Will Cambie Street empty out again as Olympic parking restrictions scare off potential customers?
Mayor Gregor Roberston must be have felt a tad uncomfortable yesterday after one of his former NDP colleagues took a shot at the City of Vancouver regarding how it is treating Cambie Street merchants.
Jenn McGinn, NDP MLA for Vancouver Fairview (the provincial riding that used to be represented by NDP MLA Gregor Robertson) held a news conference and lambasted the City for its recently unveiled Olympic transportation plan. The plan calls for parking to be severely restricted on Cambie Street during the Olympic Games.
If you recall, it was Robertson that built his whole political career on the backs of the plight of the Cambie Street merchants. Yet when he got elected, he turned his back on these same merchants when offered the opportunity to provide them with financial compensation for their loss.
The MLA expressed deep concerns about the City's transportation plan as it relates to restricting parking on Cambie Street during the Olympics. She said that officials told local merchants:
"...just wait until the Olympics. Things are going to be great. What is happening now is they are being hit again. One business person said it's like they are rubbing salt into our wounds."
The MLA told the Vancouver Sun that merchants were not consulted by the Mayor and Council prior to the news conference last week hosted by VANOC and City Manager Penny Ballem whereby they announced the closures:
"We've been hearing from merchants all along the Cambie corridor about the Olympics transportation plan. These businesses have already been hard hit by the Canada Line construction – 50 business relocated or went under."
During the news conference announcing Cambie Street merchants would be impacted by the Olympic transportation plan, the City Manager stated:
"Our athletes have come here to compete, not to commute"
CTV news also reports that:
"Vancouver city councillor Geoff Meggs says there is bound to be frustration for residents, but there would be nothing worse for an Olympic athlete to miss an event because they were stuck in traffic."
According to City officials, Cambie Street is considered an "Olympic Corridor" and will be severely impacted through restricted parking. There is currently a civil case brought forward by one of the Cambie merchants against all three levels of government and the private entities responsible for constructing the Canada Line.