Speak UP to Restore Handicapped/Elderly Access to Vancouver Parks/Beaches!

What a beautiful Saturday morning walk I had: full sunshine, warm temperatures and the usual gorgeous scenery at Kits Point and Kits Beach.

I love it there … and I was fortunate enough, at 75 now (Yes!) and although needing a cane for stairs … to drive close enough and then still be able to walk further than I should have to just get there and enjoy the shoreline beach and park areas.

Fresh air, exercise, relaxation. Just what Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered. Wonderful!

There were hundreds of other people there too … walkers, joggers, bicyclists, families with kids picnicking on the grass and even tennis players on the courts as well. And almost all were doing pretty well at respecting the social distancing rules.

It was great!

But I was sad. Once again, I noticed who was NOT there: I saw NO ONE clearly disabled; NO ONE using a motorized transport device; NO ONE in a wheelchair; NO ONE using a walker; NO ONE even using a cane or a couple of canes.

How relatively fit … and mostly younger … they all were!

Enjoying park and beach areas cleansed of the handicapped and mobility-challenged seniors by the Vancouver Park Board and their allies at Vancouver City Hall.

The huge logs and steel gates blocking the Kits Beach parking areas were still there … signs warning of Strict Enforcement of all parking restrictions on nearby streets and, making it even more difficult, there were even No Stopping signs all along the former permissible street parking zone on Arbutus, north of Cornwall.

It was once more quite clear: the ones suffering most from this hate on for cars by the Vancouver Park Board and City Hall are those who can’t get to the beach/park without a vehicle and are not capable of parking/walking many, many blocks away!

Maybe I’m too sensitive: why should I care? After all, I can get there; I can enjoy the greenspace; I can admire the scenery.

That’s NOT good enough for me … and it shouldn’t be good enough for ANYONE!

The parking lots should be returned to public use … so EVERYONE can have access .. and self-distance !

So I wrote last week to every member of the Vancouver Park Board: three Green Party members; two COPE members; and, the two NPA members … protesting the discriminatory, exclusionary blockades of the public parking lots at Kits Beach, Locarno, Spanish Banks, Sunset Beach, First, Second and Third Beaches … and the barring of cars 24-hours a day, seven days a week from Stanley Park.

Excessive, discriminatory and outrageous!

Park Board Member Stuart Mackinnon (Green Party) wrote back.

“Thank you for your email. The public health office continues to advise us to stay in our own neighbourhoods. The decision by staff to close destination parking lots was done with that advice in mind. As the situation improves some of these advisories will relax. Until then our staff will continue to act in the best interests of our residents.”

Stay in our own neighborhoods?

Does Mackinnon … or any of the other park board members … really think/believe/buy that all those thousands at the waterfront parks and beaches and deep in Stanley Park are from the “neighbourhood” ???

LOL!

Have they not noticed the HUNDREDS of cars parked along the road beside the barricaded parking lots at Spanish Banks!

Locals? From the neighborhood? Give me a break!!

Where there’s a will … there is a way. And clearly many, many Vancouver residents are determined enough and smart enough … and fit enough … to beat the Park Board’s hatred for cars and those who use them.

Even me!

While doing a pretty good job, I’d say, to self-distance and stay safe.

The ones really hurting are those who NEED cars to get around and to their destinations … I’m sure they would love to hike, jog and bicycle there too if they could … and they too should be allowed and welcomed to enjoy the city’s shoreline beaches and parks and Stanley Park as well, at least at certain times each day or on alternate days.

In fact, provincial and regional parks and their PARKING LOTS are all about to be open for day use again … with the approval of the provincial health officer. It’s time for the Park Board to open up too … for everyone!

If you care enough to speak up for equality and fairness, let the Park Board members know:

Chair Stuart Mackinnon: (Stuart.Mackinnon@vancouver.ca) ; Tricia.Barker@Vancouver.ca; John.Coupar@Vancouver.ca: Dave.Demers@Vancouver.ca; Gwen.Giesbrecht@Vancouver.ca; and, John.Irwin@Vancouver.ca.

