Res­i­dents say Ray-cam cen­tre needs a facelift

Group wants to re­build East Hast­ing hub

StarMetro Vancouver - - Metro News - Melanie Green

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.

Melanie Green/metro Van­cou­ver

linda tal­lio has fre­quented Ray-cam Co­op­er­a­tive Cen­tre for over 40 years.

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