Vancouver park board abandons Kitsilano Beach bike route plans
The Vancouver park board directed staff on Monday to give up on plans for a $2.2 million bike path through Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks.
Photograph by: Ian Lindsay , PNG
Members of the Vancouver park board caved to months of vocal opposition and a citizen-backed lawsuit when they directed staff on Monday to give up on plans for a $2.2 million bike path through Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks.
Rather than pursue a new, separated path, park board staff were told to look at ways to improve safety on the existing route through the parks, said Niki Sharma, the head of the park board, in a news release issued Monday evening.
“We’ve heard clearly from the public that there is significant concern with any proposed changes to Hadden Park,” said Sharma in a written statement. “Tonight, the Park Board gave direction to staff to discontinue proceeding with any options for a new path through (the park).”
The surprise announcement comes after park board consented to a B.C. Supreme Court injunction application in November that prevented it from breaking ground on part of the path until the case could be heard. In its entirety, the path was slated to run from the Vancouver Maritime Museum through to the other side of Kitsilano Pool.
Olympian Howard Kelsey, a member of a coalition to prevent the path, called Monday’s decision “a very pleasant surprise.”
He applauded the efforts of Megan Carvell Davis, who had brought the Supreme Court application, and also members of park board for finding “an amicable solution” to the dispute.
“It was an amazing galvanization of our concerned citizens,” he told The Sun, adding supporters of the effort to block the board’s plans came from across the region. “These are not just Kits Point residents that have their houses there.
These are people that care deeply and passionately about kits beach.”
NPA Commissioner Melissa De Genova said in a Monday press release it was “unfortunate that it took huge public outrage to get to this result. Kits Beach and Hadden Park are unique to Vancouver and I’m happy that we won’t be putting blacktop through our precious green space.”
Sharma said Monday the park board will maintain a commitment to improving safety and enjoyment for both cyclists and pedestrians. But that commitment no longer includes a new path that would complete the city’s Seaside Greenway route from Coal Harbour to Jericho Park.
The funds that had been earmarked for the project will be relocated to “other pedestrian and cycling safety priorities” around the city, said Sharma.