‘Totally insane’: Safety concerns raised over materials tossed from Granville Bridge

Click to play video: 'No quick fixes after debris thrown from Granville Bridge'
No quick fixes after debris thrown from Granville Bridge
WATCH: The City of Vancouver is dashing hopes a suicide prevention barrier could stop people from throwing objects off the Granville Bridge any time soon. Someone threw a piece of construction fencing off the bridge Saturday morning, smashing a glass awning on Granville Island. Grace Ke reports – Feb 26, 2024

Businesses on Vancouver’s Granville Island are raising safety concerns after a large piece of metal was thrown off the Granville Bridge early Saturday morning.

It happened around 4 a.m. when someone tossed a piece of steel that was among materials being used by crews upgrading the bridge. The metal fell onto the Granville Island improv centre, and fortunately, no one was hurt.

It’s not the first time debris has rained down on the non-profit, according to its manager.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver lawsuit claims defects from Granville Bridge rehabilitation pose danger'
Vancouver lawsuit claims defects from Granville Bridge rehabilitation pose danger

“Last spring a tool kit fell on the roof of our building,” Catherine Ballachey told Global News.

Story continues below advertisement

The improv centre isn’t alone in concerns about falling debris.

Creekhouse Industries, which operates four buildings on the island, had to remove a glass awning in front of Rogers’ Chocolate after multiple incidents in recent years.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“We’ve had to replace it three times, and finally I said no more glass, it’s going to be cloth,” Creekhouse general manager David McCann said.

“I just spent $6,800 replacing a condenser unit on the top of the building that someone threw a rock and damaged. It’s a huge cost.”

Some of the incidents involved material crumbling off the bridge itself, something McCann said the city has taken action to resolve.

The city is currently suing three companies conducting bridge work, alleging “defects” or “deficiencies” pose a “real or substantial danger” to users.

But the actions of irresponsible people are another matter.

“That’s totally insane,” McCann said.

Granville Island’s general manager said the popular tourist destination expects to see 11 million visitors this year.

He said Granville Island is in talks with the city about having fencing installed on the bridge to prevent a repeat of the issue.

Story continues below advertisement

“The risk of something happening is low, but the results could be catastrophic if there was somebody down here when something landed from off the bridge,” Tom Lancaster said.

“This is a huge issue for us.”

Click to play video: 'Vancouver’s Granville Bridge to get major upgrade'
Vancouver’s Granville Bridge to get major upgrade

The City of Vancouver estimates installing fencing on the bridge would cost between $10 million and $20 million.

The work would be a component of suicide prevention efforts on the span, along with crisis phones due to be installed next year.

However, fencing was not budgeted in the first phase of ongoing upgrades to the bridge.

The city is currently in discussions about securing funding for fencing with Vancouver Coastal Health and senior levels of government.

Story continues below advertisement

Saturday’s incident remains under investigation.

McCann, meanwhile, has a simple message for anyone who thinks tossing debris off the bridge is a good idea.

“Two words: you’re nuts,” he said.

“Please stop doing it you’re just endangering people’s lives.”

Sponsored content