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Meetings and community announcements

NPNA Monthly Public Meeting: Monday, January 11, 2021: 6:00-8:00pm. 
Stay tuned for the Zoom link and agenda closer to the meeting date. 
 
In case you missed it: NPNA Monthly Public Meeting: Monday, December 7, 2020: 6:00-8:00pm (ZOOM)

During this meeting, we received a Land Use update from Eleni Gibson (Land Use Planning Advisor), an invitation to a workshop on December 17 with the Existence Project, a sheltering in parks update from Shannon Perkins (Bylaw Manager), and a Q+A period with MLA Grace Lore, and BC Housing’s Murray Langdon. You can watch the recording of the meeting here. (Passcode: !7e62m1#) Meeting notes to follow. Following this public meeting MLA Lore sent this letter to the Minister Responsible for Housing, David Eby.  

Vigil in memory of those who died this year on the streets of Greater Victoria: Monday, December 21 @ 4pm
Wherever you are at 4pm on Monday, December 21st, you are invited to pause, reflect, and remember those we have lost. Light a candle, take a photo, and post it to social media using the hashtag #VigilYYJ to join others in remembrance of their loved one. Virtually stand alongside those of us with a past and current experience of homelessness to honour, remember, and celebrate the lives of those individuals who died unsheltered, marginally sheltered and experiencing poverty in Greater Victoria in 2020; and the many people before them. December 21st is the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, a fitting time to remember those people who have died with no place to call home. 
This event is being organized by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.  (Website, Twitter & Facebook)

City of Victoria's 2021 Budget: Provide your feedback until January 10th
Each year, the City lets the public provide their feedback on the annual budget. As it stands, the proposed budget allocates $255.9 million to operate the City’s more than 200 programs and services and invests $52.9 million in capital infrastructure projects. 
The community is invited to read the 2021 Draft Financial Plan, or for a quick read, view the Budget Summary on the City’s website at engage.victoria.ca and provide feedback.
 
Online Survey
The public is invited to share their priorities for investment in 2021 with Council by completing an online survey by midnight on Sunday, January 10, 2021.
 
Virtual Budget Town Hall
Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 6:30 p.m.
Plan to participate in the City’s Virtual Budget Town Hall, an interactive event that will be webcast live on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. Starting Monday, January 4, the community will be able to provide questions and/or comments on the 2021 Draft Budget for Council on Twitter using #victownhall, in an online form or by telephone, then tune in to the live webcast for the answers.

Annual Youth Transit U-PASS now available online
Youth living in the municipality of Victoria can now apply for a free BC Transit Youth U-PASS valid from February 1 to December 31, 2021.The Youth U-PASS program allows youth 6 to 18 years of age to explore the city by transit and travel for free. Children under 6 already ride for free on the Victoria Regional Transit System. Youth can apply online for their U-PASS and the annual pass card with picture identification will be mailed to their home. The pass is valid for all of the Victoria Regional Transit System. To apply for the youth U-PASS online, visit: upass.victoria.ca 

BC Recovery Benefit: Applications now open 
Beginning December 18, you can apply for the BC Recovery Benefit. This is a one-time, tax-free payment of up to $1,000 for eligible families and single parents and up to $500 for eligible individuals. You have until June 30, 2021 to apply, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/recovery-benefit 
Local Area Plan: Participate in the Virtual Open House

Do you live, spend time in or care about the future of Fernwood, North Park and Hillside-Quadra? During December and January, the City of Victoria will be hosting an online conversation and open house to present ideas and options that guide growth and change in your community over the next 10 to 20 years. Visit engage.victoria.ca or contact us for print materials.
 
The City wants to hear from you! It’s important that the City hears from diverse voices including renters, youth, families with young children, and people of diverse backgrounds, ages and incomes who make our community.
 
Earlier in the year, you told us what’s important…
The City has heard opportunities, concerns and big ideas from you and your neighbours. This spring, 1,000 community members provided feedback about what's important and should guide growth over the next 20 years in and around Quadra, North Park, and Fernwood.
 
