DRA July Newsletter

July 2013 Newsletter

Notes from the Editor

Thanks to Bryan Alonzo and Nicholas Harrington for helping me figure out how to include photos correctly.  This issue includes the photos that failed to transmit in the June issue.  Special thanks to Nicholas for vivifying dead links and apologies to readers who were misled in the past.
Since the newsletter will be sent out only once a month, like us on Facebook,  follow us on Twitter and check our website Victoriadra.ca for updates and the most current information on upcoming events.

If you would like to contribute something to the newsletter, contact the editor at info@victoriadra.ca

Robert Florida, editor pro tem, 6 July 2013
July (nee June) Mystery Photograph Contest


Can you identify the location of this photograph?  It's not too easy, but it is definitely in the Downtown Residents Association area.  Thanks to the helpful member who sent it in.  If you know where it is contact the editor at info@victoriadra.ca  First correct entry wins a $10 gift certificate at the Bon Macaron.

Any more photographers out there?  Take a mystery photo and send it (with the location specified) to the editor of the DRA Newsletter for the next issue.  info@victoriadra.ca

Roving Refinery at Bon Macaron (Repeated from June Issue)

David Boetti and Yann Fougere, owners of Bon Macaron

On May 30 David Boetti and Yann Figure, owners of Bon Macaron, hosted a group of DRA members to a really fun introduction to a world of new tastes. They were excellent hosts and taught us an amazing amount about macarons, a French meringue delicacy made with almonds and the freshest of ingredients--not to be confused with macaroons!  

The challenge for us was making a choice between of all the different savoury and sweet flavours. In the end, we each chose one from each category and finished with a Chocolate Mint macaron made with mint from Happy Valley Lavender & Herb Farm - new to the menu.   Some of the other flavours we tried include: White Chocolate & Wasabi, Salted Caramel, Goat Cheese & Fig. There is something for everyone.  My favorite, and the favorite of David and Yann, was the Salted Caramel.

Congratulations to DRA member JC Scott, who won a $25 gift certificate and who promptly cashed in on macarons!

Not only are the macarons uniquely delicious, gluten free, and made fresh every day, the shop has been very tastefully renovated and decorated.  Check them out on Broad St across from Pag's. http://www.bonmacaronpatisserie.com/
The Next Roving Refinery
The Roving Refinery is a DRA members' social event where members get a chance to meet with other Downtown/Harris Green residents and while getting to know merchants who operate locally owned businesses in our neighbourhood.
The next roving refinery is experiencing construction delays, but there are two good hosts that are in the wings.  We will try for later in July.

Guaranteed to be another delicious event!  Watch the Website, Facebook and Twitter for details when known.

Downtown Market News

Hudson Wednesday Public Market Seems a Success

The Wednesday Public Market on the Carriageway that connects Fisgard and Herald behind the Hudson has been open for more than a month now.  There are quite a few vendors and a lot of customer traffic.  If you come late you may find that some items have sold out.  The market will be open every Wednesday from 11 am to 3 pm until further notice.  It's a great place to get really fresh, local products.

Hudson Indoor Public Market Postponed until September

The opening of the large permanent indoor Public Market in the Hudson will probably not be until sometime in September.  Recently, we got glimpses of the construction through open doors and an uncovered window, and there is still quite a bit to do.  Since there have been so many delays from earlier announced opening dates, the organizers are are reluctant to predict exactly when it should open.  When it does it promises to be a great thing for Downtown Residents.

Chinatown Night Market

The third year of the Chinatown Night Market started in June, and will continue on the second Wednesday night of July, August and September.  The market features Asian foods, entertainment, and street vendors.  Check it out.


Recently, there has been some signs of preparatory construction activity at both sides of the new span.  Most work is currently taking place off site, and so far there the project seems to be proceeding according to schedule.  If all goes well it will open late in 2015.  See the official website for up to date news.  http://www.johnsonstreetbridge.com/

DRA is planning a joint meeting with the Vic West Residents Association and city officials.  Watch the DRA website and Twitter for details.