You can also write the Mayor: Kennedy.Stewart@Vancouver.ca

Be polite, respectful … but let them know if you feel the city’s beach and waterfront parking lots and Stanley Park roadway should be open to all … and not just the elite for access.

Speaking up for others makes you feel pretty good. I always do!

Harv Oberfeld

(Follow me @harveyoberfeld.ca on Twitter for First Alerts of all new postings on this BC based blog. No spam, just alerts to new topics up for discussion.)

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13 Responses to Speak UP to Restore Handicapped/Elderly Access to Vancouver Parks/Beaches!

  1. 13 says:

    Harvey Ive been writing to my MP and to my MLA and to a seniors advocate. I even had responses but the responses are either buck passing or straight up parroting of a prepared statement. I will write to the people you so kindly gave us contact information.
    Even though as its been pointed out I live quite a ways away. Stanley Park is a Federal park but the COV miss-manages it for the Feds. I will be very succinct and make it crystal clear that handicapped people are being screwed .
    Harvey feel free to edit this ending if you wish
    I encourage everyone to write to their MP to question Trudeaus side stepping democracy with his poorly thought out firearms ban. There are also numerous online petitions that are available.

    (Response: It’s interesting that so many pay lip service to caring/helping/supporting the disabled and those aged with mobility problems … and yet, say and do nothing when they are physically barred parking lots with handicapped parking spots and even from the nearby street … basically totally unaccommodated and thus excluded from public parks and beaches that thousands of others are being allowed to enjoy. Disgraceful! h.o)

  2. D. M. Johnston says:

    Today’s mobility and intellectually impaired are today’s “lepers” as they show that not all people are so lucky as others. This causes great guilt among the “higher purpose persons” elites that run our cities and parks.

    Of course the mobility and intellectually impaired make for good photo-ops at election time, or PR photo-ops with sports types and or entertainers.

    In the real world, the mobility and intellectually impaired are treated badly by those who should know better.

    I do not quite fall into the category but after playing rugby until I was 58, my various injuries and knee problems have practically crippled me on bad days. Bad days mind you.

    On those occasions where climbing stairs or longer walks tend to be a sadists delight, I see first hand the obstacles that beset those who are not perfect.

    The list is very long.

    The current policy by Vancouver’s parks board is discriminatory, but as it is enforced by the “elites” of the Armani crowd that run City Hall.

    The real discrimination is for those who have no voice and are ignored by society as the politically correct are too busy with those who “wheels squeaked the loudest” as they make great photo-ops at blockades. Those who need to be heard are lost in a cacophony of self interest, hubris and neglect.

    (Response: This is exactly what it’s like to rule under fascism: preferred elites get catered to, given special privileges and are given high public profiles … promoted and adored … while the undesired (in this case, those who need cars to get around) are marginalized, prohibited and excluded. And fascist-style governance is not a phenomenon restricted to the right: look at Stalin, Putin, Xi, Kim, Maduro, Castro. In Vancouver, it’s the extreme left now in power … and in my view, the total and complete closure of the roadway in Stanley Park (24/7 …no accommodation for others at all) and the other closures/restrictions at parks/beaches are all just part of their hate on for cars … and they couldn’t care less for their victims: people who NEED cars to get around .. especially those with mobility challenges. It’s disgraceful! h.o)

  3. LPSM says:

    Even though I do agree with much of what you said, I have to look at the flip side as well. From what I have seen and heard, there are already too many people flocking to these parks, beaches, etc. Crazy crowds in some areas. I wonder if we really do want to reopen the parking areas to have more access to these areas, for ANYBODY, whether they are seniors, physically challenged, able bodied, or whatever. The idea of closing them was to make it more difficult for ALL people to access. But, of course, when a temporary restriction is put in place, everybody who is able to, will try going to these places to see if they can “outwit” the restriction, instead of staying in our own neighborhoods. The more access there is, the more able bodied people, and others if they can, will drive over and will enlarge the crowds even more, making the social distancing more tricky than it already is. Dr. Henry says “it’s not forever”. Stay home, or at least stay in your own neighborhood, regardless of your mobility, (yes, you too Harvey!) (I can’t believe the increased number of vehicles on the roads from 3-4 weeks ago!) unless you have to go to work or grocery shopping or doctor’s appointments. Hopefully then these areas, and many others, will be less congested and safer, and we can get back to some “normal” times sooner rather than later.

