NoFunCity Football - why is Vancouver so tough on BC Lions fans?

Post by Mike Klassen in

17 comments

coach wally buono
Even Coach Wally Buono says, "Lower the &%$#@ parking prices!" – photo: bclions.com

It was supposed to be a joyful kick-off on a new (temporary) venue. What it became is a PR nightmare for the City of Vancouver. Longtime fans were miffed at the heavy police presence and the strict enforcement against the tailgate party tradition. Fans argued that a cold one in the parking lot with friends is something that has happened for a generation and no public disorder follows.

A day later, the City backed off – somewhat. They are now allowing tailgate parties, but absolutely no open beers. I'm sure the temptation of buying $8 beers in plastic cups inside the arena will be too hard to resist.

But it was the sticker shock felt by drivers who parked beside Empire Field – who were gouged by the City of Vancouver at $30 per vehicle – that is what is making most Lions fans roar. My advice? This is what 3-1-1 is for. Call the City and let them know, folks. Football fans don't have deep pockets to be able to afford this kind of parking price.

We've known for years that parking at stadium events is jacked up by property owners on certain days. Sure, it stinks, but people especially around BC Place and GM Place have other options. For example, they can park outside of the downtown and grab the Skytrain. No such luck at Cassiar and East Hastings though. You either bus it, walk, or drive.

There's a joke about when Lions & Canucks games are scheduled back to back on the same day. They say that Lions fans pull up in pick-up trucks, and Canucks fans roll up in a Lexus. The ticket prices for the two sports reflect the respective audiences for the two teams, and the BC Lions strongly have emphasized affordability and family fun in their marketing.

So it must really annoy fans who can get a good seat at a Lions game for about 30 bucks that they're getting stuck with a parking fee for nearly the same amount. Sure, you can car pool to offset costs, but realistically Lions fans are already probably tapped out. Tickets and concession costs should be enough.

Frankly, the City must ratchet down the cost of parking for Lions fans. Twenty dollars is still too much but more reasonable. The PNE is run by the City of Vancouver, and the man on top is King Louie, aka Coun. Raymond Louie. If you're a Lions fan who wants to take in a game at Empire Field, or even a concert goer who might catch a show there this summer, only you have the ability to get the City of Vancouver to stand down on this gouging. Dial 3-1-1 and let the City know.

Vancouver just can't seem to shake the No Fun City reputation. But clearly it's the rules the City sets and the high charges people face that are some of the reasons for Vancouver spoiling the party. If enough of us pipe up, perhaps Raymond Louie and the City will give Lions fans a break on parking prices.

As for the police presence, we all know it comes at a high cost having all those cops there on overtime. Someone must ask if there is a real benefit to having all those VPD members there or if, like the parking price, it's all a little too much.

- post by Mike

17 Comments

The City of Vancouver is willing to spend $25 million to create chaos in the downtown core for a small minority of cyclists who won't be directly contributing to this change. But are more than willing to charge "downtown market rates" for parking at the PNE. Go figure.

There are three threads in your article. The main complaint is about the high cost of parking for Lions games at the temporary stadium and I totally agree. If there were alternatives to getting there in reasonable time, then using punitive parking rates to encourage use of public mass transit would be fine. The fact is that the PNE grounds are not easy to get to and the unusual volumes created at the start and end of games will completely overwhelm the transit.

After that...you go off the rails. The police presence is completely justified by the fact that this is intended to be a family friendly event and not having the police presence to remind people to behave civily would degrade the parking and stands into an uncontrolled drunk fest. I appreciate the police being there and often have my grand son get his picture with the police who are always courteous and friendly. What better way to keep the little guy on the right track? Let him see the police as the protectors and keepers of the peace...and also that they are the good guys.

The other sob story is the tailgate party tradition. An alcohol free tail gate party would be no problem if it didn't interfer with other people trying to find valuable parking spots, didn't interfer with navigating tight corridors for vehicles trying to get by and didn't create hazzards as people wander about obliviously making it even more difficult for drivers to get their cars parked. Add to that the garbage that gets left behind. I'm sure there are many of the tailgaters who look after their area and keep things in control and neat and tidy. Unfortunately the few who don't become so disruptive that they spoil the experience for everyone. Too bad common sense isn't common and because of that, we have to make rules so people don't have to think for themselves.

So its ok for the potheads to smoke dope in front of the Art Gallery and the police do not enforce the law. Its ok for the crazy cyclists to disrupt Friday night traffic totally disregarding traffic laws and the police stand by and do nothing. But if a few fans want to enjoy a beer before the football game, they risk the full weight of the law coming down on them. Why the difference in enforcing the laws?

Your attitude is what is wrong with the nanny state - create rules that restrict the freedom of everyone instead of coming down hard on those who actually are creating the problems.

Surely you can just park in someone's driveway or yard, as per normal during the PNE, probably for a lot less then $30?

During the Olympics, TransLink was able to offer really good service to Pacific Coliseum; surely this can be managed for the handful of Lions' games, too?

At any rate, parking's worth whatever the market'll bear, so I'm not sure I have a ton of sympathy. If it's really too expensive, people will park elsewhere, take the bus, or nobody'll show and the Lions' management'll complain, and the City'll reduce their rates. Or people will pay $30 and then it's a fair price.

But no tailgating (enforced by many costly police)? That's a surefire way to have no fun and should definitely be reconsidered. What if the beer was organic and fair trade and the drumsticks came from backyard chickens?

