Is Grandview Park a “No Go” Area?

There was a very interesting and well-attended ZOOM meeting of the Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) last night. Most of the meeting was concerned with the concerns of the BIA and its members over security and safety concerns on the Drive.

The BIA and some merchants discussed what they see as ever-increasing numbers of “aggressive” pan-handlers, open drug and alcohol use, homeless people sleeping in shop doorways and on the street, illegal vending, and general lawlessness. They say the problem is now “critical”. There is no doubt about their concern, even though the statistics given at the meeting from the Community Policing Office for early October would indicate that Grandview suffered a tiny number of serious crimes; far fewer than most other neighbourhoods.

They are calling for significantly increased police, by-law officer, and Park Ranger patrols.

The most shocking claim was that Grandview Park — the central hub of the Drive — has been “abandoned” by the City and is now considered a “no go” area for police and Rangers.

There has been no official discussion about that, so far as I know, and I was rather surprised to hear it. I go by and through the Park most days and I don’t see a lot of change; it has been a daytime gathering place — and informal marketplace — for homeless and poor people for a very long time. There were a few tents a little while ago but that was settled by Rangers and offers of housing by a Kettle outreach worker. Perhaps the issues of violence and intimidation happen in the evenings when I rarely visit.

It would be good to hear an official police view on the status of the Park.

Other than increased police patrols, the BIA is proposing to convene a stakeholders’ group to discuss what demands they should present to Council for an improvement in the overall situation. They recognize that many of the issues are mental health related and they are keen to involve agencies of all kinds with the proposed group to ensure that a well-rounded approach is taken.

On other matters, the BIA estimated that local restaurants, bars, etc., have lost 50-75% of revenues due to covid and covid-related restrictions this year, while general retailing has fallen by 30-50% in the same period. They are concerned that any move to shut down non-essential businesses will create a cascading level of closures on the Drive.

4 Responses to Is Grandview Park a “No Go” Area?

  1. Dorothy Barkley says:

    With regards to the reporting of incidents of vandalism, it has been my finding that the majority of people do not report those crimes that they have suffered because “nothing will be done”. I have had a variety of thefts and damages over the years and always report them, then send out an alert to neighbours in the community. Invariably i hear back from people who have suffered similarly but don’t report it.

    I also hear unsolicited complaints from friends & community members about vandalism they have experienced and, again, they do not bother to report the incidents.

    Based on my experience reporting such incidents, the police have arrived hours later, taken down the details and that is the last I ever hear of it. In one incident of back yard theft, the police promised they would immediately patrol the neighbourhood looking for both the vandals and the stolen goods. Again I did not hear back but found my bar stool (to which an expensive bicycle had been locked) left at the corner the following morning; bicycle never seen again.

    My point being, given the amount of street disorder, there is a great deal of pessimism in so far as the reporting of residential incidents.

  2. John Payzant says:

    Yes

    Victory Square is no-go

    Walked around Stanley Park Seawall

    Asked persons making sure people distance

    Brought up Victory Square

    They said no-go

    Grandview Park

    People hang out

    Drink Beer

    By ear memorial

    Sell things

    They behave

    Is less tents

  3. Diana Sandberg says:

    I moved into the Grandview neighbourhood 15 years ago, and my car was broken into within the first month. It’s happened twice since, both times when something possibly valuable was carelessly left visible. There have been people sleeping in doorways and living rough for at least most of that time as well. At the same time, I have found that my neighbours *and* a lot of the folks who just kind of “hang out” near my house are both watchful and protective of our neighbourhood. I am personally acquainted with some of the homeless folks and try to help them to the extent I am able. I feel basically quite safe. I am not aware of any greater threat lately, but then, I rarely leave my house, being in the vulnerable category.

  4. John Payzant says:

    It’s an older inner-city area. More goes on. One has to be more careful.

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