Bus stop versus parklet: Potential outdoor space overlooking Vancouver’s English Bay stirs controversy

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      The West End Business Improvement Association is thinking of a new parklet in the Vancouver neighbourhood.

      Parklets are landscaped platforms that enliven public spaces.

      They extend from the sidewalk on to the street, providing free public seating for people to relax and enjoy the city.

      This potential parklet that the West End BIA is looking to have on Davie Street near Jervis Street is quite special.

      It’s going to sit on a hill on the sunny side of the street, where people can look out to English Bay.

      “You could actually see down Davie, and catch a glimpse of the ocean,” the business association’s executive director, Stephen Regan, told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

      From the parklet, visitors can also see Stanley Park and mountains on the North Shore, according to Regan.

      “It would be a bit of a gateway into the Davie Village from English Bay,” Regan said.

      But as Regan acknowledged, the potential parklet isn’t being looked at with much favour by a number of seniors in the West End.


      The parklet is going to displace a westbound bus stop.

      If the parklet gets built, it means that people using the bus stop would have to walk more distance to where they’re going.

      “Of course, they weren't really happy,” Regan said about the seniors who attended a public meeting about the parklet idea on Tuesday (February 11) at the Gordon Neighbourhood House.

      Regan stressed that the West End BIA doesn’t have any firm plans yet for the parklet.

      “One suggestion was, well, why don’t you move it to 40 feet west towards English Bay? Maybe that's the solution,” Regan said.

      The West End BIA is working with the City of Vancouver, which has a program encouraging parklets in partnership with businesses, nonprofits, and business associations.

      The business association is also coordinating with TransLink because the potential location involves doing away with a bus stop.

      According to Regan, the parklet will not only make a section of Davie Street “a little bit more attractive, more appealing”.

      Regan said that it’s part of a bigger vision for Davie Village, which is to create a cluster of parklets and outdoor patios that will cement the area’s character as a fun place.

      There are two existing parklets on Davie Street between Thurlow and Bute streets.

      Ann Hunter is 76 years old, and she attended the public meeting about the potential parklet on February 11.

      The long-time resident of the West End believes that taking away the bus stop is “ludicrous”.

      According to Hunter, the move will make it harder for seniors to access places where they need to go.

      These include the nearby St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Jervis Street, where is an advocacy centre that helps people with their different needs.

      “We don't mind flowers. We don't mind the chairs, you know, outside, but don't take away the bus stop,” Hunter told the Straight by phone.

      According to Hunter, the situation will be more difficult for people with disabilities.

      “It’s just an inconvenience,” Hunter said.

      Hunter said that she told the West End BIA at the meeting that the organization is “not thinking of the human side of it”.

      “How many people have to suffer…when you just want to put in something where people can sit?” Hunter said.

      According to Regan of the West End BIA, there are bus stops before and after the one on Davie Street at Jervis Street, where a parklet may go.

      These bus stops are on Davie Street near the corners of Bute and Broughton streets.