Downtown Vancouver. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Vancouver. Source: Wikimedia Commons

A plan by the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, to open its picturesque city beachfronts at Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach to accommodate RVs during the 2010 Winter Olympics next February is being met with some neighborhood opposition.

The North West Point Grey Home Owners’ Association sent a letter explaining its opposition to Mayor Gregor Robertson dated July 10.

The RV parks and their 365 temporary spaces would create “an eyesore,” the association stated, and complained that there was  “no prior consultation” before the plan was formulated.

Here are excerpts from that letter, as published in Vancouver’s Georgia Straight:

The North West Point Grey Home Owners’ Association, as well as many other residents of the area and other individuals who utilize these parks, cannot endorse the proposal of an RV park for the Olympics in any city park for the following reasons:

  • No prior consultation with residents before proposal formulated – limited distribution of notice sent out after press release.
  • Commercialization of parkland with private RV management company to be in charge.
  • Park board speculation for short-term gain with potential for substantial loss at taxpayers’ expense – no guarantee there is a need for all these sites or that competitive sites are not available.
  • Creation of a precedent for future special events.
  • Lack of power supply thereby creating air and noise pollution from gas-powered generators.
  • Impossibility of enforcement and control of noise and illegal activities with police force committed to Olympic event. security – e.g. control and enforcement are poor even during relatively minor events such as the Folk Festival.
  • Restricted access for RVs in the event of inclement weather and possible mud slides which have occurred because of unstable banks along NW Marine Drive.
  • Impractical distance to venues (other than UBC) and reliance on shuttle service with buses in short supply.
  • Creation of an eyesore – a picturesque drive out to UBC marred by trailers, cars, and “honey wagons.”
  • Scale of site and the increased traffic and noise will have a major impact on public use and several residential areas.

With so many other venues being over budget , could we please be realistic and limit the waste of more funds for the Olympics? Given the history of Olympic cost overruns and Vancouver’s current financial plight, staff should be required to make public a cost-benefit analysis, with detailed breakdown of cost estimates and income, well in advance of a decision by the park board. The costs should include maintenance, cleanup and policing/security, plus the cost of returning the 365 RV spaces to their original (current) state, with sufficient funds sequestered for those purposes as a precondition.

What happened to the promises of consultation and practicality emphasized before the last municipal election?