Seen today at a sun-drenched Victoria and 33rd!
As part of my research for volume 2 of “The Drive”, I spent yesterday at the City Archives digging up papers on the local provision of social services and the birth of the Grandview Woodland Area Council in the 1960s. I was also checking out documentation on the last gasps of the Grandview Chamber of Commerce which had been the narrative hook throughout volume one.
I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea reading dusty old minutes of long-ago organizations, and studying earnest reports that usually didn’t go anywhere, but I just love it.
I chose to go yesterday because it put me in the right place for the regular Vancouver Historical Society‘s lecture series. Last night it was the splendid Eve Lazarus talking about one of Vancouver’s most flamboyant entrepreneurs, Alvo von Alvensleben. During my researches into the great building boom of 1908-1912, I had come across von Alvensleben, and I was aware he left Vancouver under a cloud at the beginning of the First World War. But Eve filled in a wide range of detail, from his family in Germany, through his investment exploits in Vancouver, to his later life in Seattle. It was a fine talk, a packed room, and a bunch of good friends.
Before the talk began, just before sunset, I took this shot of downtown Vancouver; an unusual view.
The Courier this week has a story about the reservations the Strathcona Residents Association (SRA) have about the unholy haste Vision Vancouver has for demolishing the Georgia Street viaduct. Many of these concerns are shared here in Grandview which will be the dumping ground for all the City’s eastbound traffic if we allow Council to move ahead in support of their developer allies without a comprehensive plan in place.
I wrote a letter to the Courier in support of the SRA’s position:
I am writing in support of the Strathcona Residents’ Association position on the demolition of the the viaducts as discussed in your article. To demolish the viaducts without a comprehensive plan is simply absurd.
Cllr. Meggs’ position that we should demolish and THEN plan is horribly reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote running off the edge of a cliff in the vain hope that gravity will be suspended and not hurl him into the canyon below. But Vancouver is not a cartoon, and a rushed and foolhardy decision to move ahead — primarily to serve the needs of the Aquilini developments around the stadium — could damage the eastern parts of the City for a generation or more.
At a recent public meeting of the Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) of which I am a Director, City engineers explained that the rush to remove the viaducts had caught them by surprise, that they had considered this a project that would take several more years to consider and plan. It is clear, therefore, that immediate demolition of the viaducts is a political decision rather than one that focuses on the traffic and social needs of the community.
To rush this decision today would be as rash as Tom Campbell’s decision to build the viaducts in the first place.
My own position on the viaducts is that they should be re-purposed rather than demolished. But either way, bringing them down without a plan is ridiculous, and clearly exposes Vision’s desire to please their developer pals at whatever cost to our city.