Friday, August 27, 2010

Hi fellow gardeners,
Unless it's raining hard, we'll have a work party tomorrow (Saturday) in the Greenway, starting at 3:00. We can weed, rake, prune, tidy up, and talk about next steps for fall.
See you then!

PS - Here's Erin Macdonald (City's Green Streets Coordinator) in the Greenway on August 12th. She and a crew are making a film about Green Streets projects in Vancouver that will be shown at the Green Streets Garden Party.
Ann, Pat, Ruth, and I were able to be there to chat about the Greenway.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Work Party This Afternoon -- Cancelled!

Hi Gardeners,
It's raining! Which is very good. But I just talked to Pat and we thought the Greenway wouldn't be such a hospitable place to hang out this afternoon, so it's cancelled.
Next Saturday Aug 14th at 3:00 should be a go, however, as will the following Saturday Aug 21st at 3:00 too.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Hi David [Yurkovich],
I'm writing on behalf of Britannia Neighbours. We maintain the Greenway at Napier Street, the main entry to Britannia Centre. The Napier Greenway is one of five sites in the city that was recently selected to have a temporary water station installed for the hot/dry summer months. One of the reasons the Greenway was chosen was because Grandview Park, a more obvious choice, will be closed for renovations.
The Drinking Water Station that has been installed in the Greenway is not very attractive. It's kind of jerryrigged with duct tape and is squeezed between a bench and the bike rack. We definitely agree that it's laudable to provide water for people ... and so we are okay with having it in the Napier Greenway temporarily.
But we would like to make an emphatic recommendation that, as a part of the renovation of Grandview Park, you include as part of the building that will house the new restrooms in the northeast corner of the park near the Drive, a nice-looking permanent Drinking Water Station, an outside stainless sink and water fountain where, year-round, people will be able to fill water bottles, get a drink, fill a dog bowl, and wash their hands and faces.
Cheers and thanks and please let us know that this is possible!
Penny Street

Britannia Neighbours Meeting "Minutes"

We had a Britannia Neighbours meeting tonight at Britannia.

Drinking Water Station
We chatted about the Drinking Water Station that's been installed in the Greenway and we agree that it's not very attractive -- that it's kind of jerryrigged with duct tape and is squeezed between a bench and the bike rack -- and we're somewhat put out that no one was informed or consulted about it, but we also agree that it's laudable to provide water for people.
We anticipate that things will change soon, that the use of the Greenway will increase -- maybe dramatically -- with the imminent closure of Grandview Park for renovations. 
So we agreed that what we'll do is monitor how it goes in the next little while.
We also agreed to recommend to the City that when they renovate Grandview and put new restrooms in the northeast corner of the park near the Drive, that as part of that structure they put in a nice-looking permanent outside stainless sink and water fountain where people can fill water bottles, get a drink, fill a dog bowl, and wash hands and face.
Penny agreed to write a letter to David Yurkovich, the project manager of the Grandview Park renovation, with our suggestion and to copy it to all those who have expressed concern about or interest in the temporary water station in the Greenway. (And that we don't need to have a meeting about it.)

Increased Usage and therefore increased maintenance
Because we anticipate increased usage in the Greenway when Grandview is closed for renovations, we agreed that Britannia Neighbours would be willing to pay for increased maintenance in the Greenway by the people from The Kettle who currently do it (the BIA pays for litter pick-up now), especially cleaning up cigarette butts and picking litter up more frequently, hopefully daily. Pat will talk to people at The Kettle, find out the current schedule of litter clean-up, and make arrangements for more. She'll discuss with them how often and when, who will do it, how much it will cost Britannia Neighbours, etc. 

We'll also be watching for people selling wares in the Greenway without permits. Lots of people do it now in Grandview, and if they all move to the much smaller space of the Greenway, it will be in the way of and affect other people using the Greenway . If this happens, it's a policing issue; the non-emergency police number is 604-717-3321 and the Commercial Drive Community Police office is 604-717-2932.

Sandwich Board
We've been talking for some time about getting a lightweight sandwich board to put up when Britannia Neighbours folks are working in the Greenway. Penny agreed to get the sandwich board at SignMaster and Ruth said that she would arrange to have the signs for it laminated (11X17).

Green Streets Movie

Erin Macdonald would like us to participate in a film she's making about Green Streets gardens and gardeners. She and her crew will be coming to our Greenway next Thursday (August 12th) and we're hoping the time slot will be between noon and 2:30. Please let Penny know if you can be there then.

Three key messages about the Greenway we want to communicate in the film:
1. that the Greenway is the site of a lot of wonderful community events, formal and informal -- Artful Sundays, Stone Soup, etc.
2. that we have nature in the Greenway. We have mason bees and we have spent ten years figuring out which plants thrive in dry urban shade.
3. that the Greenway  is the main entrance to Britannia and is the most used of any Greenway in the city. Who uses it? As a thoroughfare, people walking from The Drive to Brit, Library patrons reading, people who work in the neighbourhood (for breaks and lunch), parents and kids, neighbours, the guy who feeds the pigeons, homeless people, shoppers, people meeting to chat, etc.

This is from Erin Macdonald:

"As of this week, Green Streets has hired a very talented filmmaker to start documenting street gardens in Vancouver. I can't tell you how excited I am about this project. It will be an absolutely stunning look into the act of street gardening - beautifying and greening the city; building and strengthening community; creative and personal expression in the public realm. I encourage all of you to be part of this process. There is no reason to be shy. The idea is to reveal the inside perspective on Green Streets and explore the diversity of motivations and experiences within the program. I assure you, your story is valuable and we want to hear it. We will be capturing most of the footage next week. If you are interested, please let me know as soon as possible so I can organize accordingly. There's a lot of ground to cover over a short period of time. The filmmaker will spend a few days gathering interviews and footage. Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant and Grandview Woodlands have the highest density of Green Streets gardens so I will organize filming according to these neighbourhoods. If for whatever reason you're not available when we're in your neighbourhood, don't worry. Just tell me when you are available and we'll make it work."

Proceeds from the Garden Tour
Usually we have only about ten people signing up for the garden tour through Britannia and this year we had 54! Pat will remind Lorrie that we need the proceeds from the tour and will get Lorrie to have a cheque issued to Brit Neighbours ($540!).

We received a thank you note from Lorrie for our $300 contribution to Artful Sundays.

Splendidness of the Greenway

Pat had a vision to transform the Greenway from adequate to splendid and we have started to do that. We had an amazing two days' of help from Park Board staff Martin and Kris helping us build our new berm (north side, middle) and installing pavers around the four sign posts. They did a great job. Next year, perhaps we can get them back to help us with a berm on the south side?

Upcoming Britannia Neighbours TEA PARTY at Ruth's new co-op suite, sometime in early September, TBA.

AND Next Work Party, this coming Saturday, August 7th, 3:00. Come if you can!


Monday, August 02, 2010

Time for a Britannia Neighbours Meeting...

Hi Brit Neighbours,
Pat and I were chatting today (Happy BC Day!) and we thought that, what with all the kerfuffle about the water station and other recent happenings, it might be a good time for a Britannia Neighbours Meeting...
So, arbitrarily and suddenly, it's 7:00 this Thursday (Aug 5) at the Britannia Info Centre (probably the Board Room, but if we can't get it, some other room in the vicinity).
Hope you can make it! No need to RSVP.