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New initiative lets Arts Club talent continue to create

1Jul

New initiative lets Arts Club talent continue to create

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Article content

A new initiative from the Arts Club Theatre Company is providing jobs for artists who are out of work due to COVID-19.

The company has created 20 temporary full-time positions for what it’s calling Education and Community Outreach Specialists (ECOS). Filling the positions, which are made possible by the federal government’s emergency wage subsidy program, the Bill Millerd Artist Fund, and private donations, are artists and actors, many of whom were part of cancelled Arts Club shows. They are now tasked with creating digital content, hosting educational workshops online, and connecting with patrons and donors.

We talked to Arts Club artistic director Ashlie Corcoran about the initiative.

Q: You’ve been doing a lot of Zoom calls in your role as AD for the Arts Club. What have you learned about online conferencing?

A: If there’s a large group of people, I tell them they can turn off their camera if they need to, or get up and use the washroom or stretch. Giving people permission to do that is important. With smaller groups of people, I’ll say “Let’s keep this meeting less than 30 minutes, and we’re not going to multi-task, and that we’re really going to listen to each other and get off our screens.” With my artistic team, we’ve been listening to a Brené Brown book about leadership, Dare to Lead. So besides our tactical conversations, we’ve been having a little bit of a book club. That’s been great. She (Brown) gives you a lot of tools to use as a team. We’ve been trying to incorporate those tools to keep our meetings meaningful and communication open.

1Jul

‘Everything will go bad, real fast’: Okanagan cherry harvest faces labour shortages, bad weather | CBC News

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The cherries on Sukhdeep Brar’s 100-acre orchard in Summerland, B.C., are just a few weeks out from ripening. But if he doesn’t manage to find the workers to pick them, they will spoil.

“Everything will go bad, real fast,” said Brar, a 34-year-old, second-generation tree fruit farmer.

Like many growers in the Okanagan Valley, he is desperately searching for pickers. There are fewer available this year because of COVID-19. Some are afraid to travel and others are unable to get to B.C. because of border closures.

“Usually at this point, I have 80 to 90 people call and ask when cherry picking is starting. I think I’ve had four people call,” said Brar. He is now looking to attract locals for the job. 

“We are advertising it as make some money in the morning and hit the beach in the afternoons.”

According to the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, 4,500 migrant labourers are needed every year to work Okanagan fields and orchards. 

Watch | Fruit farmer Sukhdeep Brar explains the struggles the industry is facing:

Fruit farmer Deep Brar is struggling to find enough hands to pick cherries from his B.C. orchards. 0:48

Annually, many farm workers head up from Mexico and the Caribbean. While they’re currently permitted to come into Canada during the pandemic as they are deemed an essential service, the logistics are challenging. 

Roughly 1,500 young backpackers from Quebec also make the annual journey, but fewer have come this year. And some 1,500 backpackers from elsewhere come on travel visas; they will not be able to make it at all.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen estimates that there are 50 per cent fewer farm workers this year overall compared to last year.

It’s the second year cherry picker Lydia Poliquin has traveled to B.C. from Quebec. She says placing the ladder in the right spot is the hardest part but it’s also what makes you efficient at picking the fruit. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Jonathan Desy made the trip from Quebec for his eighth season of cherry picking, but said fewer of his friends made the journey.

“This year there is nobody. Maybe because of COVID or something like that,” he said. 

It’s long been a tradition for students and young people from Quebec to travel across the country and come to B.C. to work the summer months as fruit pickers. The piecemeal work allows them to make good money — if they’re skilled at it. 

Watch | Quebec backpackers describe working conditions on B.C. farms:

About 1,500 people from Quebec usually travel to B.C. to pick fruit every summer, but there are fewer pickers this year.  0:39

Some experienced pickers say they can make up to $2,000 a week, although most people can expect to earn much less. They go to work before the crack of dawn and are usually done by 11 a.m., giving them the chance to enjoy the summer on the lake. 

Too much rain

“It’s really a bad season with the COVID and everything,” said cherry picker Eloïse Dendreon. “It’s hard for farmers and for us, it’s hard because the cherry is not good.”

