Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hi Britannia Neighbours,
Just to let you know about the next two work parties. 
This Sunday, August 1st, we're starting at 4:00, until 5:00 or 5:30.
And, because Artful Sundays starts next week (August 8th), we thought we'd move the work parties to Saturdays for a while, so next week's is Saturday, August 7th, at 3:00.
Please do come if you can. No need to RSVP.
And do also check out Artful Sundays -- Aug 8-Sept 5 (five Sundays from 12:00-5:00 pm)!
Cheers and thanks,

Monday, July 26, 2010

City of Vancouver Drinking Water Station in the Greenway!!!

Hi Erin,

I'm pretty sure it wasn't your decision to place the new City of Vancouver Drinking Water Station, which was installed a few days ago, in the Napier Square Greenway. In fact, I'm sure if you had anything to do with it that you would have let us know!

We didn't know who to write to about it, so I'm writing you. Perhaps you could forward to the appropriate person or department at City Hall?

We have mixed feelings about the chosen location of the water station.

As you know so well, the Napier Square Greenway is a physically small and vulnerable patch of green along Commercial Drive. It is also the main entrance to Britannia Community Centre, to the Vancouver Public Library, to Britannia Elementary School, and to the various programs and services Britannia Centre offers.

There was an article in the Courier this past weekend that said there were only five of these drinking water stations installed across the City and that their placement was selected as areas where "homeless people congregate"...

Homeless people do congregate along Commercial Drive, largely in Grandview Park but also in other places, sometimes including the Napier Square Greenway. There have been parents in the neighbourhood who have said they don't want to send their kids to Britannia Elementary precisely because of the seedy gauntlet they sometimes need to pass through in the Greenway to get from The Drive to Brit Centre. As you know, Britannia Neighbours has been endeavouring to make the Napier Greenway less hospitable to the various drug dealers who visit there, while at the same time making it more inviting to the lunch eaters, readers, chatters, resters, and the young parents who take their children through the Greenway to Family Place or to Britannia Elementary or to the various programs at Britannia Centre and at the Britannia Library.

Anyway, we wanted to register our disappointment that the water station was installed without consultation with (or indeed any prior notification to) Britannia Centre or the Schools or Library or Britannia Neighbours (the folks who look after the Greenway) ....

The installation of this water station may well alter the social dynamics in the neighbourhood around The Drive. Britannia Neighbours and the Britannia Board and the Library and the Schools might have agreed that the water station was a good idea, even in its current location, but we definitely would have appreciated input/discussion.

We have a few questions: Is the water station a permanent installation? Will it still be in place when Grandview Park is closed for renovations? (Note that before the water station was installed we were already actively concerned that the folks who hang out all day in Grandview Park would be looking for a new and appealing place to hang out during the park restoration. This water station certainly adds to our anxiety about that.)

There are elements in the Britannia neighbourhood who would like to see the Napier Greenway's hospitality eliminated, to have the benches removed altogether, to make it less inviting for people to linger there ... Britannia Neighbours has been struggling, trying to find ways of dealing with the Greenway's problems that don't punish the entire community for the undesirable actions of just a few people.

The new water station is kind of ugly (awfully bright blue, put together with duct tape, and squished between the bench facing the Drive and the bike rack) but it does seem like a laudable idea to provide drinking water for everyone.

It's hard to see the drinking fountain in the photo below because there's a little black dog in a bike basket right behind it. But, as you can see, a homeless person took up residence on the bench right beside water station on the day it was installed.

Please let us know who we should talk to about this and/or forward this message to them and copy to us.

Cheers and thanks,
Penny Street
for Britannia Neighbours

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Work Party Today! (July 25th)

Hi. Pat and I were just chatting and we decided that we would be down at the Greenway today -- Sunday, July 25th, from about 3:00-4:30, to do a bit of tidying, weeding, and planting (of a "nine bark" Pat's been hanging onto for a while). Please join us if you can.
The garden is looking pretty spiffy but we want to keep up the habit of working on it at least once a week.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What a surprise to see the new City of Vancouver "Drinking Water Station" in the Greenway!!!  I don't think any of us knew this was coming ... Is it permanent??? It's kind of ugly, but how good it is to provide drinking water for everyone -- a place to fill water bottles or dog bowls (two taps!) and a little drinking fountain. It's hard to see the drinking fountain in this particular photo because there's a little black dog in a bike basket right behind it.
But, Fascinating!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hi Britannia Neighbours,
This Sunday is the Folk Fest (and Pat's going) so we decided not to have a work party in the Greenway. If you have a chance, however, check out all the terrific plants we've installed in the Greenway.
Erin Macdonald has been a huge help! She arranged for the Park Board to send a load of City compost and a crew of two -- Kris and Martin -- who worked with us for two whole days, helping us install a new small berm on the north side, and putting in broken-sidewalk pavers around the four sign posts and to remove a few "weed" elms that were getting out of hand. Erin also arranged for us to get about 20 small plants (lovely -- mostly pale greens and purply colours that provide good colour contrast with the predominantly darker greens we already had). Kris dropped them off at my house and Pat, her cousin Trish, and I spontaneously put them in yesterday.
Katherine has been doing a splendid job of watering through this hot-and-dry stretch, and the whole space is looking pretty good!
I think our next work party will be on July 25th, Sunday, 3:00. But I'll confirm with Pat that that'll work for her.
We were thinking we would do work parties every weekend all summer. The Greenway really benefits from regular maintenance ... And, on weekends when "Artful Sundays" takes over the Greenway on Sundays (five Sundays from 12:00-5:00 pm, Aug 8-Sept 5), we'll do the work parties on Saturdays at 3:00 (rather than Sundays at 3:00).
I'll send another message next week confirming our next work party.

Here's our new mini-berm and an example of the new pavers around one of the four sign posts!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sunday work party too, from 3:00-4:30!!

Hello again!
I'm so sorry, but I forgot to mention that we will also be having a work party on Sunday, July 11th, from 3:00 on, to finish up whatever we get started tomorrow and don't have the energy to complete. If it gets too hot tomorrow, we will all start to wilt and we'll want to save some tasks for Sunday. So come then if you can, especially if you can't make it on Friday!!
Cheers and thanks,

Work parties -- July 9th AND July 11th

Hi fellow gardeners!

Tomorrow morning the Park Board is coming to the Napier Greenway to help us build a berm, to lay some pavers around the various sign posts, and to take out a few weed trees (elms) that are getting too large. We will meet the Park Board crew at the Greenway at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow!
If you can make it to help out, that would be fabulous. Janet and Pat and I will be there for sure, but we're all slightly feeble in one way or the other and we're really hoping that a few others will be able to make it...

It will be good to start working as early as 8:00, while it's still cool.

We have some splendid new plants -- about eight new large swordferns, an azalea, and some smaller plants that Erin Macdonald (the Green Streets Coordinator) has gotten for us, and we have some nice topsoil to mix with the City compost that was delivered to the Greenway on Tuesday.

Please do come if you can! No need to RSVP!