    (Response: Actually, the weekend turnout makes my point. In Vancouver, it’s just a hate-on for cars by the Park Board and their allies at City Hall that is happening: but it’s the disabled who are their major VICTIMS!! Parks have to be open to ALL or closed to ALL … as is/was done in other major cities. Clearly, closing the parking lots,removing visitor paring from Arbutus street and strictly enforcing restrictions on nearby streets did not work: the hundreds of cars parked along Spanish Banks road (difficult/unsuitable for disabled in chairs and on walkers etc.) and the blocks of full parking spots several streets away from Kits showed those able to navigate distances were there .. self-distancing very well … but still there to enjoy the grass, beach and water views. And self distancing can still be practiced …. and I have no doubt that older and handicapped are just as intelligent and just as able to do that as everyone else: in fact, probably even more carefully. What we have now is discrimination and exclusion of an already challenged and sidelined minority … and it’s simply unjust. h.o)

  4. BMCQ says:

    almost totally agree with you on this Harvey .

    Again, it is quite sad that not enough of the so called regulars see the treatment of seniors, physically challenged, and young families who have lost access to Stanley Park and more as a big issue . WHY WHY WHY should those just mentioned be “Collateral Damage” in the Leftist PC SJW Parks Board and Vancouver Councils “War on the Car” ?

    and those of you here that seem to feel there is a connection between developers and the Sycophant Elite Leftists on Council and parks Board please become informed on the facts, nothing could be further than the truth .

    And to the absolutely hysterically laughable, pathetic, and ridiculous comment that the Mensa Members of Parks Board and Vancouver City Council are part of the “Armani Set” ? Please, that comment would only be acceptable and make sense in the
    “Land of OZ” , not one single one of them is even close to what you have described, as a matter of fact virtually every one of them are now holding the best employment positions they have ever had, look at their Bio .

    As I stated the other day, the “Berlin Wall ” around Stanley Park will only be the beginning of the continuation of the “War on Cars” by those that think they are doing “Karl’s Work’, there would be/is much more to come .

    Well low and behold only last night on local Global newscasts the Vancouver Parks Board and City Council are already doing their best to convince the shell shocked and reeling Restaurant and Retail Industries that all store front endeavours would be saved and healed if automobile traffic was to be banned from streets like Robson, Denman, Commercial, Dundas, Wall, and many more very busy commercial areas .

    The horror of these suggestions is that the closure/barricading of all of those streets WILL NOT increase business, it will in fact destroy most commercial business and restaurants on all of those streets . Those on Van Council and in the Parks Board who for the very most part have never met a payroll, run a successful business, or held any one job for more than a year or two do not have the experience or know how to understand what makes commerce work .

    Those same sycophants seem to think that retailers and restaurants will buy into the closure/barricade of streets with a few restaurant tables scattered around on the once travelled road and parking spots which are in fact under rain, sleet, and snow six months of the year . In the meantime oldsters, physically challenged, and families will avoid frequenting every single one of those once streets, retailers, restaurants and other businesses . NUTSO !

    I spend time on Denman, Robson, Commercial Dr., doing banking, visiting restaurants like Arriva, London Drugs, and several more as I DO NOT do Malls or Mall parking, I do not like door dings or mall scrapes and scratches, so once all of those streets are “Barricaded” I like many of the “Great Unwashed” will frequent those streets and commercial business .

    I will contact those politicians Harvey suggests but the fact is for some reason the Leftist PC SJW Activist politicians do not seem to pay attention to the tax payer, they are somehow under the impression that the tax payer are the enemy, they believe that the tax payer regardless of income is a “Fat Cat” .

