Stanley Park businesses take bike lane fight to B.C. Supreme Court
Published Saturday, April 17, 2021 5:32PM PDT Last Updated Saturday, April 17, 2021 6:47PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- Two businesses located in Stanley Park are petitioning the B.C. Supreme Court to stop the return of a controversial bike lane on Stanley Park Drive.
The owners of The Teahouse Restaurant and Prospect Point filed their petition on April 8, arguing that the Vancouver Park Board's decision to close one lane of traffic on the road to create a bicycle path was "not reasonable, rational or logical."
“The Vancouver Park Board did not identify or evaluate the harms to the interests of many park users that would be negatively impacted by this lane closure before making their decision,” said Brent Davies, owner of The Teahouse, in a news release about the court filing.
The restaurant owners say the closure of Stanley Park Drive last summer caused "a devastating loss of revenue" for businesses in the park, while also creating "gridlock" in the park and eliminating "essential" parking spaces.
The road was originally closed to all traffic in April 2020 to allow more room for physical distancing among users of the park and seawall during the pandemic.
The park board opened one lane to vehicle traffic in June, while reserving the other lane for bicycles as part of a pilot project.
The temporary bike lane was taken down in September, but in March, the park board voted 5-2 in favour of reinstating it through the summer.
Park board commissioner Camil Dumont, who put forward the motion to bring back the bike lane, described the effort as part of the fight against climate change.
“The main driver of this is the realization that we have to decentre the automobile from our way of life and that’s a very difficult thing to do and it comes with lots of challenges,” said Dumont when presenting his resolution to the rest board.
The businesses argue that closing the lane to vehicle traffic will not reduce carbon emissions, saying it will make travel times longer for those who do drive to the park while encouraging those who would have driven there to simply drive their vehicles to other attractions.
They also argue that the lane closure has made the park less accessible to people with disabilities, many of whom rely on vehicles.
A petition to this effect has garnered more than 32,000 signatures as of April 17, and the restaurants suing the park board are encouraging their supporters to add their names to it.
The park board has yet to respond to the restaurants' court filing, and none of the allegations in the filing have been proven in court.