FHCA Meeting minutes, February 17, 2016

FRASER HEIGHTS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MINUTES
February 17, 2016

President’s report
• Web site – www.fhca.ca
• Marcie Kroeker, president
• FHCA is a volunteer organization – we volunteer our time to represent the community dealing with issues that affect our community such as safety, traffic, development
• The FHCA gathers four times a year to discuss issues that affect our community
• FHCA helps shape policy and issues that involve our community
• If you have problems in our community, please send your information to us and we will look into these issues (go to Contact Us on the fhca.ca website). This is our primary site to collect comments from residents about community issues so we know about them and can send them on to the City.
• If you are not currently on the email list, go to our website and sign up (on the right side of website page). You will receive four notifications and four reminders of the upcoming meetings per year. There may also be notifications of open houses or events affecting FH residents.
• Our Community Association mailing address is PO Box 74042, Surrey, V4N 1N9.

Treasurer’s report
• Financial statement – total account balance is $3,438.54
• Expenditures were $140.00

RCMP update on safety and security – District Commander Sergeant Laurie Clarkson was introduced tonight. She can be reached at Laurie.Clarkson@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
• Criminal offenses went from 119 in 2014 to 77 in 2015 (a significant drop) – spread out throughout FH area
• Stats on FH were pulled from Jan 1 to Feb 15 in both 2015 and 2016. There were 55 offenses in 2015 and only 27 in 2016 in the same time frame.
• B&E – garage door openers in vehicles – don’t leave in vehicle (take it with you).
• Vehicle thefts – thieves gained entry through car door or windows. If leaving car outside, you need to use a locking device on steering wheel.
• Theft from vehicle – majority of thefts were to take something visibly left in vehicle such as a purse, change, clothes etc. Don’t leave items in main part of vehicle where they can be seen. Thieves don’t care what your deductible costs to fix car, they take what they want.
• Tynehead Park – regular and bike patrols are being done in the area as there has been vandalism and many thefts from vehicles in the parking lot. Police can’t be there 24/7 so please minimize enticement by keeping interior of car free of items.
• It was reported that, at the off-leash parking area at Tynehead Park, several people had left their cars unlocked while walking their dogs – this makes it easy for thieves to break in.
• Laurie Clarkson praised residents for reporting and calling in suspicious persons/vehicles seen in FH – it has been most helpful!
• Be vigilant – if something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. Don’t make it easy for people to steal. Report even minor incidents to police.
• False alarms/abandoned 911 calls made up a significant number of calls for service, especially pocket dialing (often phones in bags get knocked about and accidently call 911). These false alarms take a significant amount of police resources as police respond to each call, just in case there really is an emergency. Be aware, police may even enter your house to see if someone could be hiding while calling 911 or to look for suspicious activity.
• # of new officers added to Surrey RCMP have been evenly distributed throughout the City
• District 2 – this is a fairly big area with irregular boundaries – see map at http://surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=71&languageId=1&contentId=32629
• Problems with Parks – they are governed by Metro Vancouver but residential problems are dealt with by City bylaws

Heather Paradis (heather.paradis@rcmp-grc.gc.ca) reported on the following:
• SCAM: With tax time coming, these scammers phone, text or email residents. They say they’re from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). They are very aggressive and will call numerous times to say you owe money. They may even say you’ll be arrested and a police officer is on the way to your house if you don’t pay up. These people sometimes say you have a rebate – they want you to click a link so they can get your information (which they say they need in order to deposit the money). They won’t be depositing anything. PLEASE NOTE: Canada Revenue Agency does NOT call to talk about your taxes – they send mail. CRA talks about this scam on their website. CRA WILL NOT leave a voice message nor will they send you a text. Don’t confirm any information with these fraudsters, not name, phone # or anything. They try to keep you on the line a long time. Your call display will even show they are from CRA – but this is caller ID spoofing. Sometimes caller display even shows your own phone number on call display. If you do give them money, it is your loss. Pass info onto family and friends. They’re especially targeting seniors.
• Call the Canadian Antifraud agency if you receive these types of scam calls – toll free # is 1-888-495-8501 or go online www.antifraudcentre-cdentreantifraude.ca to report these calls.
• Donations at door – If you are unsure about the people or organization, ask for materials or their website – you can usually donate online, if you are interested. Sometimes, these people come late at night. Acknowledge you’re home but don’t open door as they may be knocking just to find out if anyone is home. If it feels suspicious, call it in and make a report. Can take up to an hour to get officer there. Get plate numbers or any other information about this.
• Last week, 2 vehicles were stolen from Glenwood drive (details not known, no exact address)
• Weekly, police publish stats on types of vehicles stolen, areas they were stolen from and where they were recovered (100 block, no exact addresses)
• If you don’t report crimes in Fraser Heights, there will be no record of them so police can’t track the criminals/hot spots of activity. Call the Non-Emergency RCMP number 604-599-0502 about any incidents, no matter how small they seem. You can also make reports at http://www.surrey.ca/city-services/667.aspx or by using the following app:

City of Surrey App for phones to make requests to the City
• It is called Surrey Request (the app has a green background with a white check mark in a white outline of a circle)
• You can use it to submit:
a) An emergency – it links to the RCMP emergency and non-emergency numbers
b) A service request for items such as animal control, graffiti, litter, parking, parks, road surfaces, secondary suites, sidewalks/walkways, street lights sewer backup, traffic signals, transportation, tree issues, unsightly property, waste collection, water quality, water leaks and other issues.
c) View recent requests
• There is a “pin” that you can insert into a map that will show the location of the problem
• You can attach pictures to show the problem
• City staff are quite prompt at getting back to you about your concerns – even if they can’t deal with it right away, they will let you know that (e.g., downed trees in the last windstorm)

Mike Starchuk, City of Surrey Councillor shared the following:
• Stats on crime – reported crimes will get more police patrolling in areas where criminal activity is. Please report any type of criminal activity.
• The City of Surrey is using COSMOS, a navigation tool – http://www.surrey.ca/city-services/665.aspx . It is supported by Firefox, Safari or IE but not by Chrome. It can be used to look up information pertaining to zoning, land use, underground utilities, schools, parks, recreation centres and more. There are videos to show how to use this site.
• Report any illegal dumping – the City bylaws department will take an active role in fining those responsible, if reported. Reports can be made through the Surrey Request app or by phoning bylaws at the City
• Please note: the City has a large item pick up service (e.g., fridges, sofas, large appliances, mattresses, washers, dryers, stoves, barbeques etc.). Each residence is entitled to having 4 large items picked up per calendar year. If you have a registered secondary suite, they will pick up 6 large items. Please call 604-590-7289 (Option 3) to book a date for pick up at your curbside.
• LED street lighting change-over – The City has 28,000 streetlights that will gradually be changed over to the new LED lighting. These lights were piloted in the Newton area. Once the City is changed over, it will save $700,000 a year in electricity and about $300,000 in maintenance (about $1 million in savings per year). These bulbs provide better lighting at night – they make pedestrians and vehicles more visible. Surrey will be one of the first large cities in the country to change all the lights over to LED.
• Bio Fuel Facility in Port Kells – Surrey will be the only city in N America with this system. The large orange stack will be opening 2017. Waste from the green bins will go to that site. Fermenting process will take 12 weeks to produce methane and compost. It should produce enough natural gas to fuel the city vehicles. There is a giant stack, scrubber and odour remover so neighbouring areas will not “smell” the composting. This system is found in Europe and works well there.
• Compost from this facility will be available for community gardens and various other sites. A private company has partnered with the City and they will market/sell the compost starting at the end of 2017.
• Agricultural community – the City is trying to become more sustainable. There are about 23,000 acres of land in the reserve. A new program with a Biodome feature will be coming up in 2nd part of this year – a program to get young folks interested in farming. At this point in time, 6 restaurants have signed up for Sept to have 80% of their menu come from the City (on Sundays). One day, the City would like to see 100% of the food served in these restaurants produced in the City
• Pipeline – since the change in government, plans are up in the air. What they had planned on doing was not acceptable to the City. Surrey has intervenor status which allows the City to participate in the process of the Trans Mountain pipeline application.
• January 2015 – The Blue Dot program was introduced as the right to live in a healthy environment – to breathe fresh air, drink clean water and eat safe food. The goal is to get every city in Canada to sign on. Surrey has signed on as a participant.
• Glass is now down to about 4% going into the landfill in Metro Vancouver – remember to take your glass bottles/jars to recycling depots.
• RF 12 – it is harder to retain trees on these smaller lots as the houses take up most of the lot. These small lots are best suited to be near transit lines/Skytrain where the residents would not need vehicles to get places.

Development:

