April 2014 DRA Newsletter

April 2014 Newsletter


In this month's issue:
Nicholas Harrington, acting editor, April 1, 2014
Contact us at info@victoriadra.ca
 
Below is April's Mystery Photo. Here's a hint - it's a sidewalk embellishment in downtown. The first correct identification (exactly where it is located) wins a $10 gift certificate to Chorizo & Co. Please contact the editor at info@victoriadra.ca Good luck! 

Any more tricky pictures out there? Take a mystery photo and send it as a .jpg attachment please (with the location specified) to the editor of the DRA Newsletter to be considered for publication. Please contact the editor at info@victoriadra.ca
 
Image by Erika Luebbe  

Image by Andy Wachtel 
We thought this was an easy one, but there were no entries in March. The photo is of the parkade sign at 617 Broughton.



The Roving Refinery is the DRA's longest running Community Development Committee initiative. It is a recurring series of fun social events. Each Roving Refinery event is an opportunity for all of us to get to know each other better, and partake in the hospitality of the local business hosting the event. Roving Refinery events are free for DRA members, and for non-members who register for DRA membership at the event.
 
Roving Refinery at Catalano Restaurant


Our next Roving Refinery will be held at Catalano Restaurant and Cicchetti Bar, on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014, between 6 pm and 8 pm. Catalano is located at 610 Courtney Street, in the ground floor of the Magnolia Hotel and Spa. Owner Dave Craggs will be our host for this event.

You may be asking yourself, "What's a Cicchetti?" Well, according to Wikipedia, Cicchetti are small snacks or side dishes, typically served in traditional "bàcari" (wine bars) in Venice, Italy. Common cicchetti include tiny sandwiches, plates of olives or other vegetables, halved hard boiled eggs, small servings of a combination of one or more of seafood, meat and vegetable ingredients laid on top of a slice of bread or polenta.

But don't settle for the Wikipedia definition of Cicchetti - join us on April 29 and find out for yourself! Catalano has been amassing some great reviews, so you will not be disappointed. Watch for an email invitation to the Roving Refinery at Catalano in the coming days.
Peacock Billiards logo-image
Nicholas Harrington reporting:
Our most recent Roving Refinery was held on March 20, 2014 at Peacock Billiards, an upscale billiard and games room with adjoining bistro. The billiard and games room boasts 28 billiard tables, three ping-pong tables (one inside and two outside), and two foosball tables. Amongst the billiard tables are two 6'x12' snooker tables and one 5'x10' pocketless carom table. Except for having two examples of a table with hand-carved dolphin legs, all of the tables are different. A beautiful table made of Oak, in Mission style, was one of many that caught my attention.

DRA listening to David Peacock
Above: David Peacock addresses Roving Refinery attendees 
Below: David Peacock, painting by Frank Lewis 
David Peacock by Frank LewisEarly on in the eventing, our host David Peacock kept the six DRA attendees enthralled with vignettes of art history, and the history of his own remarkable collection of art, which is on display throughout the entire establishment. All the while, we munched on delicious finger food, compliments of our gracious host. Most memorable were Pickle Chips, and Pineapple Chicken Pizza. As if that wasn't enough, David surprised us all by announcing that he was providing a $200 table time credit to the DRA for members to draw on (the DRA board will later advise how this credit will be apportioned to members). We collected $30 cash for Our Place Society at this event.
 
Bella Coola Valley, painting by Anne Ehrlich
Bella Coola Valley, painting by Anne Ehrlich   

Later, we toured the adjoining James Joyce Bistro, which is a veritable shrine to the famous Irish novelist and poet. Just have a look at the work that has gone into the bistro. During the winter of 2006-07, artist Robert Amos, with the help of his wife Sarah, created 15 table tops, 5 wall panels and the 14 foot long counter for the bar. The circular tables incorporate text from Finnegans Wake, while the rectangular wall panels and bar top represent extensive quotations from Ulysses. As we were to discover that evening, there is a story behind literally everything in this wholly unique entertainment venue.
 
DRA attendees in the pool room with David
Left to Right: Nicholas, Cathy, Kaela, David, Doug, Don  

Located slightly out of the normal line-of-sight as you stroll past the corner of Douglas and View Streets, if you've never been to Peacock Billiards, you owe it to yourself to drop in. While to date, alcohol has only been permitted in the adjoining James Joyce Bistro, David expects that patrons will soon be able to have a beer with their game!

