Vancouver Parks Board Reopens Parking Lots … Partially

The Vancouver Park Board has announced the reopening of SOME of its parking lots … including handicapped and regular stalls at SOME of the waterfront parks and beaches and in Queen Elizabeth Park.

The move will restore access to 7,000 parking stalls … including handicapped spaces … at Park Board managed properties in Vancouver.

But the parks/beaches/seawall in the West End and English Bay will remain a de-facto private enclave: parking lots there will remain blocked. In addition, the parking lots and the roads in and around Stanley Park will also all remain closed to vehicles … 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What is it with these COPE/Green elitists on the Park Board!

Taxpayers from ALL OVER Vancouver, not just the West End, pay huge taxes … millions and millions of of dollars each year … to develop, beautify, maintain Stanley Park, English Bay and all the attractions, seawall, trails, beaches in the area.

Why should they STILL be kept at bay (literally) and denied access to Stanley Park or even forbidden from parking and walking at First, Second, Third or Sunset Beach ????

Why should they …. especially the handicapped and elderly … STILL be barred 24/7 from driving through to the Totem Polls, the Nine O’Clock gun, Brockton Point, Lumberman’s Arch ????

Hasn’t anybody at the Park Board noticed that the provincial health officer has moved us into Phase Two and BC is reopening … safely and with self distancing … but reopening. Even provincial parks are reopening … and I suspect almost everyone enjoying those will get there in a vehicle!

Lucky the anti-car extremists at the Vancouver Park Board have no jurisdiction there!

Why is Stanley Park still closed to cars 24/7? Still CLOSED to most taxpayers! Ridiculous. Divisive. Intolerant! Maybe even breaching contracts!

The Park Board MUST allow public access to all in Stanley Park … or I predict it will face a couple of very expensive lawsuits.

With restaurants re-opening now, the anti-car crowd had better stop barring/hindering/discouraging access to the privately-run Prospect Point Cafe or The Tearoom Restaurant inside Stanley Park. They both no doubt represent major investments and expensive leases by companies that could see the Park Board barricades as impediments to their businesses, to put it mildly.

The opening of several parking lots/stalls is a start … but it’s time for the Park Board to open ALL their sites, ALL their operations, and, yes, ALL their roads and parking lots to everyone … practicing self distancing, of course.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Follow me @harveyoberfeld on Twitter to get First Alerts of new postings on this BC-based blog.)

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11 Responses to Vancouver Parks Board Reopens Parking Lots … Partially

  1. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey.

    well written ,

    the sad thing is that being called on the blatant discrimination against their citizens ,will not sway the park board , nor the outcry from the seniors or the disabled , if they do change it will come from a lawyers demand letter with a claim for damages. from private enterprise that should not even be in the park system . the tyranny continues.

    (Response: Looks to me like the COPE/Green extremists on the Park board don’t realize they were elected by voters to serve the entire city … not just those in the West End, Kits Point, the anti-car activists and the cycling crowd. I just don’t believe most Vancouver residents support the blockading of Stanley Park we’ve witnessed …which goes well beyond any legitimate Covid concerns. There will hopefully be a day of reckoning at the next election … but maybe the radicals are counting that the turnout will again be quite low: only 39% last time. People get they government they deserve …and those who can’t be bothered to turn out should realize that, by staying away, they allow others like the COPE/Green extremists now running the Park Board to take over. h.o)

  2. D. M. Johnston says:

    I do not know why, or I should rephrase, I do know why but it would take far too long to explain why the Vancouver Parks Board they do not like the elderly and handicapped.

    The City of Vancouver has far too long lived and thought in bubble, which they pretend they are smarter, better, than the rest of the hoi polloi and that the City is their private playground, even though tens of millions of provincial and federal tax monies are spent on the city.

    Too bad not one federal or provincial politicians call out Vancouver and its anti elderly and disabled nonsense. It is more than sad.

    Anything else on the subject would be far too profane to print.

