South False Creek Seawall Improvements – Stamps Landing Neighbourhood Chats
During the South False Creek Community Workshops, we heard several reoccurring themes, like the neighbourhood’s ageing population needs more seniors housing, or that the community feels isolated from our Metro Core. A common transportation concern was that the seawall feels like a bicycle highway; if that is true, then Stamps Landing is the equivalent of a four way stop on the Trans-Canada Highway.
As this section of the seawall was the first to be constructed almost 43 years ago, it was obviously in need of an update. Though it was welcomed after it was finished, the process took around two years to complete and frustrated many residents.
However, this is one of the most complex spots in the entire network, as it services pedestrians, cyclists, and local residents, as well as the needs of businesses, like The Wicklow Pub, Branas Grill, and Mahoney’s and Sons. In short, parking stalls, unofficial loading bays, and major transportation routes were all entangled with no hint of separation.
-Source Google Earth
Finally, it seems city engineers have come up with a very safe, workable solution, and held “neighbourhood chats” at the nearby Convivial Café and Bakery in Leg-in-Boot Square to hear the community’s thoughts. Unfortunately, a lot of that time was taken up by complaints about larger issues. Some felt that more healthcare workers would be needed to look after the ageing population so there should more parking for them, yet others complained about the noise visitors bring to the neighbourhood.
Anger was also directed at local businesses, as some neighbours complained garbage pick-up at 8 am was too noisy, and so were the employees when they got off work at night. Acknowledging these concerns, city staff revealed that, although rain protection over the future bike racks is being considered, there was no plan to add benches or any type of space which could encourage people to gather. That said, a couple voices expressed these things were simply a part of urban living.
Still, almost everyone believed this reconfigured space would be much safer, and would still maintain the current uses. Some did have concerns about the location of the future Mobi Station, as they worried it could bring a criminal element, yet they seemed satisfied when staff proposed to move it closer to the commercial spaces.
Despite the small group, I did not think my voice was well heard. Simply put, the older voices were more than happy to talk over the younger ones and shut them out. The best example of this was one person who had no qualms about being a completely disruptive presence. I learned that they had actually interrupted a few of these eight identical presentations, cutting off other community members, and really highjacking the conversation.
Their chief complaint was about cyclists, and how they should be made to dismount and walk their bikes through this and other sections of the seawall. When a staff member tried to explain that community consolation was about making sure everyone had a chance to be heard, their response was sickening.
Besmirching the good name of our local press, the individual claimed to be a journalist for the Vancouver Sun, and insisted on being heard over the other voices. When a city staffer pushed back, asking for their press credentials, the individual refused, and suggested that continued push back would lead to negative coverage in the publication. Given that behavior, it is very difficult to believe they actually work for such a respected organization.
Suffice to say, I do not feel the meeting was very productive, as a couple voices were heard, but definitely not all of them. So, it is even more important for you to review the changes in the image we provided from the event, and make your feelings known by contacting email@example.com.