After outcry, a protest and dozens of speakers at Monday night’s meeting, the Vancouver Park Board has sent the proposal for a new bike path through Kitsilano Beach Park back to city staff.
Commissioners said the proposal, which calls for a three-metre-wide paved path that would cut through sections of green space in the park, was not clear enough about whether paving that green space was the best route to take.
LISTEN: After all the fuss, there is no decision
“We felt there were too many unanswered questions, and that the public deserves more information,” board commissioner Sarah Kirby-Yung said.
“Commissioners were being asked to approve a conceptual alignment for a bike path, but without a clear recommendation from staff whether it was actually going to go through Kits Beach Park, or it was going to go on Arbutus Street. And that’s a pretty significant point.”
The staff recommendation, which was supported by HUB Cycling, proposed cutting through the park at two key points: near the tennis courts and the Boathouse Restaurant at Cornwall and Arbutus, and through a tree grove to the north, just off of Ogden and McNicoll Avenues.
The proposal has been met with heavy resistance from Kitsilano residents, who held a rally outside the board’s offices ahead of the meeting, where many of those protesters voiced their opposition.
Organizers of the protest say they’re relieved, even though they know the fight isn’t over yet.
“[I’m] totally happy, it’s fair,” Howard Kelsey, co-chair of the Kitsilano Beach Coalition, said of the decision, adding he’s worried the city will ultimately put requests from the cycling community above all other considerations.
“There’s no final decision, but what was being skewed in that meeting was an attempt to drive the [cycling] agenda to get this pushed through.”
WATCH BELOW: Jordan Armstrong previews Monday night’s protest and Park Board meeting on Global News Morning.
Kirby-Yung says that’s exactly what the park board wants to avoid.
“You know, we don’t want to rush into these things,” she said. “Kits Beach Park is one of the most popular, and most highly visited and beloved parks in the city.”
“It’s too important to take that park for granted, and not have more information,” Kirby-Yung added.
A date for staff to come back with a revised proposal has not been set.
—With files from Jon Hall and Catherine Urquhart
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