    Added note: I am somewhat reeling in shock that two close friends have suddenly passed away, due to complications of Covid 19, both had slight cases (their spouses told me that they were not that sick) but both having high blood pressure issues, this damn bug caused both to have massive strokes!

    (Response: Sorry to hear the bad news. Scary stuff. As for the Park Board, looks to me like the extreme leftists controlling the current board hate cars more than they like handicapped, the elderly. And like spoiled children, they don’t understand the concept of sharing and accommodation. Plain and simple. Just be glad the Greens/COPE types are not the governing bodies at the provincial or federal levels! h.o)

  3. DBW says:

    Let me get this straight.

    On Sunday, you wrote a piece on all the horrors going on in the rest of the world and we looked at past events and we concluded that in perspective we shouldn’t be complaining about inconveniences.

    On Wednesday you printed a letter from a nurse friend reminding us to be vigilant and to continue to take precautions like wearing masks.

    Today, after Vancouver relaxes a whole bunch of traffic and parking restrictions in places around the city, you choose to focus on the one negative – that Stanley Park still has restrictions.

    You can disagree but the city still feels that opening the park up will result in overcrowding that will make it difficult to maintain physical distancing.

    I really don’t care about the politics of Vancouver. But I am having a really hard time understanding your position given your last two posts.

    (Response: My position is quite consistent: yes, there are worse places in the world, but in dealing with our own local Covid issues, I believe it’s very important to support safety, fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination. I’m surprised you so willingly consumed the Park board’s spin: that closure of ALL the parking lots at ALL waterfront parks/beaches and ALL roads and parking lots in Stanley Park was to prevent overcrowding. LOL! Have you not seen the videos of all the people at those venues??? Thousands .. most of them very decently self-distancing, being calm and kind. All the car-haters at the Park board ended up doing was singling out the handicapped and elderly who can’t jog, hike, cycle their way there, for exclusion and discrimination. In fact, over the past couple of weeks, I have personally walked in Kits Point, Kits Beach, Locarno and Pacific Spirit Park … and the REAL Covid threat that scared me at all of them were the joggers and cyclists … blowing by the rest of us, almost none of them wearing masks, bubbles streaming off them for several meters. In fact, think about it … if it’s Covid the Park Board was really worried about, the SAFEST way for people to enjoy Stanley Park without infecting others would be from INSIDE a car … not on a bike or jogging. The radical COPE/Greens have acted like total tyrants: couldn’t bring themselves to have an inclusive policy that would respect/accommodate everyone: by opening/closing Stanley Park to vehicles for certain hours each day or on certain days; and restricting it to bikes, joggers on others. That would be fair and inclusive …not something the COPE/Greens seem to respect. h.o)

  4. 13 says:

    Harvey in order to placate dbw you must make a priority list. It will be difficult to do as thr list will be long and likely go back hundreds if not thousands of years. May I suggest I pick a number out of thin air. “7,556” that is assigned to problems in Vancouver. In order to shorten the list perhaps all subset problems have an alphabet.
    7,556
    A) High property tax
    B)High rents
    C) municipal spending on wasteful items
    E) A parks board that need not exist
    F) A war on the car
    E) to much focus on cyclists
    G) lack of any focus on seniors
    H) lack of any focus on disabled
    I)Way to many department employing way to many public sector workers (could be an entire new problem perhaps 7,557
    J) Far to much red tape and impediments to construction. I believe $80,000 just to get the permits etc to build a home
    K)No affordable housing for the low paid service sector workers
    L) the lunacy of trying to house the world homeless
    M) the enabling of drug addiction without ant focus on rehab
    N) Allowing the same criminals to be charged and released to commit more crime.
    O)The idea that small business can be used as an ATM to fund gardens in the middle of a bridge
    P) destruction of view corridors in arguably one of most beautiful places on earth with suicide prevention
    Q) A place called the downtown east side
    R) Ridiculous parking fees city wide in a feeble attempt to fund ridiculous projects
    S) Impediments roadblocks everywhere seniors or disabled try to go.
    Im sure that each and every line item could pose a problem when you look at people rotting in jails unjustly across the globe but im sure that that would be 4, 865 on the list

  5. HARRY LAWSON says:

    DBW

    Realize many of Harvey’s readers may not live in Vancouver.

