DELTA (NEWS 1130) — A woman from Delta planning to get married at Prospect Point this summer is worried her guests will be forced to shuttle into Stanley Park because of a temporary bike lane that could eliminate some parking spots.
The Vancouver Park Board voted Wednesday to limit vehicles on a stretch of Park Drive to allow more space for cyclists.
Sarah Kornder says that decision doesn’t mean she will cancel her August wedding, but her frustration level is high.
“The City of Vancouver has catered too much to cyclists. I can cross the street in Kits or downtown and some cyclist blows a light and they get mad at me when they were in the wrong. Why do they need so much more space?”
She says the fact that she’s only allowed to invite 50 guests to her wedding reception has already put a damper on the day. Now, they won’t have anywhere to park.
“It would be nice if they would consider ‘Maybe we’ll close the bike lane early.’ My other alternative is just to give my guests a lot of notice. Here’s the few spots that are right outside the restaurant and here’s the next closest lot. The restaurant has a shuttle service they use at the end of the night and I would probably negotiate that into my contract for getting my guests from the start of the park into the restaurant.”
Kornder says, when she booked the venue last summer, it was clear business was slow.
“In a normal year, it is busy and filled to the brim with customers and all of that, but last year, you could see just the difference that it had made. Whether it was just COVID or the bike lane or both, we were maybe one of five sets of customers in the restaurant and they have capacity for, like, 80 to 100.”
In a statement emailed to NEWS 1130, Park Board staff say they are working closely with restaurants to maximize stalls available for cars, but when the temporary bike lane first went up last year, they confirmed numerous parking spaces were lost.
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Lawyer Wally Oppal, who’s again threatening legal action on behalf of the Prospect Point Bar and Grill, says the lack of consultation with the public is disturbing.
“Why do we even have a park board? We’re the only city in Canada that I know of that has a separate park board. Why doesn’t city council take responsibility to manage the parks in the city?” he asks.
“[The park board) doesn’t give a damn about what the public thinks. They have their own agenda. They’re ideologues and they go about their own way. The city has to take a look at the larger question of whether the City of Vancouver needs a park board particularly, when I think the park board — and other people think the park board — is abusive when it comes to public participation and public input.”
The former Attorney General of B.C. and prominent judge also says repeated calls from the people he’s now representing to park administrators have never been returned.
“Our client has a legitimate concern about what goes on in the park board. They don’t return calls. They’re not concerned about any public input that may differ from their own agenda. I don’t want to see needless acrimony where we don’t pave to have acrimony. Prospect Point restaurant is an iconic landmark. When the tour buses come through there, they always go and stop at Prospect Point, so people can get out and take photos. That’s not possible now with what the park Board is doing.”
In a statement released by the park board Thursday, Chair Camil Dumont said, “The main driver of this is a realization that we need to de-centre the automobile, culturally and from our way of life, and that’s a very difficult thing to do and it comes with a lot of challenges. We need to reduce our dependency on cars and encourage cleaner modes of transportation.”
He’s also suggesting the new bike path “will not be the same as last year’s bike path in Stanley Park. Lessons learned from last year on accessibility, parking improvements, route configurations, and barrier options will all be studied and staff will work with stakeholders, fire and rescue services, and traffic management experts to make adjustments and improvements accordingly.”
Last year’s temporary closure of the park to vehicles lasted between April 8th and June 22nd. One traffic lane remained closed on Park Drive until September 25th.