Pothole as Icon

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No, Norquay does not have a particular pothole problem. But the pothole serves as a perfect icon to rebut City of Vancouver claims to have delivered “amenity” to Norquay.

     Certified Genuine Norquay Pothole

Would any reasonable person attempt to make a case that filling a pothole amounts to providing special benefit to a mass-rezoned neighborhood? No. Pothole repair is a simple case of ordinary upkeep. A service that should be taken for granted.

Yet City of Vancouver staff persist in trying to rebrand routine maintenance as special favor shown to Norquay for enduring a widely unwanted mass rezoning — the second in an ever-lengthening series of “planning” assaults that almost always target East Vancouver.

Here stand three hollow icons with feet of clay.

One —  Norquay Park Renewal Completed in 2011

The whole story was told two years ago as a case study in misrepresentation. Like so many Vancouver parks, Norquay Park exists today because of boggy land that formed the headwaters of Still Creek. Land that seemed unusable for anything else. Today the built-on land to the west shows severe instability. To keep it brief, Norquay Park was long overdue for upkeep, and would have seen much less improvement without a happenstance federal grant spun out by the 2008 Great Recession.

Two —  Improvements to Kingsway Completed in 2012

This detailed story has also been told as the first of a series of accountings. All that needs to be repeated here is that the whole stretch of Kingsway was sadly overdue for ordinary fix-ups, especially replacement of

         Sidewalks like a used minefield lying in wait to take out unwary pedestrians
         Roadway pavement rutted by heavy vehicles into streambeds perfect for
           wet-season hydroplaning

The kicker is that sections of Kingsway where mass rezoning has not occurred received the same upgrade …

Three —  Clarendon Connector Completing in 2014

Even as recently as early 2013 it seemed dubious that the Clarendon connector would be anything more than one of those items whose failed delivery will allow City of Vancouver to trot out a new promise for the same old thing.

What is the “Clarendon connector”? In a nutshell, remediation of some ancient planner slip-up when the street grid was laid out for the Norquay area of East Vancouver. Fixing a stupid mistake should never be called a “benefit.”

Even current “completion” of the Clarendon connector has failed to include the plan-identified need for sidewalk on the north side of East 33rd Avenue running westward. It seems City of Vancouver always has to cheap out on some detail just to remind East Vancouver how poor it is.

Bottom line? Norquay residents appreciate these improvements, no question. But they do not appreciate the effrontery that would try to pass off routine (and overdue) maintenance as anything special.


One — and only one — apparent special “extra” has come Norquay’s way since mass rezoning, and that deserves recognition, if only as footnote to this exercise of demythologizing Norquay’s supposed benefits. A new pedestrian crossing for Kingsway at Wales was not listed in the report for the Skyway Towers development now underway at 2711 Kingsway:

CD-1 Rezoning: 2667-2703 Kingsway — City of Vancouver, Policy Report, Development and Building

Only this crossing, which has also been delivered:

4 b.  Provision of a pedestrian-actuated signal at the intersection of Kingsway and
Rhodes Street with the developer paying 100% of the cost, to a maximum of
$300,000 (2011 dollars)  (Appendix B, page 6)

It is not clear where the additional crossing came from, or how it was paid for, but it has been noticed and appreciated.

Even more appreciated would be a similar crossing for Nanaimo Street at East 27th Avenue to serve all those Norquay residents who face death every time they walk to Nanaimo SkyTrain station. Back when, we were told our neighborhood would become more walkable. But Nanaimo Street remains a downhill racetrack through Norquay.


Written by eyeonnorquay

28 June 2014 at 5:57 pm

Posted in Assessments

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