    Stanley park has a land mass of about 1000 acres , about 6 miles of seawall , miles of walkways ,lots and lots of open space.. Stanley park is right next to the west end neighborhood of Vancouver which is one one the densest neighborhoods in north america . we are looking at a large community being denied or restricting access to a large park for all the wrong reasons . then their is the rest of the citizens of Vancouver also being denied access. as great as it is to have other parking and restrictions dropped this is still a shell game with smoke and mirrors .

  6. nvg says:

    IANAV (I Am Not A Vancouverite)

    I mention in the previous comment that ‘I am a resident of North Vancouver’, and as DBW has just stated ‘many of Harvey’s readers may not live in Vancouver’. There are commentators here, like myself, who are IANAV but still rally to the call of ‘Please Contact Vancouver City Hall to vent your concerns about the ‘lefties” discrimination during the Covid-19 crisis.

    eg. Shutting out Motorists, therefore handicaps etc. from Stanley Park.

    Vancouver city hall’s time (property tax dollars) would be better spent on recording, and answering H.O.’s concerns because of his status of being a IAAV (I Am A Vancouverite).

    ’13’ complaints to Vancouver City Hall is “7,556” and then proceeds to use the alphabet???, not numbers …. and stops at the letter ‘S” and then skips down to line item 4,865, where the issue is surely the domain of his/her MP in Ottawa “… when you look at people rotting in jails unjustly across the globe….” which is well beyond the footprint of Vancouver’s jurisdiction.

    Perhaps a solution for the rights of leftists/centrists/rightists/motorists/handicaps/etc. is a perusal of the governing body that sits atop of the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver.

    Stanley Park National Historic Site of Canada

    Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
    Designation Date: 1988-11-11
    Dates:

    1888 to 1988 (Construction)

    https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/dfhd/page_nhs_eng.aspx?id=84

    Character-Defining Elements:
    …… the layout, footprints, pathways, composite materials, and vistas of the heritage trails and scenic roads, including Stanley Park Drive and North Lagoon Drive; ….

    (Response: What a terrible world it would be if people only cared or spoke out for/against problems in just their own local community or that affected them directly. When one group … any group … is singled out for exclusion/discrimination by a fascist-style government that fails to accommodate/share rights of everyone and instead shows prejudicial preference for an “elite” they favour … we all lose out and share the shame. The Park Board could very easily have allowed/accommodated parking for handicapped and elderly in their parking lots and certainly … instead of still stalling now … could open Stanley Park part-time for bikes/joggers (mornings or certain days?) and part time (afternoons or certain days?) for those who need vehicles to enjoy the site. But that’s not how extremists operate: they abuse people’s rights and only back off when enough people complain or they face Court actions or are thrown out of office. h.o)

  7. DBW says:

    Morning Harvey, Harry and 13

    First, please don’t think I am looking for an argument, defending the Vancouver Parks Board generally or trying to dismiss your disappointment/frustration/anger at some loss of access to Stanley Park. I am just trying to understand or maybe help.

    e.g. My big loss during the lockdown is not being able to run with my “running buddies”. I miss them, the conversations and the motivation they give me to get out. Our 13 week running program was shut down after 6 weeks and all four of our yearly races have been cancelled. Disappointing? Yes. Devastating in the scheme of things? No. So what did we do.

    We created an online running club. We finished the running program by encouraging the beginners to get out and post their routes and share their times or difficulties. We ran the race routes solo and posted our times. But best of all for May we challenged each other to walk or run every street in town. Surprisingly, our small town has around 100km of roadway and with cul de cul sacs and deadends and poor route planning it will take most of us close to 150km to finish. I happened to finish yesterday, and the best part of this challenge was getting to know my town. Online: “Did you catch that small lane off such and such? It is actually a street with a house at the end.” “Damn. Now I have to go back and find that one.” And why am I boring you with this story?