Cherry picking is piecemeal work, which means pickers get paid based on productivity. The more skilled they are, the more they earn. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

It has been a light crop, and above-average rainfall has severely impacted the fragile fruit this season. Farmers have had to spend thousand of dollars to hire helicopters to dry the cherry trees in hopes of saving them from going bad. 

“Every time it rains and the sun comes out, the cherries split. It causes damage,” said Harman Bahniwal of Krazy Cherry Fruit Company in Oliver, B.C.

When the rain falls, the cherries split and are no longer good enough for market. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

He said the cherries get what are called “nose cracks” and are no longer deemed good enough for market.

“Any spec of rain, they explode, and all that cherry goes to waste,” said Bahniwal, which is why it’s so important to have the labour lined up for those few days when the cherries are ready to pick.

B.C.’s interior tree fruit industry generates $118 million in wholesale revenue and contributes $776 million in economic activity, according to the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association.

The association says the majority of farmers are seeing reduced fruit production and are worried as prices have been depressed for a number of years. It says COVID-19 is only adding more uncertainty and increased costs.

Harman Bahniwal of Krazy Cherry Fruit Company in Oliver, B.C., says it’s been a tough year for cherries, citing too much rain. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

New precautions

Some orchards have built campsites for workers and have increased washroom access and general sanitation to keep the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from spreading between workers. 

But in some cases the backpackers camp on Crown land, which can be difficult to monitor — and it lacks facilities like washrooms and showers.

Every year, nearly 1,500 backpackers from Quebec travel to B.C. to work as fruit pickers in the Okanagan. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The B.C. government announced on June 25 that it will provide funding for districts to build and maintain campsites to keep fruit pickers safe.

In Oliver, B.C., the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen manages a campsite called Loose Bay. It has been given $60,000 to manage safety precautions. Upon entry, all visitors fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire, and the site is overseen by bilingual campground managers.

“We ensure social distancing, including tents, and there are no campfires allowed this year, as they tend to lead to gatherings,” said district chair Karla Kozakevich.

She said they’ve also added more washrooms and hand sanitization stations at the campsite. 

Karla Kozakevich, chair of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, says campgrounds such as Loose Bay have become safer due to new sanitation facilities. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Additionally, the B.C. government has created a mandatory online course in agriculture safety, as it relates to COVID-19, for workers and producers.

There have been worries from some local residents over farm workers coming into the area, especially from Quebec, where coronavirus infection rates are much higher.

So far, there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 among the fruit pickers.

“We welcome them but want them to follow the health steps required, to be respectful in communities they are working — and I have found that they are,” said Kozakevich. 

1Jul

‘Everything will go bad, real fast’: Okanagan cherry harvest faces labour shortages, bad weather | CBC News

by admin

The cherries on Sukhdeep Brar’s 100-acre orchard in Summerland, B.C., are just a few weeks out from ripening. But if he doesn’t manage to find the workers to pick them, they will spoil.

“Everything will go bad, real fast,” said Brar, a 34-year-old, second-generation tree fruit farmer.

Like many growers in the Okanagan Valley, he is desperately searching for pickers. There are fewer available this year because of COVID-19. Some are afraid to travel and others are unable to get to B.C. because of border closures.

“Usually at this point, I have 80 to 90 people call and ask when cherry picking is starting. I think I’ve had four people call,” said Brar. He is now looking to attract locals for the job. 

“We are advertising it as make some money in the morning and hit the beach in the afternoons.”

According to the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, 4,500 migrant labourers are needed every year to work Okanagan fields and orchards. 

Watch | Fruit farmer Sukhdeep Brar explains the struggles the industry is facing:

Fruit farmer Deep Brar is struggling to find enough hands to pick cherries from his B.C. orchards. 0:48

Annually, many farm workers head up from Mexico and the Caribbean. While they’re currently permitted to come into Canada during the pandemic as they are deemed an essential service, the logistics are challenging. 