 

Downtown Highlight # 5

Editor's Note: We are currently soliciting submissions for our Downtown Highlight newsletter series. If you, or someone you know would like to take a few photos and write a short piece on something of interest in our Downtown or Harris Green neighbourhoods, please submit them to info@victoriadra.ca for inclusion in an upcoming edition of this newsletter. Previous Downtown Highlights were published in the November 2013, December 2013, January 2014 and February 2014 editions of this newsletter, and can be viewed here.
 


Photo of Whisk's waresRobert Florida Reporting:

It has been several months since we last highlighted changes in the Victoria Public Market located in the Hudson Building on Douglas. Two new permanent shops have opened. Whisk, a specialty cookware shop which features colourful kitchen goods, is a cheerful addition.

Ravenstone Farm Artisan Meats logo

 


The other new shop, Ravenstone Farms, which features artisan meats, gets all its pork and chicken, and some of its lamb from the family farm located in Qualicum Beach. Grant and Barb Smith run the farm, and their son Logan is a friendly face at the Hudson. All of their products come from ethically raised animals - no antibiotics or hormones are used.
 

A picture of the the Ravenstone team

The Ravenstone team - Image by Logan Smith  

Their sausages and smoked meats are made in house. We find their sausages very interesting, with combinations of meat and flavours that can not be found elsewhere. Ravenstone has already changed our family's diet for the better and we are looking forward to one of their cured hams for Easter.
 

The long awaited green grocery is nearing completion. When it opens, all of the permanent stores will be occupied. In the meantime, local farmers have tables in the aisles. 

On Saturday (29 March), there was a booming lunch trade, and there were nine temporary stalls in the aisles. It was wonderful to see fresh local vegetables and bedding plants again.

If you haven't checked the Market out recently, it is a great place for a good lunch, for quality foodstuffs, and crafts. Shop local when you can.


 

Victoria Matters: Sewage Treatment in the CRD



Sewage Treatment in the Capital Regional District is the third in the Victoria Matters series, the aim of which is to inform and engage Victorians on important issues facing our city. The topic of this public forum event is the Capital Regional District's (CRD) controversial Seaterra Program. Our Community Development Committee has lined up a great panel of speakers who are sure to stir up a healthy, if not heated discussion on this timely topic.

Speakers’ presentations will be followed by audience questions. The event is free and open to the public. Questions for speakers can be submitted in advance to info@victoriadra.ca with the subject line "Sewage Treatment Questions".

Given the huge success of our last Victoria Matters event, and the passionate public sentiment on this topic, this not-to-be-missed event is guaranteed to be filled to capacity!


Jason Johnson portrait image

[From Councilor Chris Coleman's Neighborhood Report #56 - editor] "Please extend a warm welcome to Victoria’s new City Manager Jason Johnson. Over the next few weeks, Jason will be visiting City facilities to introduce himself and get to know staff and the great work that we do. 

Jason comes to us from the District of West Kelowna, where for the past six years he served as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). He was hired as their first CAO and was responsible for establishing the local government from the ground up. 

Prior to this, Jason was the Chief Administrative officer for four years leading the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, and held a brief post as the Manager of Human Resources for the City of Kelowna. From 1995 - 2004, he held progressively senior positions in Planning and Economic Development portfolios with the City of Merritt and the Central Okanagan Regional District. Jason spent his high school years in Victoria and has family on Vancouver Island. …....Welcome!"


Coalition's Speakers Bureau: Our Stories

GVCEH logo




Did you know that the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness has a Speakers Bureau of individuals who have experienced homelessness? Come on down to the Central Library on April 23 and 30th, 2014, from 12:00 to 2:00 pm, to hear this amazing group of speakers share their stories. There will be different speakers on both days. The event is free to the public, with funding provided by the United Way. Register through the link here.

Creatively United for the Planet Arts & Sustainability Festival logo
The third annual Creatively United for the Planet Arts & Sustainability Festival takes place on Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, 2014, at St. Ann's Academy, 835 Humboldt Street. Friday night's events (7-9:30 pm) are ticketed, but Saturday's (noon-8:30 pm) are free.

