For anyone strolling by Davie and Bidwell this past Sunday night, the sight of the hoarding toppled over onto the sidewalk that had both masked the demolition taking place within, while advertising Millennium’s latest project since the Olympic Village debacle here at 1215 Bidwell, must have come as a shock.
Some suggest this city needs to improve its standards of public safety and comfort (substantially) when it comes to creating the least amount of disruption during demolition and construction in existing neighbourhoods. Take for example the daily seismic tremors for a month and a half that were felt for blocks around the demolition of St. John’s Church at 1401 Comox this past summer. That was due to the demolition company removing re-bar from concrete on site in the middle of a dense West End residential neighbourhood, rather than hauling it away to deal with it in a less disruptive location, despite numerous complaints to city councillors.
Meanwhile others are nodding to Maxine’s ghost, who can’t be happy to have been renovicted out of the West End as her newly demolished building at 1215 Bidwell leaves only the façade as some bizarre superficial homage to heritage. Now homeless, it would seem a fitting expression of her dissatisfaction for the gutting of her former place of business, that on the preceding night, the hoarding succumbed to the blustery wind, and the injustice felt by this spirit laid bare for all too see.
Or the city’s building department could try setting appropriate standards for demolition work. We are three weeks from the next civic election and Vision Vancouver, who’s largest donors are our city’s land developers, have been campaigning on a platform of “safer, more livable neighbourhoods”. They could start with the basics. As the incumbent party holding a majority on council during which rezoning uncertainty at multiple sites and much disruption and antagonism in the West End was defined during their term on council, it’s difficult to know practically what that could possibly mean.