Roughly 1,500 young backpackers from Quebec also make the annual journey, but fewer have come this year. And some 1,500 backpackers from elsewhere come on travel visas; they will not be able to make it at all.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen estimates that there are 50 per cent fewer farm workers this year overall compared to last year.

It’s the second year cherry picker Lydia Poliquin has traveled to B.C. from Quebec. She says placing the ladder in the right spot is the hardest part but it’s also what makes you efficient at picking the fruit. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Jonathan Desy made the trip from Quebec for his eighth season of cherry picking, but said fewer of his friends made the journey.

“This year there is nobody. Maybe because of COVID or something like that,” he said. 

It’s long been a tradition for students and young people from Quebec to travel across the country and come to B.C. to work the summer months as fruit pickers. The piecemeal work allows them to make good money — if they’re skilled at it. 

Watch | Quebec backpackers describe working conditions on B.C. farms:

About 1,500 people from Quebec usually travel to B.C. to pick fruit every summer, but there are fewer pickers this year.  0:39

Some experienced pickers say they can make up to $2,000 a week, although most people can expect to earn much less. They go to work before the crack of dawn and are usually done by 11 a.m., giving them the chance to enjoy the summer on the lake. 

Too much rain

“It’s really a bad season with the COVID and everything,” said cherry picker Eloïse Dendreon. “It’s hard for farmers and for us, it’s hard because the cherry is not good.”

Cherry picking is piecemeal work, which means pickers get paid based on productivity. The more skilled they are, the more they earn. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

It has been a light crop, and above-average rainfall has severely impacted the fragile fruit this season. Farmers have had to spend thousand of dollars to hire helicopters to dry the cherry trees in hopes of saving them from going bad. 

“Every time it rains and the sun comes out, the cherries split. It causes damage,” said Harman Bahniwal of Krazy Cherry Fruit Company in Oliver, B.C.

When the rain falls, the cherries split and are no longer good enough for market. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

He said the cherries get what are called “nose cracks” and are no longer deemed good enough for market.

“Any spec of rain, they explode, and all that cherry goes to waste,” said Bahniwal, which is why it’s so important to have the labour lined up for those few days when the cherries are ready to pick.

B.C.’s interior tree fruit industry generates $118 million in wholesale revenue and contributes $776 million in economic activity, according to the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association.

The association says the majority of farmers are seeing reduced fruit production and are worried as prices have been depressed for a number of years. It says COVID-19 is only adding more uncertainty and increased costs.

Harman Bahniwal of Krazy Cherry Fruit Company in Oliver, B.C., says it’s been a tough year for cherries, citing too much rain. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

New precautions

Some orchards have built campsites for workers and have increased washroom access and general sanitation to keep the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from spreading between workers. 

But in some cases the backpackers camp on Crown land, which can be difficult to monitor — and it lacks facilities like washrooms and showers.

Every year, nearly 1,500 backpackers from Quebec travel to B.C. to work as fruit pickers in the Okanagan. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The B.C. government announced on June 25 that it will provide funding for districts to build and maintain campsites to keep fruit pickers safe.

In Oliver, B.C., the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen manages a campsite called Loose Bay. It has been given $60,000 to manage safety precautions. Upon entry, all visitors fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire, and the site is overseen by bilingual campground managers.

“We ensure social distancing, including tents, and there are no campfires allowed this year, as they tend to lead to gatherings,” said district chair Karla Kozakevich.

She said they’ve also added more washrooms and hand sanitization stations at the campsite. 

Karla Kozakevich, chair of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, says campgrounds such as Loose Bay have become safer due to new sanitation facilities. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Additionally, the B.C. government has created a mandatory online course in agriculture safety, as it relates to COVID-19, for workers and producers.

There have been worries from some local residents over farm workers coming into the area, especially from Quebec, where coronavirus infection rates are much higher.

So far, there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 among the fruit pickers.

“We welcome them but want them to follow the health steps required, to be respectful in communities they are working — and I have found that they are,” said Kozakevich. 

30Jun

Boiling ramen noodles a weapon in vicious feud between B.C. high school girls | CBC News

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In a girl’s washroom in a British Columbia high school in December 2018, two students faced off.

