January 2014 DRA Newsletter

January 2014 Newsletter

Note from the editor : 
AGM Coming Up: 23 January 2014

The Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday, 23 January at 5:30 pm at the Downtown Community Centre at 755 Pandora.  There are positions open on the Board, and Wendy Bowkett, our President, would like to hear from anyone who would like to be a board member.  Contact her at:  chair@victoriadra.ca.

The AGM will start with a guest speaker--we are hoping for the new Chief of Police, but he is not yet confirmed.  After a question and answer session with the speaker, we will move into a short business meeting with elections for the board.  Finally, there will be light refreshments and a chance to mingle.  Typically our meetings are informal and last about an hour.

This issue features our third Downtown Highlight, by Carmen Scott.  It is a good news article about recent developments in the upper Fort St section of Harris Green.  Thanks to Carmen for her submission.

Robert Florida, editor pro tem, 2 January 2014

Contact us at info@victoriadra.ca
January 2014 Mystery Photograph
Was last month's photo too obscure?  This might be easier.

Image by Andy Wachtel
Here is the January 2014 Mystery Photo: first correct identification (what is it and where is it?) wins a $10 gift certificate at Habit Coffee.   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

December Mystery Photograph Unveiled
This was a stumper.  No correct answers this month.

Image by Miles Lowry

This is the signature of Noah Becker, a Victoria artist who has gone on to make a career in New York City.  The graffito is found in the sidewalk at 621 Chatham Street, former site of Art World (now relocated to Yates.)  Noah Becker is multitalented: a jazz saxophonist, artist, art writer, and publisher of the on line art journal Whitehot Magazine of Contempory Art whitehotmagazine.com/

The Roving Refinery is an on going series of DRA social events created to encourage socialization and interaction between Downtown-Harris Green residents and merchants from locally owned businesses  These events are about getting to know your neighbourhood.

Free to DRA members. Free to non-members who register for DRA membership at the event. 

The January Roving Refinery event will be at The Guild on Tuesday, 21st January, at 6 pm.

1250 Wharf Street, Victoria BC
Phone: 250 385 3474
Website:  theguildfreehouse.com

Sunday - Thursday : 11:00 am - 11:00pm  
Friday - Saturday : 11:00 am - midnight

The Guild is a relatively new pub restaurant repurposing one of the oldest buildings in Victoria.  They have an amazing selection of draft beers plus all the usual bar drinks.  Their menu is slanted towards British pub grub, but with an emphasis on craftsmanlike preparation of fine local ingredients. 

They will be providing a selection of dishes for our enjoyment and, of course, the bar (cash bar) will be open.  We will get to meet one of the new owners who will share the inspiration for the new venture.

Check twitter, facebook and our website for registration details.  We are asking for a donation of warm socks or cash for to be donated to Our Place.  There will be a draw for $25 Guild gift certificate(s).

See you there!  When you arrive, watch for signage to direct you to our section in the upstairs function space.  This should be a fun one.

Downtown Highlight #3
The DRA Communications Committee agreed to start a new feature in the Newsletter, short notes on very local happenings contributed by residents. 

We earnestly solicit similar items from you about your corner of downtown.  What do you really find of interest in your daily life downtown?  If you have a pet beef or favorite thing about downtown living, let us know.

Here's your chance to share your thoughts about urban living in Victoria.  Discuss your idea with the editor, or send an article in to info@dra.ca.

Victoria's Harris Green Renaissance on Fort

By Carmen Scott

Victoria's Harris Green neighbourhood on Fort is on the cusp of experiencing a Renaissance, thanks to new shops, new developments, and new businesses such as Diversified Health Clinic, which has moved into the historic Mosaic Building at 1063 Fort Street.
Long tagged as "Antique Row", this part of Victoria has lagged a little behind the urban renewal that has transformed many areas of Victoria over the past decade. However, like the Lower Johnson Street area which has branded itself as the "LoJo" fashion, the Harris Green stretch of Fort Street has become Victoria's health and fitness mecca. 
Since the turn of the century Upper Fort Street has been a primary shopping/service destination for residents heading home from downtown. It has been called the "Original Uptown".
Thanks to a number of new urban condo developments, health conscious bakeries, restaurants, yoga and fitness studios in the area, plus the Y a couple of blocks away, the crowds are coming back. The neighbourhood is now full of people, many of them young and sporting a yoga mat. Harris Green also offers numerous medical, mental health and alternative practitioners, a compounding pharmacy, and most recently the Diversified Health Clinic--all contributing to more vibrancy in the area. The Diversified Health Clinic is located at 1063 Fort Street.
Diversified Health has chosen a gorgeous location to expand their business. The Mosaic Building is one of Victoria's little-known architectural gems. The building started life in 1963 as the Royal Trust Building, and was designed by famed architect John Di Castri  http://www.maltwood.uvic.ca/Architecture/ma/design_story/architects/dicastri.htm  lMuralist Andres Salgo created the unique murals still on display today. These mosaic tile murals depict the historic and modern industries of British Columbia. In 1999, the building was converted to 85 upscale LIVE/WORK studio units.
The Mosaic

The Mosaic, Street Level
A new development planned for the block between Fort and Meares, on the east side of Cook, plus the busy cluster of business centered around the Bubby Rose bakery on the other side of the street are spear-heading this cultural movement. The Harris Green neighbourhood looks like it’s in for a bright, innovative future. 

