Posts Tagged "Vancouver"

28Jul

Vancouver city councillor wants temporary restaurant, bar patios made permanent | CBC News

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A Vancouver city councillor wants to make the temporary patios that have popped up outside restaurants, cafes, bars and breweries during the COVID-19 pandemic a permanent fixture in the city every summer. 

Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung says she’s filed a draft motion to Vancouver city council asking staff to report back on the results of the city’s Temporary Expedited Patio Program, as well as options to have an annual seasonal patio program. 

“I think it’s something that people would like to see stick around,” Kirby-Yung said.

“We’ve unleashed an appetite for much more creative, people-focused use of our public space, and I’d like to see that continue.”

260 patios approved

The city started accepting applications for the temporary patios on June 1, after the provincial government decided to allow businesses like restaurants, cafés and breweries to apply to expand their service licenses.

The province recognized the need to help the hard hit restaurant industry recover from the pandemic. The wider service area was not meant to increase occupancy levels, but to allow for physical distancing. 

Local governments were tasked with approving the patio requests, and since then, more than 260 patios have popped up throughout Vancouver. 

Motion to be reviewed on Sept. 15 

In addition to the social aspects of more patios, Kirby-Yung said they have been a lifeline for the city’s struggling restaurant sector. 

“They said they just couldn’t have made the numbers work with the physical distancing requirements if they had been limited to their indoor spaces,” Kirby-Yung said.

“This is something that has honestly kept them going.”

Ian Tostenson, president of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said it makes “complete sense.”
 
“Business likes certainty and as a result they will be able to build patio sales into their business plan in the future,” Tostenson said.
 


 
As far as opposition goes, Kirby-Yung says she’s heard little pushback besides some accessibility concerns that have more to do with items like bicycles resting near the patios, which have to be taken down every day. 
 
The motion also proposes a review of the nine pop-up plazas across the city that provide commons-style gathering and eating spaces.

Kirby-Yung says the motion will be reviewed during a Sept. 15 meeting following the council’s summer break.

For now, people can enjoy Vancouver’s new patios until the end of October, when the current licenses expire. 

23Jul

Discount Flair Airlines launching flights from Victoria to Vancouver

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Flair Airlines is returning to Victoria.

The discount airline announced Thursday it will offer flights to Vancouver starting Aug. 23.

There are options for connections to several other Canadian airports, including the resource centres of Prince George and Fort McMurray, as well as Saskatoon and Regina — all new destinations also announced on Thursday.

The Edmonton-based airline, which is using four Boeing 737-800 jets, also flies to Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Kelowna.

Jim Scott, chief executive of Flair, called the return to Victoria “a much-anticipated” move.

“We continuously receive requests from our passengers to service these communities,” Scott said in a statement.

“Many of these areas are experiencing reduced accessibility, and we know that Canadians need affordable air fares now more than ever. We are committed to supporting these communities across the country as they safely reopen to travel.”

15Jul

Vancouver reopens crucial community facilities in the Downtown Eastside

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The City of Vancouver has re-opened three crucial community facilities that had reduced services months ago in response to COVID-19.

The Carnegie and Evelyne Saller Community Centres have reopened in the Downtown Eastside, the city said Wednesday in a news release, along with the Gathering Place Community Centre in Downtown Vancouver. All are now providing drop-in space and increased washroom access between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day.

The facilities, which mainly serve the city’s vulnerable and homeless population, have been inspected by health officials and approved for reopening. Drop-in space will be limited because of capacity restrictions.

“Reopening these community centres is a very positive step as they provide much-needed services and social connections for many of our residents,” said Sandra Singh, the City’s General Manager of Arts, Culture and Community Services.

“While the centres will look and feel different than prior to COVID-19, we are looking forward to welcoming community members back in modified ways and offering services such as access to wifi and mobile programming,” said Singh.

This is the first phase of reopening, while additional programs and services will be available in the coming months.

Timings for meals, laundry and showers can be found here.

14Jul

Vote on overnight camping in Vancouver parks pushed to 2nd day as dozens sign up to speak

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VANCOUVER —
After an hours-long discussion on whether to allow overnight camping in many of Vancouver’s green spaces, the meeting has been pushed to a second day, with the city’s park board expected to vote Tuesday night.

