Can we trust the NPA?

new parkWR

When the city traffic calmed West Point Grey Road there was a media frenzy fuelled in part by the NPA. On the first Monday after car traffic was diverted off West Point Grey Road, the NPA staged a little demo with around 50 people attending with placards displaying a coordinated message “West Point Grey Road is for everyone”. One of the NPA Councillors was there and he used the message in his media spots. Clearly the idea was to try and paint the traffic calming and safety measures as some huge conspiracy by Council to exclude all Vancouver residents from using West Point Grey Road, and to create increase property values for the exclusive properties on this street.

Here is Park Board Commissioner John Coupar on Breakfast TV Jan. 20, 2013:You can view the full clip here

Reporter: Why is the bike route and the closure a bad idea?

John Coupar: “Well I think Point Grey Road is for all of Vancouver. You know I am a long time resident and grew up in Dunbar and it was my way of getting to downtown and very often on my way back from downtown and on the weekend with my kids I would stop and visit these parks and you know there is a seniors centre at the other end at Jericho Beach. Access is really important to our parks. That is my biggest concern and I really feel that we could of come up with a solution that would have kept both sides happy. Ah, there were easements that were wide enough here that would have allowed both traffic and a bike lane through here and this to me is just over kill. Ah, we have created some very expensive side yards for the very wealthiest in Vancouver and I think these parks and this road are for all Vancouverites.”

Serious stuff, sounds like seniors won’t be to get to their centre and Commissioner Coupar, won’t be able to “access” the parks with his kids anymore. But this not the case, all the parks and senior centre are still accessible just not by West Point Road. Just like Chilco Street is closed to commuter traffic in the West End.

What Commissioner Coupar does not say is that by doing the traffic calming at MacDonald and West Point Grey Road a whole new park could be created by joining Tatlow and Volunteer Parks. Tatlow Park has creek that has been recently day-lighted and has the potential to be a salmon-bearing stream. Now that two parks are being joined the creek could have access to the ocean and salmon could once again spawn there.

photos of Tatlow Park and Volunteer Park

Seems strange that someone who has the mandate for parks complaining in the media about traffic calming that would allow a new park!

For years the Park Board was trying to purchase property along West Point Grey Road to create continuous seawall around the city. That is why there are a number of little pocket parks along this street. The plan was abandoned as property in this area became just too expensive and the Park Board focused their attention to other areas in the city where the creation of parks would have better value. Given the prohibitive costs along West Point Grey Road, it is exciting that Vancouver will soon have a thriving salmon-bearing creek in a larger park area along this stretch of road that will be accessible to all Vancouver residents.


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