    I grew up in Vancouver near 16th and Nanaimo. Beaconsfield Park and John Hendry Park were my go to hangouts. Renfrew Park might have been a mile away but we rarely went there. Apparently there are 200 parks in Vancouver. If you miss Stanley Park or a grandparent needs an outing challenge yourself (over time) to visit and/or explore as many of the different parks and/or various neighbourhoods in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Stanley Park will still be there when with this is all over. (As will the Parks Board to yell at.)

    And one last safety tip, Harvey. You said that it might be safer to be in a car than outside with joggers and cyclists around you. Don’t forget that cars are extremely enclosed spaces so a frail grandpa is at risk if he spends a lengthy period of time travelling to and from various areas especially if lots of talking is going on.

    Stay safe.

    (Response: Of course, EVERYONE visiting parks/beaches or waiting to see Stanley Park sites …in any way … should do so keeping in mind and following Dr. Henry’s Covid guidelines. So it’s not likely or advised that people place their parents/grandparents in jeopardy by taking them to any park/beach or Stanley drive if they would be at risk. But there is NO GREATER DANGER than anyone else if, say, a retired couple or elderly friends already living in their own social bubble were to take a drive around Stanley Park ..stopping to admire the Totems or Brockton Point and the harbour views etc. And don’t forget the severely handicapped who could be taken there by family ..again already in their own social bubble. In fact, I dare say (and Dr Henry agrees!) that just getting out like that is GOOD for people’s health and especially those older and physically challenged, who are now enduring greater problems of isolation than most of us. It’s disappointing to me when I see people who are supposedly progressive fighting to keep them away, at bay and discriminated against, rather than arguing for their inclusion. h.o)

  8. nvg says:

    H.O. I would appreciate it if you dropped using the term ‘fascist’ because ….. this is not the world of a Mussolini where he, and his cohorts, eventually, ended up hanging by their heels, but only after the terrible things that they did to others.

    Could you use a Made-in-Canada, democratically elected, every four years (or less) government as a comparison using an example? Federal, Provincial, Municipal.

    (Response: I do understand your concern …but it is based on the incorrect assumption that “fascist” refers to the right wing dictatorships of Mussolini and/or Hitler etc. Here are two definitions from the Miriam Webster dictionary: ” a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”; and ” a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control”. That’s why, today, the extreme left … like Putin, Xi, Castro, Maduro types, also fit the bill as fascist rulers. And, yres, in my view the extreme left … like COPE/Greens on the Park Board (and at Vancouver City Hall too) fit the bill too. They could EASILY have done, as moderate centrist left or right leaning leaders/governments do: adopted rules/access/policies that accommodate different points of view and needs. But that’s not the way fascists work: they IMPOSE dictatorial one-sided rules and policies catering to their base … and to hell with the rest …in this case, even the handicapped and mobility-challenged elderly. I’m happy to call them out on this … and I hope moderate VOTERS on both sides of the political spectrum are paying attention. h.o)

  9. DBW says:

    Harvey, again I am just trying to understand your point of view and for you to understand mine. So, this is what I am hearing. (I learned this technique listening to Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson debates. Each would say what they thought the other person believed before moving on.)

    1. You are opposed to the closing of Stanley Park to cars even during this pandemic.
    2. You don’t accept the argument that the policy is to maintain physical distancing.
    3. You think the Parks Board are a bunch of fascists (not the Mussolini or Hitler kind just the Xi, Castro, Maduro kind) who don’t care about seniors and people with disabilities.
    4. You think the closing of the park to cars adversely and disproportionately affects seniors and people with disabilities.
    5. And you are disappointed when you “see people who are supposedly progressive (I guess like me) fighting to keep them away, at bay and discriminated against, rather than arguing for their inclusion”.