Both clutched the cell phones which had served to escalate a war between two rival factions of teenage girls in the months leading up to this chance meeting.

But at the end of the confrontation, it was another unlikely object that a provincial court judge would declare a weapon: a boiling hot bowl of ramen noodles that one of the girls — a 14-year-old Grade 9 student named SH — hurled into the chest of the 15-year-old victim.

The details are spelled out in a youth court judgment that provides a vivid window into teen violence, the insidious power of social media to stoke and fuel resentments, and the efforts of high school administrators to address behaviour they’re largely powerless to police.

And in trying to apply the law to the complex facts underlying a teenaged feud, Judge Judith Doulis was also asked to consider whether the accused had acted in self-defence as she claimed, as a zombie-like automaton, powerless to control or remember her actions.

SH was convicted of assault and assault with a weapon last week in a B.C. provincial court for an attack that left the victim — MVT — in need of skin grafts after suffering second and third-degree burns.

Beset by ‘bro fights’

The names of the students, the high school, the teachers and even the community where the incident occurred have been removed from the court decision in an effort to protect the identity of SH.

According to Doulis’ decision, in the months leading up to the incident, the school had been “beset by a spate of ‘bro fights’ or consensual ‘friendly fights’ which were popular on YouTube at the time.

In the months leading up to the confrontation, the high school was beset by problems with “bro fights” and cyberbullying. (CBC)

Administrators thought ‘bro fights’ were dangerous and had suspended students — male and female — for engaging in them. At the same time, Doulis says cyberbullying was also a problem.

“Using various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snap Chat, the offending students published comments intended to denigrate, intimidate or humiliate their nemesis,” the judge writes.

“Unfortunately, the school administrators had limited jurisdiction to deal with the communications if they occurred off … premises.”

She ‘wanted to kick MVT’s ass’

Animosity between SH’s group and the faction including MVT dated back two years. It had rec​​​​​​ently expanded to include the younger sisters of both girls, whose “friendship soured over a boy.”

Members of SH’s group accused MVT through social media posts of having lip injections and being fat. They wrote “Nobody likes you MVT.”

And MVT wrote posts to SH’s younger sister, referencing a ‘bro fight’ and saying: “Come at me next.”

Both factions accused each other of bullying. MVT’s parents, both teachers at the school, advised MVT to steer clear of SH and her group.

Two rival factions of teenage girls taunted each other through posts on social media in the months leading up to the assault. (Shutterstock)

Things came to a head after a school-wide assembly held to confront the problem of bro-fighting once and for all. SH’s friends sent her messages saying other girls were laughing at her and accusing her of hiding.

SH flew into the vice-principal’s office to say she wanted to “kick MVT’s ass.”

The vice-principal told SH to calm down and return to class. Instead, she got a cup of noodles from her locker, filled it with boiling water and went to the girls’ washroom, where she set the noodles on the counter to cool and began texting her friends.

That’s when MVT had to go to the bathroom.

‘Your ugly face’

SH started laughing as MVT walked through the door. MVT asked her what was so funny.

“SH replied. ‘Your ugly face,'” the judge wrote.

SH pulled out her phone. MVT did the same.

The judge in the case found that instant ramen noodles could be considered a weapon if they were used to kill, injure, attack, threaten or intimidate. (Elsie Hui / Flickr)

Both started recording each other. SH posted a video of their encounter to Snap Chat, which was seen by a friend. The friend asked if she was needed and rushed out of class to join them in the bathroom. She witnessed what happened next as MVT and SH traded insults and profanities. The video was also played in court.

“You say I get lip injection, butt injections, you make fun of my family, for no reason,” MVT said.

“Who said? Who said?” SH said.

“I have screen shots,” MVT replied.

The back and forth escalated, as SH continued to text. She then picked up her cup of noodles, and threw it toward MVT and her camera.

Covered in noodles, MVT rushed at SH and the two girls fell to the floor. 