A special Vancouver Park Board meeting was planned for Monday to consider bylaw changes allowing temporary camping in many of the city’s parks. 

But as nearly 90 people signed up to speak on the controversial issue, the meeting had to be extended into Tuesday. 

A report, authored by the board’s general manager, recommends “the Parks Control Bylaw be amended to allow people to erect temporary overnight shelter in a park when they have no other housing or shelter options.”  

Under the proposed changes, campers would be expected to pack up their tents by 8 a.m. and, if approved, washroom facilities and storage options would then be arranged by the board.

Some people living at the park told CTV News it’ll be hard to meet those requirements, as people would be required to carry or store their belongings throughout the day. 

The report also recommends the designation of authorized parks for overnight camping, which would have to be 25 metres from schools and playgrounds, avoid sensitive environmental features, protect green spaces and support public use of fields, pools, and other amenities.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and nearly 50 people are still signed up to speak. 

Encampments on the move

Dozens have set up tents in East Vancouver’s Strathcona Park after two other encampments were ordered to clear out. 

A long-term tent city in Oppenheimer Park was directed to move in May, as officials cited concerns of the possible spread of COVID-19. But just hours later, a new tent city popped in in a parking lot near CRAB Park.  

That encampment was cleared in June, which is when tenters relocated to Strathcona Park. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Penny Daflos and Alissa Thibault 

12Jul

Vancouver police left to untangle wig theft mystery

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The security camera footage shows a man in a hoodie attempting to throw a chunk of concrete through a storefront.

His first attempt misses, but the second shatters the glass front door. He enters the store with a buddy. Minutes later, both dash out with armfuls of hair.

Vancouver’s latest wig store break-in, on June 3, marked the fifth time in as many years that thieves have made off with hair. It’s the second time Jo Hair Studio has been hit since March, said Elise Murphy, manager of the Cambie Street salon, which sells wigs and hair extensions made from hair sourced from Europe and Brazil.

“I’ve been watching Craigslist to see if they show up,” she said.

On the surface, wig theft may be a bit of head-scratcher, but growing demand and the high cost of high-quality wigs may provide an explanation. Vancouver police estimate the cost of the wigs, hair extensions and hair toppers stolen from Jo Hair Studio in June to be about $45,000.

10Jul

Vancouver park board staff drafts rules for overnight homeless camping in city parks | CBC News

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Vancouver Park Board staff have drafted proposed bylaw changes that would allow homeless people to camp overnight in city parks. 

According to a staff report, a rising number of people have been seeking temporary shelter in parks and public spaces due to the ongoing homelessness crisis in Vancouver, impacting public access to park space and amenities.

In July 2019, staff say they were directed to report back on options to manage camping and encampments in parks.

Staff is now recommending several amendments to sections of the Parks Control Bylaw, which restrict temporary shelter in parks.

Ban on shelters unconstitutional

The report cites a 2009 B.C. Supreme Court ruling which established that preventing a homeless person from putting up a tent for overnight shelter breaches their constitutional rights. As such, staff say several park board bylaws are unconstitutional, including: 

  • Remaining in a park after posted hours (Section 3b).
  • Taking up temporary abode overnight (Section 10).
  • Erecting any tent or shelter without permission (Section 11).

Park staff are proposing the Parks Control Bylaw be amended to allow people to erect temporary overnight shelters in parks “when they have no other housing or shelter options.” 

The relevant sections would be modified to allow for temporary shelters, with guidance on where they can be erected, what restrictions apply and how the space can be used. 

The report recommends that shelters only be permitted overnight and be removed each morning, that is dusk to 7 a.m., with an extra hour for cleanup, unless the park board general manager designates an area for temporary daytime shelter.

Shelter restrictions

Staff say they have identified several areas where shelters would not be allowed:

  • On or within a beach, pond, lake or dock, trail, bridge, seawall, roadway or park entrance.
  • Natural area.
  • Flowerbed or horticultural display area.
  • Pool or water park.
  • Sports field, sports court or golf course.
  • Community centre or fieldhouse.
  • Bleacher, stage, gazebo, public monument, picnic area, picnic shelter or washroom. 
  • Designated off-leash dog area.
  • Designated special event area.
  • Within  25 metres of playgrounds and schools. 