According to their website, Creatively United for the Planet is, "...dedicated to empowering communities and individuals to take better care of the Earth .... We showcase and celebrate the important work that people are doing to ensure where we live, work, eat, play and study remains beautiful, vibrant, healthy and resilient. We demonstrate what is possible when the arts, sciences, business, academic bodies, governmental and non-governmental organizations alike find common ground, connect and collaborate."

Full festival details can be found here.

The City Talks, is a lecture series sponsored by the University of Victoria’s Committee for Urban Studies. Billed as "A Public Dialogue about the Prospects and Challenges of Cities", the series features "distinguished urbanists drawn from our own university as well as from outside Victoria". Each presentation begins at 7:30pm at the Legacy Art Gallery (630 Yates Street). Admission is free of charge and open to the public.

At the next The City Talks Lecture (Thursday April 10, 2014, 7:30 PM) titled "Religious Diversity and Spatial Justice", University of Montreal sociology professor Valerie Amiraux..."will put a strong emphasis on the concrete aspects (legal, administrative, aesthetic, emotional) that frame the public presence of religions in urban contexts." Read more about this lecture here.

 
Dine Out for Life on April 24

Dining Out For Life logo
Dining Out For Life® is an annual dining fundraising event raising money for AIDS service organizations. Dining Out is produced by AIDS Vancouver Island — ensuring that funds raised local stay local.

Grab your family and friends and make plans to dine out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner Thursday, April 24th, and 25% of food sales will benefit HIV/AIDS food programs at AIDS Vancouver Island. A large number of the participating restaurants are in our downtown neighbourhood. Plan on Dining Out For Life in Downtown Victoria on April 24th!


IMAX Victoria Film Festival

IMAX Victoria Film Festival logo
The 3rd annual IMAX® Victoria Film Festival, a celebration of the original 70mm IMAX® format, is on now, and runs until April 21st. Films play on the hour and include Dolphins, Majestic White Horses, Adrenaline Rush, Adventures in Wild California, Penguins, and D-Day: Normandy 1944. A Film Festival Package is available for $36 (+GST) which allows one to see all six films.


25th Annual Times Colonist 10K Race

TC 10K logo
April 27, 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Times Colonist 10 kilometre run for charity. Race, walk or run, Canada's second largest 10K race typically boasts greater than 10,000 participants.

While team registrations are now closed, you can still register as an individual, or as one of the 1,000+ volunteers necessary to pull this event off.

In addition to the main race, there is also a Half Marathon, a 1.5K Family Fun Run, Competitive and Recreational Walking categories, a Visually Impaired category, and a Wheelchair Division. Complete details can be found on the TC 10K website.


DRA Land Use Committee - 1075 Pandora

In June 2013 the DRA Land Use Committee (LUC) first considered the 13 story, 146 unit, market rent apartment building proposed for 1075 Pandora (corner of Pandora Avenue and Cook Street). Even though they were critical of many aspects of the proposal, they supported it. At that time, the LUC presented City Council with a letter which outlined their concerns.

This March, as the proposal came up for final Council approval, the LUC submitted a supplemental letter to Council, which repeated some of the concerns, but again noted that the project was generally supported by a majority of Land Use Committee members.

Two of the project's main stakeholders attended the March 25th DRA board meeting to address the DRA board. They explained that they were most concerned that the critical tone of the LUC's March letter had the potential to derail the project entirely.
 
They answered questions about our concerns and provided reassurances that many changes had been made in response to our concerns. Robert Florida, DRA Board and LUC member, offered to attend the March 27 council meeting to represent the DRA and LUC on the issue. With the DRA board's unanimous support, Robert attended the meeting and read from a letter which was based on the Board discussion earlier in the week. In short DRA reiterated its tempered support of the project, which will add many much needed high quality rental units downtown.

Robert reports that out of about 30 people who addressed council regarding the proposal, only one was against. More than 25 youthful members of the public enthusiastically supported the new building. Ultimately, City Council voted unanimously to approve the project.

Next DRA Board Meeting

DRA Board meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of every month, and are open to all members. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday April 22, 2014, 5:30 pm, at the Silver Threads Centre, 1728 Douglas Street.

At this meeting, we are expecting a visit from our Federal Member of Parliament, the Honourable Murray Rankin. Mr. Rankin's office reached out to the DRA to let us know that, "[Mr. Rankin is] ...keen to meet with the Downtown Residents’ Association to hear from your members about their priorities for the community, current initiatives, etc."
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