SH claimed she was “just getting triggered and triggered and triggered.” She also said she remembered grabbing the noodles, but “blacked out” and had no memory of throwing them.

An offensive blow

In assessing the facts of the case, Doulis had to consider whether a bowl of hot ramen noodles could even count as a weapon.

As it turns out, any object can constitute a weapon if someone uses it to “kill, injure, attack, threaten or intimidate someone else.”

The judge rejected SH’s claim that she acted involuntarily. The teenager provided no evidence to support the idea that some disorder had left her an automaton. 

Doulis found that SH did perceive MVT as a threat, given the culture of bullying among female students at the school and their past history. But the judge said she believed SH had thrown the noodles “as an offensive not a defensive strike.”

“She was angry and frustrated at MVT’s harangue,” the judge said.

SH has yet to be sentenced. 

29Jun

Vancouver man with dementia has been missing for one year

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Article content

The Vancouver Police Department has re-issuing a public plea for help in finding a 62-year-old Vancouver man who went missing from his assisted-living home one year ago.

David Sullivan, who has dementia and Type 2 diabetes, was last seen June 27, 2019.

“His disappearance was highly unusual and despite extensive efforts, police have found no sign of him,” said VPD spokesperson Sgt. Aaron Roed.  “We are appealing for the assistance of anyone who may have information on his disappearance. Understandably, his family and friends are desperate for answers.”

David Sullivan, who has dementia and Type 2 diabetes, was last seen June 27, 2019. VPD handout

In a security camera image captured two days after he was last seen, Sullivan was wearing a red-and-white checkered short-sleeve shirt, brown pants and carrying a blue gym bag.

He is described as a white man, bald, and around 5-feet-11 with a heavy build.

Anyone with information about Sullivan’s whereabouts can call the Vancouver police missing persons unit at-604 717-2533.

23Jun

Buying local, buying fresh flourishing in Cowichan Valley

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People in the Cowichan Valley and Victoria will have better, safer access to fresh home-delivered, locally grown produce and products, thanks to a Job Creation Partnership project funded by the provincial government.

The Cowichan Valley Co-Operative Marketplace (Cow-op), a non-profit farmer and food processor co-operative, will receive nearly $100,000 to develop a contactless home delivery system while supporting farmers and processors in the region. Two local eligible job seekers will have the opportunity to build transferable skills in logistics, operations and community engagement until May 2021.

“The past few months have highlighted the importance of food security, as well as adaptability to deliver food from farm to table during COVID-19,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Looking forward, Cow-op’s innovative contactless home delivery system will provide training and work experience for two local individuals, while developing a safe way to deliver fresh, healthy food to buyers and supporting farmers to grow and sell their products sustainably.”

Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, said: “I’m pleased to see that the Cow-op marketplace will continue to build on their model of providing fresh local food from field to front door. This service directly supports the health and well-being of families in the agriculture business and those who enjoy their products, and helps build food security and resiliency in Cowichan.”

The Cow-op is an initiative of the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace in partnership with Cowichan Green Community. It has been providing an online marketplace for locally grown and harvested food since 2014.

“When the main sales avenues for local farmers disappeared during the pandemic, the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace and its online farmers market, Cow-op.ca, became a lifeline for them,” said Derrick Pawlowski, executive director, Cow-op.ca. “We are thrilled to provide a wide range of experiences to participants and hopefully will inspire more passionate work in the sectors of food security, natural resources and agriculture, and sales and services.”

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing the funding to Cow-op through the Job Creation Partnership stream of WorkBC’s Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP).

Quick Facts:

  • Over $19 million was invested in CEP projects around B.C. in 2019-20.
  • CEP’s goal is to increase employment and work experience opportunities in communities throughout B.C.

Learn More:

Learn more about how WorkBC can help find British Columbians jobs that are right for them: www.workbc.ca/rightforyou

Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace: https://cow-op.ca/

21Jun

Coalition calls for B.C.’s COVID-19 $300 disability top-up to be made permanent

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VANCOUVER —
A coalition of groups representing people with disabilities and people living in poverty is calling for a temporary income supplement to be made permanent.

