Most residents in Metro Vancouver believe the controversial approved plan to demolish the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts in downtown Vancouver will largely benefit developers at the expense of public interests.
A new survey by Insights West reveals 71 per cent of residents in the region benefit developers, including residents who support the plan.
“There is no consensus on the removal of the viaducts in Metro Vancouver,” said Mario Canseco, Vice President of Public Affairs at Insights West, in a statement. “It is important to note that even supporters of Vancouver City Council’s decision are looking at developers, and not citizens, as the clear beneficiaries of this course of action.”
Just 36 per cent of respondents supported the removal while 40 per cent are against. The remaining 23 per cent are unsure.
The Vision-dominated Vancouver City Council has long advocated that the viaducts removal will create more housing opportunities, decrease car use, create additional park space, and save money over the long-term due to reduced road maintenance costs. However, most are skeptical over the City’s claims.
Seventy per cent believe the removal will increase traffic in the area and 58 per cent think it will make it more difficult to get to B.C. Place Stadium. An overwhelming 85 per cent do not think there is a guarantee that the housing promised for the land will be affordable, which is likely true given that the City will be relying on development fees on market residential units to cover the bulk of the project costs.
When it comes to the question of exploring other options, 75 per cent of regional residents want City Council to consider the costs and benefits of other options such as rehabilitation and replacement. As well, more than two-thirds believe the estimated $200 million cost would be better spent on other municipal projects and priorities.
There are more supporters for the demolition within the City of Vancouver (45% support) and support is strongest elsewhere in the region in the suburbs (42% against). Much of the viaduct’s traffic comes from East Vancouver and suburban municipalities east of the city.
In a separate non-scientific online poll by Vancity Buzz, 62.5 per cent of respondents were against the demolition plan. The online poll conducted by this publication had over 16,300 respondents.
The demolition of the Vancouver viaducts could begin in late-2017 and be complete by 2020.