    Is that a fair summary? Because the only one that I think I can mostly agree with is #4 which I will get to in a moment.

    Not being a Vancouverite (any longer) I am not going to comment on #3 except to say that it sounds hyperbolic. I know you have issues with the Parks Board and Council and I understand that you are worried about #1 becoming policy after this pandemic but I am not expert enough to get into that aspect. I want to limit the discussion to the temporary policy that is in place.

    #5 I disagree with because it is an unfair framing of the argument. You are essentially saying “if you disagree with me then you are no better than those fascist scoundrels at the parks board who have no regard for seniors and people with disabilities”. That is an unfair framing because where we disagree completely is with #2.

    Again I am not wise in the ways of the parks board to delve deeply into their motivation but you have said that thousands of people are already down at Stanley Park and the adjoining beaches. If the park is open to cars and the parking lots are full, then not only are you bringing more people into the park, but you are pushing all the cyclists and pedestrians back onto the walkways making physical distancing all the more difficult.

    You said that Dr. Henry has said that being outside is good. But she has also said that physical distancing is extremely important and that we should stay in our neigbourhoods as much as possible.

    So getting to #4. I agree this policy has adversely affected people, (not just seniors and people with disabilities mind you) who need a car to enjoy Stanley Park. Honestly, I get that. It is frustrating. But I see the policy as protecting people, especially our most vulnerable like seniors.

    So our disagreement rests on that one question: Is the temporary banning of cars meant to keep people safe? and we can legitimately agree to disagree. I just don’t think it fair to label people who disagree with your assessment as uncaring. I don’t think it helps to make this an us vs them or a you vs me debate when the vast majority are trying to look out for each other the best we can.

    Hope I made sense.

    (Response: You have it essentially correct…. except I don’t see those who disagree with me as “no better than those fascist scoundrels”. Never said that …just that I found it “disappointing” when supposedly progressive people fail to stand up for others singled out for discrimination and exclusion. Here’s a perfect example of how the fascist-style thinking at the Park Board works … and had its genesis. In the days when people in power actually respected and accommodated minorities, people were allowed to smoke in some spots at city parks and beaches …as long as they did so well away from others: nothing wrong with that … and I believe it generally worked pretty well. But then the intolerant extreme left took over, and compromise and accommodation and mutual respect went out the window: ALL smoking was banned on miles and miles of Vancouver beaches … even if there was no one else around or the location was at the far end of a mile long strip of sand. Not even a little corner set aside to accommodate those who do smoke. And they were able to get away with it because smokers … much like some ethnic people or races or cultures in other societies over history … were not liked, in a minority and could be easily have their rights legally completely taken away. In fact, the masses supported that … to hell with accommodating the smoking minority anywhere! And most interesting, the excuse was: it’s not discrimination, it’s about health (the very same rationale they used in closing parking lots/Stanley Park’s road!!). Really??? Just about health? Well then, how come the Vancouver Park Board each year allow, assist, accommodate THOUSANDS of marijuana smokers to use Sunset Beach each Spring, complete with tents, concessions, portable toilets … causing $250,000 damage to the lawn/area that took 10 weeks to repair and restore??? There’s the hypocrisy of the extreme left fascists. And when they did it to the detriment of the disabled and the mobility challenged elderly, we should have ALL called it out for what it was. But the people … and the media … were bamboozled into not realizing it was what I would call just another anti-car opportunity seized upon by the car-hating Vancouver Park Board. And what better proof do you need that the Stanley Park road closure has remained …even though Dr Henry has declared BC to have moved on to Phase Two … opening parks/beaches etc and the BC government is now opening provincial parks and campgrounds …where, trust me, most people don’t get to by jogging or cycling! Yet the car-blockers at the Park Board … I believe just like old time fascists … hang on to their hate and their exclusionary policy. h.o.)