According to a survey conducted by the coalition, people who got the extra money have used it to buy healthy food, get out of debt and avoid “extreme rationing at the end of the month.”

On April 2, the B.C. government announced an extra $300 for people who receive disability benefits or welfare payments. The top-up was part of emergency supports provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is temporary and is only available for three months. The extra $300 is only for those who were not eligible for the federal emergency support programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

In a petition on Change.org, the coalition says many people with disabilities are immunocompromised and cannot return to normal activities as quickly as many other British Columbians. According to the petition, COVID-19 is pushing up costs for people with disabilities, an effect they expect to persist for some time.

“We continue to face added financial pressures, including delivery fees, increased utility bills from staying home, telecommunications costs, and alternatives to now-inaccessible medical care and home supports,” the petition says.

“Until a vaccine is developed, we face a new reality of living with COVID-19.”

Many people living on income assistance were already struggling to pay rising costs for food, rent and basic necessities, according to the coalition. Based on a survey of 260 people who received the $300 top-up, people spent the money on healthy food, medication and therapy, housing costs, and avoiding having to choose which bills to pay at the end of the month.

Some also said the extra money prevented “extreme rationing and starvation at the end of the month” and allowed them to “temporarily stop engaging in survival sex work to make ends meet,” according to the petition.

The petition has a goal of 2,500 signatures and has currently gotten 2,063 responses.

Without the $300 top-up, a single person receiving disability payments gets $808.42 a month, according to the B.C. government.

A single person on income assistance receives $385 a month.

20Jun

Campaign wants B.C. to keep $300 supplement after COVID-19 crisis ends

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Article content continued

Brent Frain and Sonjia Grandahl, roommates in Langley who both receive the disability benefit, have been independently advocating for the “300 to Live” campaign on social media.

Grandahl said the $300 is changing people’s lives.

“We’re living in a real state of poverty right now and with this COVID, everything has gone up in price,” Grandahl said. “(The supplement has) just helped out tremendously and we would like to keep it that way.”

Frain and Grandahl both said they’ve been able to buy healthier groceries, afford medications and worry less about their rent, which alone accounts for 59 per cent of their incomes.

The $300 supplement has meant people can live with dignity and finally afford accessibility equipment, too, Frain said.

“We want to make it permanent because the rates have been suppressed for so long,” he said.

— With files from The Canadian Press

neagland@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/nickeagland

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19Jun

Don’t forget about kids: An open letter for children and youth during pandemic recovery

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Article content continued

The letter recommends six priorities for the task force, including:

1. Urgent action toward eliminating child poverty and toxic stress, which have been magnified by the pandemic and the pandemic response.

2. Addressing systemic discrimination and racism in public policy and service delivery that causes many children and youth to fall further through the cracks.

3. Prioritizing funding for accessible crisis and mental health supports for children, youth and parents, especially those with added challenges, including disability, family separation, and foster care.

4. Adherence to our commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including equitable access to outdoor play, learning and connection, as these are evidence-based supports for attachment, emotional regulation, cognitive development, and mental health.

19Jun

Vancouver park board votes to ease traffic restrictions in Stanley Park

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Article content continued

“We are joining Stanley Park businesses’ calls to remove uncertainty and restore broader accessibility to the park so customers can return and businesses can begin to recover. Moving forward, there should be a consultative and collaborative approach to working with the business community to improve environmentally friendly and low-carbon options to access the park.”

The Teahouse restaurant, which has been operating in Stanley Park for more than 40 years, has argued against a proposal to eliminate one of the two lanes of roadway and reduce available parking in Stanley Park.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest crisis we’ve faced in 100 years, and we need normalcy rather than uncertainty,” said The Teahouse owner Brent Davies.

“The changes to Stanley Park are being made during an unprecedented time without consideration of the additional impact they will have. Reduced vehicle access and parking will be detrimental to employees and park goers.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry has backed the five members of the park board who don’t necessarily want to go back to the way it was pre-pandemic, saying she would be in favour of encouraging active transportation.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

-with files from Gord McIntyre

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