Bill you hit the nail on the head. I was thinking the same about the potheads and cyclists who ignore helmet laws. The cops are cracking down on tailgaters but avoiding people smoking illegal substances. What gives?

"The City of Vancouver is willing to spend $25 million to create chaos in the downtown core for a small minority of cyclists who won't be directly contributing to this change."

Notwithstanding the fact that this is the most tenuous connection for an unwarranted attack on people who cycle I've seen for some time... the $25 million is for cycling route improvements all over the Metro Vancouver area.

Chris:

Interestingly enough - I was out for dinner last night with three friends, all avid cyclists; one of whom is training for their second Iron Man Competition in August, and all agreed that the new lanes on Dunsmuir made no sense. All had ideas for othr routes that were better choices and had less impact on downtown traffic.

And here is a shocker - all wear helmets!

How do you figure that's an attack on cyclists? I think it is an attack on the morons in City Hall who are wasting money on pet projects when there are much more important issues facing the city. In fact, I think it is a credit to the cyclists that such an insignificant minority can intimidate the majority into accepting such insanity.

Being a cyclist doesn't make one an expert in transportation planning. And, with all due respect to your friends, highly experienced, competitive cyclists tend not to have the best advice for creating cycling facilities that work for people of all ages and skill levels.

I could probably round up three friends who drive and like the idea of the Dunsmuir bike lanes... what would that prove?

I think it's an attack on cyclists because I can't imagine how the PNE and BC Lion's parking lot has any connection to cycling facilities. There's no logical connection between the two.

One person's 'wasting money on pet projects' is another's 'following through on a campaign promise.'

cheers,

CK

Exactly what I was thinking. Their priorities are, as always, very screwed up. Going after middle-class football fans while the DTES continues to be an unlawful, ungovernable hades on earth.

Yes Mark. While there are no cops in the downtown eastside dealing with the utter chaos that fills the streets, there will be tonnes of cops pouring out glasses of wine and beer at the upcoming tailgate party on July 10th. You can bet there will be a big police presence there and the cops will be lecturing everyone about how drinking at a football tailgate party is just terrible. Meanwhile, open pot smoking and drug injection in downtown is tolerated. This council has the wrong priorities.

Policing the event afterwards to pick up drunk drivers sounds like a good goal to me. I wasn't there so I don't know if they were doing that too, but drunk driving sounds like a much bigger hazard that could come from a sporting event than a tailgate party.

why would not the police be there when at least a couple of thousand tailgaters are getting drunk in a public park you are not allowed to drink on a public beach why are you allowed to drink in a public parking lot?

unless the pne set up a bear garden in the parking lot somewhere you are not allowed to drink there.are you allowed to walk around the pne grounds at pne time with a beer in your hand? NO

So people stop complaining about drinking in a public parking lot when it is against the law.and just enjoy the Game.with your barbecue , the sunshine and friends.

Well, the stadium is supposedly temporary.
There are only 12 Lions home games.

The East Side didn't want the stadium rebuilt in the first place. They are just getting used to quiet side streets, no fireworks, and being able to park in front of their own property.

As it is, the plans for the stadium fit in with the PNE plans to thwart the wishes of the East Side to reforest the whole damn grounds.

The PNE was only formed in 1912 to give the streetcars a destination and to promote East Side housing developments. Give it back to nature and the people around it. Narrow the wide road borders, make land bridges and replant the tarmac.

Is it time for the Township of Hastings Suburban Lands to vote to seced from Vancouver?

Actually Sam, the majority of people in the neighbourhood miss having Empire Stadium there and wish that the fundamentalists who run the the Hastings "Conservation" group would go for some therapy. They want to take a place that has been used as a fair ground and popular sports facility for 100 years and steal it from the people of Vancouver.

The PNE board may not have two clues how to treat the the people of Vancouver, but the Hastings group of nutbars Sam backs represent the very worst elements that "no-fun" city represents.

I'm at a loss sometimes when looking at what Hastings Park is becoming. The "greening" of it has caused the Fair to lose a significant amount of buildings and space that have traditionally over the past 100 years been used for Fair events.

Ever since these buildings and spaces were demolished in the late-90s, the Fair has gone completely downhill. The PNE has lost significant revenue that goes into QUALITY fair event programming, and at the same time it's also responsible for picking up the expensive annual tab of maintaining green space that NOBODY USES!!! Everything from the quantity of things to do to its quality has gone completely downhill.

Does the neighbourhood really need that much green space? (there already are parks nearby!)

Why is there such a lack of respect for one of Vancouver's oldest cultural institutions and attractions?

Personally, I would like to see a much, much...much larger PlayLand. There's a market for it today.

And if the Fair continues towards the road of even greater mediocrity, turn the other half of Hastings Park into a zoo. From the death of one of the city's great attractions, give birth to a new one. Give those poor animals out at the poorly maintained Greater Vancouver Zoo a world-class home. Relocate the zoo to a much more central location, where there will be greater criticism of the facility's handling of the former Abbotsford zoo animals and where attendance will be tenfold of the current zoo attendance. That'll give the facility a high and steady flow of revenue to improve and maintain its world-class facilities and give proper care to its animals. It could run on the Vancouver Aquarium model, and in fact it could merge as part of the Vancouver Aquarium as one zoo in two facilities...the "Vancouver Aquarium & Zoo"....running on the same model of public education and conservation.

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