Surely, there must be someone, somewhere who’s against creating a downtown place for people. But as Emily Jackson chronicles in Vancouver Metro, this group of voices in favour is well-placed and loud.
Response to the idea has been largely positive thus far, a reaction that’s far from the “war against the car” and cries that rang out when the city eliminated driving lanes to build a bike lane on Hornby in 2010. Businesses also feared that the loss of traffic and parking would hurt sales.
But the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association has evolved in the past five years and is a fan of the idea, CEO Charles Gauthier said.
He was “pleasantly surprised” to get fairly unanimous positive feedback on the plaza from neighbouring building owners, with the caveat that the space must be programmed and needs a stewardship committee.
“It is a magnet. On a human scale, it just provides this unique place in the heart of the city for festivals, events and, yes, protest,” he said.
On top of that, in the DVBIA’s own survey to reimagine downtown, 11,000 respondents were vastly in favour of a plaza and “it’s kind of hard to not pay attention to that,” Gauthier said.