January DRA Events

All members and potential members are welcome to attend.
Sat 4 Jan 2:00 pm @ QV - Community Development Committee
Wed 15 Jan 5:30 pm @ Silver Threads - Board Meeting
Thurs 16 Jan 5:30 pm @ Veneto - Communications Committee
Tues 21 Jan 6:00 pm @ The Guild - Roving Refinery (event registration will be open early Jan - check FB, TW or website)
Wed 22 Jan 7:00 pm @ QV - Healthy Living Committee
Thurs 23 Jan 5:30 pm @ 755 Pandora - Annual General Meeting
Thurs 30 Jan 7:00 pm @ Victoria Event Centre - Victoria Matters (Public Forum)

Community Development Committee
Victoria Matters

Second DRA Public Forum

Affordable Housing: Challenges and Opportunities

Thursday 30 January at 7:00 pm

At the Victoria Event Centre

1415 Broad Street

The DRA's Coommunity Development Committee will host the second Victoria Matters public forum 7:00pm, Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Victoria Event Centre. The theme of the forum is Affordable Housing: Challenges and Opportunities.

Three topic areas will be addressed: 1) How did we get here? A brief history of housing policy in Canada and BC; 2) Where are we now? Affordable housing and homelessness in Greater Victoria; and 3) Moving forward: best practices in affordable housing solutions.

Invite your friends and stay tuned on Facebook,  follow us on Twitter or check our website at  Victoriadra.ca.  See you there.

Home Is A Beautiful Word

collected and edited by Joel Bernbaum

On the same theme, the next offering of the Belfry Theatre in Fernwood is a play on homelessness based on verbatim transcripts of interviews with Victoria citizens.  It promises to be a powerful treatment of the issues of affordable housing in our city.  Get your tickets now.

This very special project was commissioned by the Belfry Theatre, and playwright/journalist Joel Bernbaum spent over a year interviewing hundreds of people in Victoria about homelessness. Conversations in grade four classrooms, senior citizens homes, businesses, homeless shelters and on doorsteps have been transcribed and edited into a fascinating play: a portrait of homelessness in our community, in the words of our community. Moving, enlightening, funny and surprising.

World Premiier      January 7 – 19, 2014
Land Use Committee News

Ian Sutherland, chair of DRA LUC, notes that December was a quiet for new developments.  Everyone was too busy with holiday cheer, perhaps.

However there will be a CALUC meeting for the property at 1950 Blanshard (across from the Arena) on January 20th at the Burnside Gorge Community Association.  This property is just over our border with the Burnside Gorge Residents Association and we have been invited as a courtesy.

Council recently passed the application from the Reef Restaurant to add a Dance Floor to their Liquor Licence.  What is a Caribbean bar without dancing?  We had sent a letter of support.

Downtown Zoning Open House - January 15th
Tell The City What You Think!
The City of Victoria is proposing a new Zoning Regulation Bylaw for Downtown, focused on the Central Business District. You are invited to attend an open house to learn more about the proposed changes and to provide your feedback.
Why is the Zoning Regulation Bylaw Being Updated?

The Downtown Core Area Plan contains new policies to guide growth and development over the next 30 years. The new zoning regulations will implement the policies and vision for Downtown.

Proposed changes include new regulations for density and building height allowances, permitting more uses to accommodate a range of commercial, institutional, and residential space, and introducing regulations for building form that will encourage pedestrian activity and create special places.
Join in to learn more about the proposed changes.

When: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Where: City Hall Antechamber, 1 Centennial Square
For more information: www.victoria.c
Save the Date
Neighbourhood Renewal Corporations
– A Way to Community Resilience?

Monday, January 27th, evening event.
Time and Location to be determined.
Dear friends and supporters of the Building Resilient Neighbourhoods project,
We’re very excited to be joined in the Capital Region by Molly McCracken, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba and Past Executive Director of the West Broadway Neighbourhood Renewal Organization (Winnipeg). 

Molly will be joining us to share reflections and lessons from her experience as the past director of an inner city neighbourhood development organization with a strong focus on housing, economic development, sustainability and food security initiatives (http://www.westbroadway.mb.ca/about) and her reflections on the role of community-based organizations and governments in fostering neighbourhood resilience.

The West Broadway Neighbourhood Renewal Organization is one of several similar organizations supported through the provincial Neighbourhoods Alive! Program in Manitoba that provides funding and resources to citizen led and government development organizations.

This session will be especially relevant for citizen leaders of neighbourhood development efforts, board members of community and neighbourhood associations and staff members from community centres.

More details to follow in the new year, for now please save the date and enjoy a safe and happy holiday.

Thank you,

The Building Resilient Neighbourhood Team

“The Building Resilient Neighbourhoods Project is a partnership between the Community Social Planning Council and Transition Victoria. The project has been generously supported by the Victoria Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, City of Victoria, and the District of Saanich and has been developed with the collaboration of the Centre for Community Renewal, BC Healthy Communities, and the Fraser Basin Council’s  Smart Planning for Communities program.”

DRA AGM Coming Up: 23 January 2014

The Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday, 23 January 2014 at 5:30 pm at the Downtown Community Centre at 755 Pandora.  Watch our media for details.

Next DRA Board Meeting
Remember, all DRA Board Meetings are open to all members.  The next Meeting will be at 5:30 pm Wednesday 15 January 2014 at the Silver Threads Centre, 1728 Douglas street.

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