coming up were safety, nature education and removal of invasive plants.

People wanted to maintain the integrity of the Renfrew Ravine but develop better trails to get to the water. They also wanted signage to educate the public about the species in the area.

On the community park side, people wanted a picnic area or a band shell. Someone suggested taking the fence by the creek down to get closer to the water.

Renfrew resident Alex Chisholm appreciated the chance to give his opinion, but did have some skepticism. “Will [the city of Vancouver] take this meeting seriously?”

If you missed the open house but would like to provide input, go to the online survey that’s available until November 30: http://www.placespeak.com/topic/600/renfrew-park-and-renfrew-ravine-park-master-plan/.

The next open house is planned for February 2013. The exact date and location is to be determined. Check the city of Vancouver’s website to remain updated: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/improving-renfrew-ravine-and-renfrew-community-parks.aspx.

Deanna Cheng is a resident of Renfrew-Collingwood and a journalism student at Langara College.

© Copyright (c) 2012 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News