    I am guessing that over all in the YVR at least half of the restaurants and many retailers will not re open in the next month or two when restrictions are relaxed somewhat, then to add to the carnage if the Van Parks Board and Van Council get their
    way and they manage to close the streets mentioned another 25% of the remaining retailers and restaurants will close their doors during the winter .

    That in itself would be a catastrophic disaster for downtown and parks but they are not and will not be through, the next target is the Vancouver Municipal Golf courses, and they will begin by taking 9 Holes away from the city owned Langara Golf course for a mix of social housing, bike paths and nature trails, and just like anywhere else they pout social housing for the Drug Addled Repeat Prolific Offenders the crime rates will soar .

    Once golfers abandon Langara the Van Council and Parks Board will then announce that “Golfers have abandoned Langara for golf, we will therefore complete the rest of our social housing, bike paths, and nature trails plan, this will be good for the city .

    Yes Harvey I will go through the exercise but I am fully confident that just like everything else the PCC SJW Leftist Vancouver Council and Parks Board will not listen .
    Imagine Tax Payers and Votes allowing their cities to be taken over by those that actually run for council or parks board because it will be the best job they ever had in their life .

    “Armani Set ” My A** !!

    (Response: Actually, I don’t object to bike lanes/paths … as long as the rules also accommodate and respect those who want/need to use their cars and I think there can be a place in urban areas for pedestrian malls. I was in Denver in September and really enjoyed walking, sitting and enjoying the entire length of their 17th Street pedestrian/bike/transit mall… with very nice shops/restaurants. Why? Because they have installed pleasant sitting/table areas (even one where I could sit/smoke my pipe and talk to other aficionados … great fun!) But unlike Vancouver, they have not allowed their street mall to just become a dirty, shabby repository for homeless, drug users where no one wants to go. Vancouver is now reaping the results of a decade of extreme left COPE/Green/NDP governance: a filthy downtown mall, with lots of homeless, drug users, actually attracted there by SEVERAL government services agencies designed for them being placed right there, on adjoining streets; Oppenheimer Park … where dozens of squatters from OUTSIDE Vancouver (another missed story by the media!) were allowed to just move in and set up residence, destroying an entire neighbourhood until the province moved in and provided HOTEL housing!!; Hastings Street, allowed to grow/fester … where drugs now flow openly…more dangerous now than even the Bowery in New York. Closing Robson and/or Commercial to cars, with little parking on nearby residential streets, will excite the car-hating far left, but within a year, just be new strips of bankrupted restaurants and shops … populated by more homeless and druggies, attracted to welcoming/generous Vancouver from across BC and Eastern Canada. h.o)

  5. 13 says:

    Sent to Park Board members: The closure of the road at Stanley Park is completely unnecessary and creates a no go zone for disabled people and many seniors. Stanley Park has always been accessible to all but with COVs war on the car Stanley Park is becoming another Point Grey Road. The parks board should be ashamed to look a disabled person and try to explain why they cant get to the park. It should be open to all cars and parking should be free to anyone with a handicap sign.

    (Response: Very valid points. Thanks. h.o)

  6. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon logic is so twisted , if park use is to be defined by neighborhood , then why hasn’t the parks board board posted boundaries and set up brown shirt park rangers at the park entrance checking all for proof of residency .?

    what about people who are on the disability spectrum that live in the neighborhood that need to take a car or taxi ,handy dart for even very short trips .?

    if you live in other parts of Vancouver and want to see water and feel a breeze or even look at the boats ,you shouldn’t have to hope that a kid is using a boat at the local kiddy wading pool.