Changes to the DRA Board

Recently Hugh Kruzel, veteran member of the Board, resigned his position due to pressure from other commitments.  Hugh has served long and loyally, and we will miss his contributions.

Eric Ney, who has just taken on the chair of the Healthy Living Committee, has been appointed to the Board.  According to DRA by-laws committee chairs must be Board members.  Welcome a-Board, Eric.

DRA Community Development Committee
Meet and Greet/Brainstorming

An informal meeting at the Veneto (Hotel Rialto) will be held on Tuesday 16 July from 5:30-6:30 pm to discuss programming and planning of community social events. All DRA members are invited to join in. Please confirm your intention to attend with our Chair at chair@victoriadra.ca.

DRA Communications Committee

The next communications meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 23 July at 5:30 pm at Veneto (Hotel Rialto). Anyone interested in contributing to DRA communications is welcome to join in.  Remember your Newsletter editor is not technically adept and would appreciate all the help there is!

DRA Healthy Living Committee First Meeting a Success

Nine nice people came to the Meet and Greet of the Healthy Living Committee (aka Community Safety Committee.  DRA member Eric Ney has agreed to be first chairman.

It was a good meeting with lots of discussion The following are the issues we felt we could help with.
  • Street Crime
  • Homelessness
  • Graffiti
  • Noise Pollution
  • Addictions and Mental Health
  • Population Density and Zoning
As we continue, items may be added or refined--broken down to smaller items that could be more easily addressed.  But these seem to have caught the big issues that face downtown residents.

Some suggested starting points for the HLC (Healthy Living Committee) are:
  • Chief of Police: Speaking Engagement: Jamie Graham is retiring at the end of Dec 2013, when his 5-year contract expires. The Chief has indicated that he is happy to address the DRA, whether it's a small group (the committee) or the broader membership. He is flexible on the format: pre-submitted questions vs free form Q & A sessions. 
  • Block Watch: Bruce Cuthbert, Director, Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce, was the person I spoke with about the Block Watch program. A Block Watch program may be effective in addressing both actual crime in hot spots downtown and also the perceptual issues around downtown crime and safety. Target areas can be developed using the online resource Crime Reports published by VicPD. Here's the link: https://vicpd.ca/crime-reports if you want to see what's been happening in the hood.
The new committee will determine their own meeting schedules and priorities. Meanwhile, Eric will coordinate with the board through the DRA chair regarding next steps, the ongoing progress of the HLC and whatever board support and resources the committee requires to be successful. Committee members primary point of contact will be Eric, but the DRA chair is always happy to discuss other topics.

Cool Aid Society

The Cool Aid Society has a nice way to help its clients which could also be a great help to Downtown Residents.  They have a pool of workers eager to take on various tasks.  Here are some of the things they can do.
  • Take care of your yard and garden    
  • Organize filing cabinets and paper records
  • Lend a hand during your next move 
  • Help out in the warehouse
  • Handle your front desk while staff catch up
Contact Wendy Stone to start your match. Wendy can be reached by telephone at 250-388-9296 or by email at wstone@CoolAid.org.

DRA Land Use Committee (LUC)
The Land Use Committee recently held a community meeting to consider the proposed development plans for the former Bottle Depot at Fort and Vancouver.  It had been a source of many complaints for a long time, and was closed over a year ago since when it has remained vacant.

We were excited by the plans to convert it to a High Tech incubator, where start up companies will get going.  The building will be cleaned up, modernized inside, and used pretty much as it is.  The developer reported that tenants had already been signed up and  were eager to get started.  Neighbours were very happy with the proposal.

We hope that the City can fast track this project to give a much needed boost to a dead spot in the neighborhood.  The LUC supported this by letter to the City.

       603 Pandora Ave: Plaza Hotel: Eric Barker Architects: This proposal went before Advisory Design Panel Wed May 1st at noon.  The fourth version of the project was shown to the meeting, and we agreed that it incorporated some improvements.  Previously the LUC supported this project and will continue to do so. 

