Vancouver’s most unsightly and problem-plagued area, Hastings/Main has developed its own “suburb” … Granville/Nelson/Smythe … getting worse than ever …. and no one seems to be paying attention.
In fact, Vancouver Council is about to add more fuel to hasten the destruction.
A couple of Sundays ago, I had an eye-opening experience, when I had to head down to a store located on Granville Street, between Nelson and Smythe.
The area was absolutely filthy … and, frankly, a bit scary: no other way to put it.
And that was at Noon!
Litter all over the sidewalks … papers, bottles, trash … and it looked like it had been growing there for some time; homeless people sitting against lamp posts or in doorways of closed premises, with their belongings piled around them and beckoning paper cups in front of them…. some openly begging for money… and, as if on cue, a screaming fire vehicle and ambulance rushed by, stopping just up the block to assist someone in distress … apparently such a common sight now, no one (except me) stopped or batted an eye.
THIS is the vision that now greets tourists strolling the area ….. NOT Hastings/Main …. but Vancouver’s primary north/south shopping avenue, Granville street, right in the center of the city’s downtown core, daytime on a Sunday.
I say tourists because I saw NO ONE I could identify as Vancouver residents there to window-shop: only lots of people looking like they’ve fallen on hard times … and me: hurrying to get to the place I needed to be … and then rush back to my car to get out of there .
Granville Street on a Sunday … even in the daytime …is NO PLACE to linger or enjoy!
I can only imagine what it is like after dark.
You may not notice it so much on weekdays … when thousands of people working in and servicing the office buildings and businesses downtown are around, grabbing lunch etc.
Let’s face it: it has been a very long time since Granville Street has been a major draw for local residents (except bar patrons in the evenings). But I can’t recall ever seeing it as bad as it is now …. during the day … on the weekend.
And I expect it is going to get worse.
The Vision-dominated Vancouver Council has voted to build 120 “micro suites” in the parkade behind the Bosman Hotel at 1060 Howe Street, the block west of Granville.
Reports say the 250-sq. ft units will be “temporary” housing for those on income assistance and limited fixed incomes. In an area clearly already in social and economic distress.
This will be in addition to the SEVERAL existing facilities now established in the area to serve the homeless, disadvantaged , troubled and dysfunctional … all within blocks of the city’s MAIN downtown core thoroughfare.
Sure looks to me like City Hall is deliberately giving up and encouraging the deterioration of the Granville Street downtown area to take pressure off the downtown eastside … which has gone even further downhill under Vision.
It is disgraceful that a City Council that has catered so generously to the elites of Point Grey Road; pampered the denizens of Coal Harbour and Yaletown; turned the West End into an almost inaccessible enclave with accompanying higher and higher rents; and, allowed billionaire developers to destroy entire city blocks of homes and assemble huge areas for million dollar homes/townhouses/condos …. destroying the city’s working-family housing stock and allowing the downtown’s core avenue to rot, when other cities are revitalizing theirs and encouraging families to move back.
There are no families I know who would now want to stroll or let their kids wander along Granville Street downtown … any more than they would want to do so near Hastings/Main.
Vancouver council has literally let Granville downtown go under.
And they got away with it because Vancouver’s media themselves desert the downtown on weekends.
As I gaped at the disgrace that is now Granville Street, I couldn’t help but wonder when was the last time that any of Vancouver’s media have EVER been there on a weekend … seen what has happened …. and exposed the disgrace?
Have they seen it, but ignored it? Or, even worse, not even recognized the potential story? Because it wasn’t presented to them in a press release or a photo-op?
Except for occasional night-life/taxi issues, the media have relegate weekend “news” to stories presented on a platter … accidents, fires, crime, cruise ship puff pieces and, of course, ALL the various walks or runs or rides for any and every social/charity cause (stories that NO ONE watches or cares about … other than those participating in or benefitting from them!).
Granville Street downtown from Helmcken right up to Robson … well on its way to becoming another Hastings/Main area … has been ignored.
Witnessed by our visitors …. but conveniently (and deliberately?) kept outside the “vision” of most locals … with both motorists and bike lane enthusiasts directed well away … routed to other streets by carefully planned traffic patterns.