    (Response: Exactly. There are 160,000 disabled people in the Vancouver area: surely MANY of them live in those neighborhoods where there are shoreline parks and beaches … but MUST drive or be driven close by to access them. It’s quite clear from the blockading of parking lots and nearby streets, those suffering most grievously from the car haters at the Vancouver Park Board and City Hall are the handicapped, disabled and seniors with ambulatory difficulties. Shame on the fascist-style actions and enforcements that are keeping them away. Stanley Park should be open at least part of the day … or on certain days …to ALL … yes, even those who would like to drive through or drive their mobility-impaired friends and family through in a car!! h.o)

  7. LPSM says:

    I hope all the Mothers had a good day Sunday under these precarious times.
    You said “In Vancouver, it’s just a hate-on for cars by the Park Board and their allies at City Hall that is happening”. I think we have all been victims of this always.
    You said “Clearly, closing the parking lots,removing visitor paring from Arbutus street and strictly enforcing restrictions on nearby streets did not work”. Clearly not, as I mentioned in my post, all these people tried to “beat the system”. The idea, was not to keep the disabled away; it was to keep EVERYBODY away. Maybe the parking along Spanish Banks and side streets should be closed too? Stay home!
    You said “those able to navigate distances were there .. self-distancing very well “. Those able to navigate should NOT have been there. Stay home! And from what I’ve seen and heard, they did NOT self-distance well. Many of the people in the beach and park areas were far too busy. Stay home!
    You said “but still there to enjoy the grass, beach and water views”. The grass, beach and water views will still be there later. Stay home!
    You said “I have no doubt that older and handicapped are just as intelligent and just as able to do that as everyone else”. Maybe they are more intelligent? Everyone needs to Stay home!
    You said “What we have now is discrimination and exclusion of an already challenged and sidelined minority “. The discrimination and exclusion was meant for EVERYBODY. Stop the pity party for the challenged minority; they need to stay in their neighbourhoods too. Don’t make the city/parks board make it more difficult for everybody. Everybody just needs to stay home, and stop trying to beat the system, until this thing is over.
    As I said, drive to your appointments, get your grocery shopping and food pick ups, go to work, but whether you are abled or disabled, forget about driving and finding parking just to have your strolls on beachfronts. They will still be there later. Stop trying to beat the system. Stay home! Stay safe!

  8. 13 says:

    LPSM your beef should be with Bonnie Henery not HO. Ms henry gave us the green light to go out. The people you saw did that they went out. You cant even argue that they didnt stay close to home. If you look at the beaches and shore line Kits False Creek West End Stanley Park Ambleside and soforth and so on literally a million people live on those shores. Maybe Henery should have kept her well clad foot on the brake . If she did cause an uptick because of a lack of caution it should show up in a month. Sadly we all know that liars know how to figure But at least we saves disabled from covid this time by not letting them join us in the sun.

    (Response: Adding to the ridiculousness, the Vancouver Park Board said today it had been “thinking” of re-opening the parking lots soon …but since so many showed up at the beaches/parks on the weekend, it will keep the lots closed for even longer. Let’s analyse that: so many fit and able people were able to surmount all the obstacles the Park board and City Hall placed in their path … the disabled and seniors with mobility problems, who could not get there without a vehicle even if they live in the neighborhood, will be punished for it … and literally kept at bay! It’s a total discriminatory, exclusionary disgrace, that would NEVER be tolerated in Seattle, Portland or San Francisco. I believe it’s just more of the extreme left’s hate on for cars … totally blind to those who need them to get around. Need more proof? If the parks/beaches are too crowded, then why don’t they at least open Stanley Park’s roadways after, say, 2 p.m. each day, or on alternate days …so those who NEED cars can also get out and enjoy the waterfront/shoreline greenspaces and sights they pay taxes for too? No … that involves accommodation, inclusion, sharing and respecting others’ rights … not the way it works under dictatorships. h.o)

  9. HARRY LAWSON says:

    LPSM

    need to challenge you on a few things with respect
    ,
    1 / you wrote The idea, was not to keep the disabled away; it was to keep EVERYBODY away . – if that is so then why did they not close the parks period ?

    2/you wrote EVERYBODY. Stop the pity party for the challenged minority; – like really you actually believe that . demanding equal and fair access in the year 2020 is not pity it is a fundamental human right period , it is the law

    i do not know your age gender or any demographic about you so pity me lol .

    j truly hope you never hit the disability spectrum ,you would change your tune. most likely be in the front of the pack yelling for your rights . such arrogance and or ignorance is truly such a pity .