  10. nvg says:

    IANAV

    Just for clarification H.O., who on this list of Vancouver Park Board Commissioners are your car-blockers?

    Board Chair, Commissioner Camil Dumont GREEN
    Board Vice Chair, Commissioner Dave Demer GREEN
    Board Vice Chair, Commissioner Tricia Barker NPA
    Commissioner John Coupar NPA
    Commissioner Gwen Giesbrecht COPE
    Commissioner John Irwin COPE
    Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon Green

    https://vancouver.ca/your-government/park-board-commissioners.aspx

    (Response: I hold them all responsible for the decisions, policies and practices of their board. And my conclusion that the Vancouver Park Board are car-haters did not begin with just the current board or the Covid crisis: it has been going on for a long time…. increasing as more board members have been elected from the far left. Believe it or not, there was a time … many decades in fact, when taxpayers (and visitors) were able to visit Kits Beach, First, Second, Third, Sunset Beach, Queen Elizabeth Park etc. etc. and drive around Stanley Park and stop without PAYING to park … now enforced even if they’re there/stop for only 15 minutes … to enjoy the view or face getting an expensive ticket. Interesting that taxpayers or visitors still don’t have to pay to do that at Ambleside in West Vancouver, in Horseshoe Bay, Bridgeman Park in Norh Van or Central Park in Burnaby, etc. etc. And if you’re really interested, why not check out how the parking RATES at Vancouver Park Board sites have now also steadily increased over the years … under the control of the far left. Closing so many parking areas since March … even for the handicapped and elderly … was a disgrace. In fact, I believe that, if they could do so without facing hell from Summer bus tour operators and potential law suits from privately run restaurants inside the park, they’d make the current road closures permanent … reserving it for just their “ideal” crowd: hikers, cyclists and joggers. h.o)

  11. DBW says:

    1. https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/stanley-park-closure-permanent-idea

    2. https://bc.ctvnews.ca/should-pandemic-induced-changes-to-stanley-park-become-permanent-1.4952095

    3. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/car-ban-sparks-bike-boom-in-stanley-park-but-what-happens-post-pandemic-1.5570700

    I found these articles interesting. Perhaps you will as well.

    The first is written by a person who does not want cars permanently banned from Stanley Park. And he makes a very strong case, especially on the economics. You will nod your head all the way through. But I don’t want you to overlook his first sentence.

    “While the closure of Stanley Park’s local roads to vehicles during COVID-19 and the forthcoming long recovery period is certainly a highly pragmatic solution…”

    The closure of roads was and will continue to be during the recovery period “A HIGHLY PRAGMATIC SOLUTION”. This from someone who does not want cars permanently banned.

    That is all I am saying Harvey. This temporary ban was the right thing to do.

    And if you read the article, he then goes on to make a powerful case for lifting the ban once it is safe to do so.

    The second article is mainly from the point of view of cyclists. It is much more anecdotal but the guy from the bike advocacy group is not in favour of a complete ban.

    “His preference is to still allow room for vehicles for people who can’t cycle or walk, and also for those who need to access workplaces within the park.”

    Back to the guy who opposes a permanent ban. He suggests that the decision be “saved for the Park Board’s Stanley Park Comprehensive Plan, instead of rushing in an implementation in response to narrow, single-minded, and overly simplistic considerations. The plan could identify new ways that improve the comfortability of both walking and cycling through Stanley Park, without having to close local vehicle traffic.”

    And I included the third article only to give you this quotation from the chair of the Parks Board.

    “The question is how do we strike a balance,” he said. “How do we make sure our partners in the park, the restaurants and the aquarium who cars are lifeline for, how can we make it work?”

    So Harvey, my take: All three of these guys seem to agree that the current policy to ban traffic temporarily was the right one, a pragmatic one. Hopefully, whatever decision they make post pandemic will also done with pragmatism in mind.

    (Response: Read my blog tomorrow … how the ban HURT some people who didn’t need that. And hear about TWO Commissioners who support MY view. h.o)

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