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Business owners in Vancouver’s Yaletown rally against planned parking changes

Business owners in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood gathered on Thursday to voice their concerns over the elimination of parking stalls.

The City of Vancouver plans to eliminate dozens of prime parking spots in the area, in a move to improve emergency access for firefighters, and it held consultations with locals about the proposed changes at the same time as the rally.

Owner of The Greek restaurant, Daniel Bergman, says “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

READ MORE: Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood losing nearly 100 parking spaces to make room for emergency vehicles

“I want to thank the city for bringing us in here, I also think they were ill planned, they didn’t have any alternatives, they were basically just sponging all the complaints with absolutely no responses other than their plan,” Bergman said.

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“They should have come in with ‘this is our plan’ but, however, we’re going to benefit you in this way. They brought some cute drawings, but frankly it’s not going to appease anybody here.”

He says this move by the city is going to drive business away from them.

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Ivo Staiano says he just opened his new restaurant Meet in Yaletown on Thursday, but purchased the location on Hamilton St. right before the city announced that it’ll be eliminating parking.

He says although members of the fire department were at the consultation, he has more questions for the city.

“A lot of what I saw was… it was being deferred to ‘well we were told this is the reason why and this is why we have to do it,’ as opposed to answering pointed questions,” he said.

Staiano says had he known that this parking situation was going to happen, he would have thought twice about moving his business there.

But Captain Jonathan Gormick with Vancouver Fire and Rescue says consultations are progressing, and they’ve had numerous meetings with the Yaletown Business Improvement Association.

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He says the department has worked with the city around the decision.

“We identified the problem, the better part of two years ago, and we’re confident that the engineers have gone through every iteration of what parking would work, what couldn’t,” said Gormick.

“This certainly wasn’t the first solution that was identified and obviously the city doesn’t want to lose a large number of high-revenue generating parking spaces, but after looking at all the options, this is the one that works. This is the one that gets us the space we need and still retains some of the parking.”

Gormick says if nothing is done, it would only be a matter of time before they have a tragic loss of life or property because emergency response workers can’t access the area.

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