Residents say Ray-cam centre needs a facelift
Group wants to rebuild East Hasting hub
Linda Tallio grew up in the ’70s at the Ray-cam Cooperative Centre on the eastern edge of the Downtown Eastside. The space started as a group of portables on Campbell Ave. born out of a grassroots movement of mothers who strapped themselves to train tracks to get a pedestrian overpass built for their children, she told Metro.
Tallio’s mom was one of them. Today Tallio, along with her partner and two children, frequent the centre and live behind it.
“To me it means family,” she said. “We watch each other’s kids and make sure everybody gets fed and that they’re safe.”
“If I move anywhere else the rent is going to skyrocket,” she added. “I need a new Raycam. This one has been here so long and we are running out of room for our different programs.”
Local residents like Tallio, along with three city council- lors from three different parties, are moving a motion at council on Tuesday towards a review of the Ray-cam Renewal Project (created by the Ray-cam Cooperative and community members) to be included in the city’s 2019-2022 capital plan.
The centre offers support to vulnerable populations who are often low-income with inclusive multi-generational programming including youth movement, seniors care, immigrant services, food security, disaster responses, local health and physical recreation.
Unlike other centres, Raycam’s land was given to the community for amenities in perpetuity from the province. Today, it is jointly operated by the cooperative, the city and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, noted Kate Hodgson, coordinator of the centre.
“We’re bursting at the seams,” she said. “There’s a huge opportunity to expand the community centre, add more childcare and community space and put housing on top.”
The current two-storey building at 920 E. Hastings was recently re-zoned for up to 12 storeys of mixed use. Working on the plan since 2016 with a grant from the city, the group secured support from BC Housing for the construction of the project pending city approval of the motion, Hodgson added.
“Making social or affordable housing for families, children and seniors is really key,” she said.
Green Coun. Adriane Carr, who moved the motion, said the building is the heart of the community and in poor condition. Coun. Andrea Reimer of Vision and NPA Coun. Melissa De Genova supported the motion — which is rare, Carr noted.
If the motion is approved, Ray-cam Cooperative Centre will get on the ballot for the city’s Oct. 2018 capital plan and further determine total cost needed to complete the development.
linda tallio has frequented Ray-cam Cooperative Centre for over 40 years.