  10. 13 says:

    Talk about asinine. Lets say you own a restaurant on Robson . Now the city decides in order to help you they will close Robson to traffic. How does that “help” you. You have now driven your customers to try and find parking where it doesnt exist. Elderly and or disabled patrons will just give up trying to even reach your restaurant. You as the owner shake your head in disbelief . You think of the hoops the COV made you jump through to get the patio you already have and now the city wants to make Robson a patio. Better still you are lucky enough to have parking for your patrons. Now due to the road closure your parking lot is useless. Maybe you can advertise a wonderful patio underground and free of any annoying views. Yes sir you are lucky business owner the COV is going to save you. Keep in mind the COV already taxes your property and the property (thin air) above you. Dont worry old people and disabled people love a good challenge.

    (Response: Well, they haven’t done it yet: although I certainly have the impression the hate-on for cars/drivers at Vancouver City Hall surpasses any concerns for businesses, potential shoppers who don’t live in the immediate neighborhood, even nearby mobility challenged nearby residents unable to navigate more than a block or two. But let’s keep it real: the turnout in Vancouver’s 2018 civic election was only 39%, so either the majority are getting what they wanted … or are now paying the price for sitting out and letting the extreme left anti-car COPE/Green crowd take over. h.o)

  11. nvg says:

    Vancouverites are so fortunate to have access to 230 parks, of which 32 hug the waters edges from Point Grey to False Creek (to Main Street) and then along Burrard Inlet from Main to almost Stanley Park.

    Why would anyone want to hop in their car, cane in hand, and drive to a densely populated area to do a head count with the result being:

    “I saw NO ONE clearly disabled; NO ONE using a motorized transport device; NO ONE in a wheelchair; NO ONE using a walker; NO ONE even using a cane or a couple of canes.”

    Could it be that the park that you scoped out in hopes of finding those individuals, know how foolish it would be to put one’s self at risk, just right now?

    I live on the North Shore, and know how fortunate we are to have lower populations in our three municipalities (compared to Vancouver, and all others in the Lower Mainland); ready access to forested park amenities; and, more importantly few beach accesses.

    Here’s a handy Link to Vancouver Park Map:
    https://vanmapp1.vancouver.ca/gmaps/covmap.htm?map=parks_areas

    (Response: Again … you miss the entire point of my two blogs on this. It’s not about ME. I go to parks near my home; I walk streets in my neighbourhood: I stroll through the trails of Spirit Park; and, yes, I sometimes like to walk along the beach or shoreline greenspace, enjoying the water/harbour view … all very important components in keeping healthy during the Covid pandemic. It’s about EQUAL RIGHTS! Why shouldn’t EVERYONE be able to do that? Why should the disabled and mobility challenged seniors … who also pay taxes … be kept away by slippery tactics by the car-hating extreme lefties now running the Vancouver Park Board, like blocking parking lots and severe restrictions/parking on streets nearby. Perhaps you will understand what’s wrong with fascist-style dictatorial exclusionism … when you become the victim. h.o)

  12. nvg says:

    Thank you for your reply Harvey. Again.

    Is Vancouver City & Park Board, currently tabulating data on who is using the parks during this time? Someone(s) sitting in a lawn chair taking notes, clicking counters, during daylight hours, of those who are able, disabled, mobility challenged, seniors too, looking for feedback on how things could be improved upon etc..

  13. e.a.f. says:

    I just when you thought this new silliness wouldn’t spread, the City of Victoria wants to remove vehicles from their major park.

    (Response: Victoria Council has repeatedly embarrassed itself in recent years: another example of what happens when the extreme left takes power. So I’m not surprised they will be considering banning cars from Beacon Hill park … and, yes, once more to hell with disabled and frail elderly who might like to drive or be driven through the picturesque icon. But at least there, the proposal calls for leaving the parking lot OPEN …so those with mobility challenges can park and enjoy part of the park!! Putting Vancouver’s exclusionary cold shoulder to disabled/seniors once more to shame! Here are the proposed Victoria details: https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/proposed-beacon-hill-park-vehicle-ban-draws-cheers-jeers-1.24134089 h.o)

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