Pieces of rusted metal are falling from the Granville Street Bridge above, and the city needs to step up repairs, according to a Granville Island business owner.
David McCann, general manager of the four-building Creekhouse Industries complex on the island, said he found a chunk of metal last week in the courtyard outside the popular Sandbar Seafood Restaurant.
He also found close to a dozen other pieces on the restaurant’s roof in recent days. Another was found earlier this week.
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“You’re talking 40, 50 feet in the air. If a sharp piece of metal comes down from there, it could kill you,” he said. “I just don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”
McCann said he’s reported falling bridge debris to the city at least once per year over the past six years.
The scariest instance came when a large piece of the bridge hit the roof of the Sandbar in September 2014. Another large piece smashed a visitor’s car windshield in May of that year.
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In each of those cases, the City of Vancouver dispatched crews to the bridge to perform preventative maintenance.
McCann said the city needs to make those repairs a priority, scheduled on the regular.
In a statement to Global News, the city said it sent a crew to the bridge that “identified some minor surface rust” on Wednesday.
The rust was removed and recoated with primer.
Officials at Granville Island have not reported any falling debris, the city added.
“The public’s safety is of utmost importance, and a priority for the city is to maintain the essential infrastructure we all depend on daily,” the city said.
“Staff would like to assure the public that the structural integrity of Granville Bridge remains safe.”
The city said it cannot confirm whether the pieces McCann collected came from the bridge, saying he kept the materials so they can’t be analyzed.
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The city’s scaling work on the bridge shows that more maintenance is needed, McCann said.
“The ground was just littered with pieces, and they had bucketloads on the gantry they had here,” he said.
“But I’m not sure they finished. I look up there and I still see lots of loose, rusted steel.”
The city is currently performing structural and seismic upgrades on the bridge, which is expected to last until 2021.
Until preventative maintenance becomes a common sight at the bridge, McCann is hoping larger pieces don’t start falling on the island.
“This is such a fun place to be, and for something like that to happen would be terrible,” he said. “There’s something seriously wrong when stuff like that falls off a bridge.”
—With files from Sarah MacDonald