…now help us plan a future that includes everyone
This plan is about working with the community to bring more housing choice, better transportation options, and improved public spaces for people of different incomes, household types, ages and lifestyles.

Take the surveys, ask questions, watch videos and contribute your thoughts on North Park's Local Area Plan here. 
Land Use Update
brought to you by: Eleni Gibson, NPNA Land Use Planning Advisor 
You can get in touch with Eleni anytime at landuse@npna.ca
 
Developments to watch
All development applications within the City can be tracked here. You can filter by neighbourhood to see what is happening in North Park.

Wellburns: 1050-1058 Pandora Avenue and 1508-1518 Cook St 
On December 10, 2020 following a public hearing, council approved the development of the Wellburns site. The site will become a six-storey, mixed use development consisting of commercial and residential uses. You can watch the livestream of the public hearing and discussion that followed here (Agenda item F2. begins at 1:04:16) 
Update on Sheltering in Parks 

You can find all of this information and more on the NPNA's website

Weekly Update from Bylaw, via Adam Sheffield, December 14, 2020
(Please see a more detailed update on the NPNA's "sheltering in parks" webpage)
  • Structure count: around 44/45 – an updated count needs to be done this week
  • Structures in Central Park are now largely in compliance with the Bylaws
    • Some need to be moved by a few feet, and there are still several in violation of the bylaws due to size. 
  • In terms of the “low 20s” number that has often been talked about as the capacity for Central Park (based on this staff report, see attachment 3 on agenda item G.1), the discrepancy is likely related to a few errors based on the following assumptions: 
    • That sidewalks are considered “pathways,” which they are not
    • That you cannot shelter under trees, which you can 
    • That everyone would take up a full 10 x 10 foot space, which they do not
  • According to Adam, there are a few vacant spaces within Central Park that are compliant with the bylaws 
    • This means, that Bylaw cannot ask people to not set up structures in Central Park if they are in locations compliant with the bylaws
    • We are not expected to see a reduction in the number of tents in Central Park 
  • We know that this is a surprising and disappointing update. The new bylaws passed in September are Parks bylaws, recommended by the Parks department, and voted in by Council. The Bylaw department is then tasked with enforcing them, but does not have input on them. The Parks Director is Thomas Soulliere (tsoulliere@victoria.ca), and the Assistant Parks Director is Nav Sidhu (nsidhu@victoria.ca). The NPNA has been expressing our concerns to Parks, Bylaw, Engagement, and Council about the discrepancies in the number of structures shown in the staff report, and the number of structures actually permissible in the park under the new bylaws for months.
  • NOTE: The NPNA is preparing a letter to the Province and BC Housing advocating for the immediate use of the Save on Foods Memorial Arena for temporary indoor sheltering.
  • Crowdfunding for the Aryze/City/Coalition “Hey Neighbour” project continues
    • No locations confirmed yet. 
  • The Conestoga Hut project under the Extreme Weather Protocol (EWP) umbrella continues development as well. (Based on this model)
    • Jen Wilde of the EWP is working with municipalities to identify hardscape locations and community partners to support each of the locations. 
    • No locations confirmed yet
Weekly Update from Bill Eisenhauer (Head of Engagement) Wednesday, December 16, 2020 (beisenhauer@victoria.ca
Nav Sidhu, Assistant Director of Parks Department was unavailable for this week’s call. 
  • City staff continue to work with the recipients of the Emergency Social Services grant 
    • Shower trailer is being shipped up from the states, will then require inspection by the City. Locations and route is being worked out now by Salvation Army and City. 
      • Likely won’t be in operation until February 
    • Umbrella Society grant – continuation of existing services 
    • Community Care Tent – City working with applicants to determine a suitable location that is not in the park, but very close to it. 
  • Repairs are progressing well at the Capital City Centre Hotel, and additional indoor spaces should be available in the new year
  • The City is working hard on a reopening plan for Crystal Pool. There is still no re-opening date confirmed.
Share your updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to the North Park community
 
Follow us on social media @wearenorthpark (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) and use the hashtag #WeAreNorthPark. We'll repost updates on your business or community support offer to our followers!
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