In late June the City Council approved the project, with two dissenting votes.  Councillor Gudgeon, as quoted in the Times Colonist (June 22, 2013), noted that she can not distinguish an ornamental pond from a urinal.  "I also see the half-circle water feature as one big, long urinal.  That I find very concerning."   It is very concerning--that a Councillor has so little discernment. 

Councillor Maddoff also opposed the project, but then she often opposes the good ones.  Still it passed, let's hope that the revisions requested by Council have not dulled and dumbed down the building too much.

        Janion Building Project:  The redevelopment has recently received Committee Approval from the City.  The next step is City Council where it will go for final approval.  The LUC has supported this and wishes it well in the next stages.

Of  Interest to Cyclists

Magical Historical Tour

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Come along on one of the GVCC's most popular bicycle rides led by renowned local historian John Adams and experience a spellbinding look at Victoria’s past on two wheels.
Start: 10am Fountain at Centennial Square. Ends at the same location at about 2:00 p.m.
Distance: The ride is approximately 20 easy kilometres.
Be sure to bring a lunch for the lunch stop.
All Theme Rides are by donation to help defray expenses and to support GVCC’s advocacy efforts (suggested donation $5).

Call for Registrants for Tour de Disaster -
A Cyclist Emergency and Disaster Response Rally

VICTORIA, BC - After an earthquake in Victoria, cyclists may be able to access roads, pathways and bridges that vehicles can't, to help move people, information and materials from one location to another. To demonstrate the important role cyclists can play in a disaster response, the City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition are partnering to present the Inaugural Tour de Disaster -- Cyclist Emergency and Disaster Response Rally on Saturday, July 27, 2013 from 9 a.m. - noon in Victoria.
Part cycling rally, part emergency exercise, the Tour de Disaster will include up to 40 cyclists working their way through a series of tasks that could be required following a community-wide emergency. Tasks will include moving supplies and information, searching for lost individuals, and conducting damage assessments within
a local neighbourhood - all while navigating through a simulated damaged or congested transportation system.
The Tour de Disaster is not a race. It is a rally with a variety of tasks that must be completed within the event time frame. Points will be awarded for assisting other cyclists at obstacles; completing each task assigned in the prescribed time; finishing order; carrying two eggs without breaking them; and the total weight or bulk of cargo carried. The person with the most points will be declared the "winner". The event will include prizes for the first place finisher and a prize draw for participants.
Each participant must be able to safely carry envelopes with instructions, bottled water for personal use, cargo in the form of a case of 24 bottles of water (12 litres of water), two eggs, and is asked to bring their own map. On event day, registrants will arrive on site at 7:45 a.m. for check-in, a bike inspection and briefing. Bicycles must be "human-powered". No electric or fossil fuel assisted devices are permitted.
The Tour de Disaster will start and end at the Topaz Park parking lot located off Glasgow Street and will take participants through a range of Victoria neighbourhoods. No roads will be closed for the event and cyclists will be expected to follow all rules of the road and wear a helmet.
The event will also serve as an emergency exercise for Victoria Emergency Management Agency volunteers, who will set up and staff an Incident Command Post and various checkpoints along the route. Volunteers will communicate by radio to simulate a major disaster when local phone lines are down.
Tour de Disaster participants must be 19 years of age or older. The deadline to pre-register for this free event is Tuesday, July 23, 2013. For more information, visit: www.PrepareVictoria.ca or www.gvcc.bc.ca.

For More Information:

Rob Johns, Emergency Coordinator Edward Pullman, President Victoria Emergency Management Agency Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition Cellular: 250.888.3594 250.415.0552

Next DRA Board Meeting, July 24

Remember, all DRA Board Meetings are open to all members.  The next Board
Meeting will be at 7:00 pm Wednesday 24 July 2013 at the Silver Threads Centre, 1728 Douglas street.
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