Park-board vice chair Aaron Jasper aims to reduce Stanley Park seawall "conflicts"
Having worked for 15 years as a Gray Line tour guide, Vision Vancouver park-board vice chair Aaron Jasper knows how harrowing the Stanley Park seawall can be during the busy season.
“That was always one of the things,” Jasper told the Straight by phone, referring to the tour stop at the totem poles. “ ‘Okay, folks, there’s the washrooms, and here’s where you get your coffee, and that’s where you get postcards. But if you walk over there, please, please look both ways and be careful, because all I have is a little first-aid kit and a few bandages. So please, please be careful.’ ”
Jasper said he recently took his wife and young daughter for a Mother’s Day brunch at the Boathouse on Kits Beach, where he also noticed what he called “near misses and accidents waiting to happen” on the busy walkway outside the restaurant.
The two-term commissioner and West End resident has put forward a motion to “minimize conflicts” between cyclists, pedestrians, and other nonmotorized users of the 26-kilometre stretch of seawall and pathway that winds around Stanley Park and False Creek. It is up for debate at the May 28 park board meeting on Beach Avenue. In the motion, Jasper is asking that the board direct staff to work with city engineers to “minimize conflict in high volume pedestrian and cyclist interface areas along the seawall”.
Jasper claimed that the motion leads off from an as-yet-unreleased park-board cycling plan commissioned last year, following work by the city bicycle advisory committee.
Non-Partisan Association park commissioner Melissa De Genova told the Straight she found it odd that Jasper was highlighting this area now, especially after he voted in March 2010 in favour of the Cactus Club Cafe replacing the old food concession at English Bay.
“I just think that public consultation is paramount to any decisions that we make,” De Genova said by phone. “And if we are revisiting this, this is something that should have been planned beforehand, before the Cactus Club went in. I think that, unfortunately, the Vision Vancouver park board is doing things backwards.”