News 1130, Dec 2, 2014 – …Stanley Park Causeway

Ecology society hopes any changes to the Stanley Park Causeway won’t damage the park

Alison Bailey and Simon Druker December 2, 2014 10:03 am

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – An open house is being held this afternoon to get your thoughts on potential safety improvements along the Stanley Park Causeway.

Critics have been pushing for changes after a cyclist died a year and a half ago when she fell off the curb and into traffic.

But some worry about the potential environmental impacts of such changes. One of those groups is Stanley Park Ecology Society.

“We’ve been grateful to be in on the dialogues that have been happening over the last year and a half towards mitigating those concerns,” says Patricia Thomson with the society.

“But the concerns include the need to minimize the loss of any and all of veteran trees. I would mitigate the impacts of increased asphalt expansion. Any work that’s done along the causeway needs to be light-handed in how the work is done. [We need to work on] how to minimize and mitigate those impacts and compensating, in an ecological sense, where there is otherwise a net loss to the greenspace of the park.”

She adds the local cyclist community is very strong-voiced, which she thinks is great. “We recognize the need for safety and security. But we recognize as well that solutions that can be a win-win don’t automatically mean that we need to double the width of the sidewalk.”

“It could mean that there’s a creative balance of solutions, [such as] building the fence between the vehicle and pedestrians/cyclists and working to adjust behaviours — having some respect for speed by cyclists, for example, especially on the southbound route into the park on the downhill side.”

“[Widen] the sidewalk only when it’s absolutely necessary,” she suggests.

“[We want to be] making sure that non-native invasive plants are not introduced in the process,” notes Thomson. “It’s strategically ensuring that water runoff from any increased hard surfaces best serves the watershed needs of the whole park. Build in escape routes for small mammals that all too often get trapped against the high curbs on the road bed. Retaining walls are a means to safeguard hillside trees, rather than cutting back the edging. These are some of the mitigation factors that we’ll continue to work towards.”

Today’s open house will take place at the Coal Harbour Community Centre from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.