• 108 Ave and 155 Street Variance (setback variance) – this development is slated for a narrow strip of land beside the new multiuse pathway that is under construction (between 154 and 155 along north side of 108 Ave). The owner has been paying taxes on this land for 20 years. It was in reserve (no build) as the Province was unsure if they were going to build an overpass over the #1 Hwy at that point. In 2014, the owner took the initiative to get his property back so he could develop it. He was trying to get 3 residences on property – long homes turned sideways – so houses would be orientated widthwise to the street. The depth of the property is 40 feet so the homes were to be 30 feet deep and 90 feet long (along 108 Ave). The owner was asking to purchase 10 feet of land from the City, the length of the entire property, to meet the RF standard (which would bring this strip of land right up to multiuse pathway). Cuts would have to be made into the new multiuse pathway to put in driveways.
• This went to council and concerned residents/FH directors spoke against it. These houses did not fit with any houses in the area due to their shape and configuration on the property and another concern was lack of parking (parking could only be on the south side of 108th) so it was brought back to the staff. Some of the FH directors met with a City Planner and the owner to discuss the property.
• Residents now need to provide specific feedback as to what they would like to see on that property. Be clear and concise to get message across (e.g., green space, community garden etc.) – if you have some design ideas, include them.
• The owner is willing to cooperate with suggestions. His father developed the whole subdivision around this land. He would sell the City his property, if they are interested in buying it.
• It is currently not in the budget for the City to buy the land and the City is not seeking the property. Residents could write letters to city about this but take note – it takes time due to the way the budget works and the process to do this. Approach the City to make that a priority to turn this piece of land into parkland (or any other ideas residents may have).
• Public doesn’t normally get a hearing for variance requests – it is stamped and done. Residents started a flood of letters (many copied to FH Association) about the variance on 108 so this proposal was deferred to refer it back to staff. This hardly ever happens at variance and so, residents got a chance to talk to this. There is definitely strength in numbers!
• Note: the City sends notice of new developments to residences within 100 metres of a site to be developed. In some areas, that may mean few or no people get notification. Be vigilant and watch for green signs to go up then let the FH Association and neighbours know about these signs. The sooner we are all aware of these sites, the sooner we can start dealing with them before they are passed. Send your input and get your neighbours to write City Hall then show up as a cohesive group at council meetings to make your opinions known.
• There is power in residents getting together to stop plans that do not fit with housing around the new developments. A green sign indicated that a development at 110 Ave and 156 St was to have RF 12 housing. Neighbours got together and proposal was withdrawn and is now slated to have RF housing as per the houses around it.
• One resident mentioned having received a letter for property off Abbey Drive which backs onto 176 St (173 turns into Abbey drive and this is the new 176, a quiet cul de sac). The proposal was to clear the bush and put in RF 12 housing (3500 sq ft lots). The concern was that, once one property is converted to RF 12, other such developments will follow.
• Parkview Place Development update. Some residents got together and knocked on doors of all houses in the area that would be affected by this development as only a few people had been informed about the plans. They had a single message “RF not RF 12”. The open house was across the freeway at the Holiday Inn Express where there was limited parking but large numbers of residents showed up! 195 feedback forms were filled out and these went to City planner then to developer. General consensus from feedback was that no one wanted RF 12 lots. Developer is going back to revamp development. Council did hear what residents and FH directors said at council meeting so the City did refer it back to staff. There will be an update on this at the next meeting.
• Trees – residents want the trees along the freeway to be left as they provide a noise barrier and help filter exhaust fumes. The City is on a 20 year plan to try to catch up planting trees for all those removed. City’s vision goes to 2058 – they want to exceed the canopy by then.
• On COSMOS, you can see every tree that was planted – they are all catalogued – type etc. The “tree people” are proud of having these stats available.
• Ruby Hill – 100 foot trees were all removed and now houses on very narrow RF 12 lots stand on the entrance to freeway/FH.
• A development sign north of Ruby Hill, also slated to be RF 12 housing, means all those tall trees in that area will also be coming down. Residents were upset due to all the trees that were removed and are slated to be removed.
• The City has said that more affordable housing is needed but many residents said these RF 12 houses in Ruby Hill are selling for more than many of the other residences in FH. They are not more affordable, they are on tiny lots and all of them have secondary suites.
• East Fraser Heights Land use concept plan– Abbey Ridge local area plan is the new name for the concept plan that the City has been working on. Council approved stage one on Dec 14, 2015. Stage 2 is now in progress and the City is looking to bring this to council this summer to approve the plan and with reference to future developments in the area.
• The process for development is – developers bring plans of what they want to build to the City. City reviews plans. We often don’t find out about these plans until quite late in the process, often not until fairly close to when they come to council. Residents need to read the local papers to find out when public hearings are taking place about the various developments. It was noted that the first 2 stages of Parkview Place were passed before residents even got wind of it.
• Residents and FHCA want to get development information earlier. Send feedback to City to request getting these plans sooner in the process.

Surrey Bend Park – the Grand Opening is on April 16th at 3 p.m. Although the parking lot is not yet open, residents who have visited the park said the park was fabulous!

Members Concerns/Announcements:
• A resident mentioned it would be helpful to have any petitions dealing with community issues be located at a central spot such as Nesters. The problem was that all directors are volunteers with their own lives/families/jobs and could not possibly take on this responsibility.
• New residents – several realtors put information about Fraser Heights in their packages to new residents. It would be helpful if all new residents got information about the community and Community Association. Maybe create a “Welcome to Fraser Heights” packet?
• Another resident suggested FHCA mail out an annual letter to the community to let people know of the Association. Often, residents are not aware of the FHCA until they are faced with issues involving their part of the community.
• A request was made to allow the FHCA website to be more interactive.
• Note – there is a link on the right side of the website where residents can email directors to share information or bring up concerns.
• FHCA does not want to send out a lot of emails as people then tend to ignore them. We limit emails to pertinent information that is time sensitive so people will read them.

The last scheduled meeting for this school year is Wednesday, May 4, 2016