Other restrictions include:

  • A footprint no greater than nine square metres.
  • No campfires, lighted candles, propane lanterns or stoves or similar devices.
  • Shelters cannot be left unattended.
  • Shelters can’t be used to sell goods or conduct business without the permission of the park board. 

The amendments were supposed to be reviewed at a special board meeting in March 2020, but the meeting was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The special meeting will now take place July 13, 2020.

10Jul

Overnight homeless camping recommended to Vancouver Park Board

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VANCOUVER —
One of the most controversial and persistent issues in Vancouver has entered a new phase after the Vancouver Park Board announced a special meeting to receive a new staff report suggesting bylaw changes to allow campers to put down stakes in parks overnight.

A report, authored by the board’s general manager, recommends “the Parks Control Bylaw be amended to allow people to erect temporary overnight shelter in a park when they have no other housing or shelter options.”

Under the proposed changes, campers would be expected to pack up their tents by 8 a.m. and, if approved, washroom facilities and storage options would then be arranged by the board.

The report also recommends the designation of authorized parks for overnight camping, which would have to be 25 metres from schools and playgrounds, avoid sensitive environmental features, protect green spaces and support public use of fields, pools, and other amenities.

Dozens of homeless campers have set up tents in East Vancouver’s Strathcona Park in recent weeks after dozens were arrested under judicial authorization for refusing to leave an encampment parking lot owned by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority next to CRAB Park. Before that, they’d been forced from a long-term tent city at Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside under a ministerial order driven in large part by concerns the COVID-19 pandemic could spread like wildfire.

Read more: Police arrest dozens of people for refusing to leave camp near CRAB Park

It notes that the Vancouver Board of Parks and recreation has a duty to all park users, including those who are experiencing homelessness, which is describes as a crisis.

It also includes a chart showing there’s been a 625 per cent increase in ranger calls since 2015, a rate that’s surged in lockstep with the growth in the number of temporary structures in parks.

“When temporary structures erected as shelters remain in parks for extended periods of time, particularly if in concentrated numbers, the resulting encampments can impede community use of much needed public green spaces; result in the accumulation of debris and human waste; and create opportunities for increased violence and health risks,” says the report.

While the park board was reluctant to remove campers from Oppenheimer Park, the province announced that the need to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission was of vital importance, so government bought hotels to house 261 people. Others were offered housing at social housing facilities. Not everyone has accepted the accommodations offered.

The report to park board commissioners also emphasizes that “Although the Parks Control By-law does not permit people to remain in parks overnight, or to erect temporary structures, these bylaws have not been enforced as the BC Supreme Court ruled that any bylaws prohibiting homeless people from erecting temporary shelters and sleeping in city parks would be a Charter right violation given the lack of adequate shelter capacity for individuals experiencing homelessness.“

Commissioners will hear a staff presentation and debate the report at a special meeting on July 13 at 6 p.m.

8Jul

Pride crosswalk defaced by tire tracks in West Vancouver, police say

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VANCOUVER —
West Vancouver police are investigating after they say the department’s new Pride crosswalk was defaced with tire markings.

Police say staff inside the station heard a “loud and sustained” tire squealing on Tuesday afternoon just after 4 p.m. Officers later found that someone had left tire marks across part of the rainbow crosswalk, which is located at 16th Street and Esquimalt Avenue.

The car left the area at a high rate of speed and was not located, according to police.

The vehicle was captured on CCTV footage, and investigators are now looking for a 1999 to 2004 black Ford Mustang. It has red racing stripes on the top and sides, as well as a roof spoiler and hood scoop.

Police believe there were two people inside the car.

“This is very upsetting,” Const. Kevin Goodmurphy said in a statement. “For whatever reason, this person has chosen to leave a gesture of hate on a crosswalk that stands for the exact opposite.”

Goodmurphy says they have had “nothing but support” from the community after the crosswalk was installed and believes that represents the majority.=

Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to contact West Vancouver police at 604-925-7300.

29Jun

Vancouver man with dementia has been missing for one year

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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.

19Jun

Vancouver park board votes to ease traffic restrictions in Stanley Park

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“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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