Category: Laneways


West End Green Way Project Needs Volunteers

image by Shannon Kavanaugh from Community Studio.

Green Way Project ready to start this Saturday July 10 at 10 am.

Behind King George Secondary School and the West End Community Centre, a concrete pedestrian walkway runs between a sports field and tennis courts. The athletic spaces are used daily, and the walkway is well-trodden. Right now, the walkway is a corridor bordered by scrawny grass.

Volunteer for this grass roots community project to transform this tied missed used space into a beautiful community art project. Transform public space and yourself, make friends have fun.

Contact: Glen Andersen and Mosaic Planet
604 710 7421

Message from the Artist of the Project Glen Andersen: Continue reading

What makes the West End great? May 29, 1 pm, Landmark Hotel

“Planning for Change – What Makes the West End Great?”
Presented by West End Residents Association (WERA)
1-3 pm at the Empire Landmark Hotel, 1400 Robson St.

The West End is a wonderful place to live. But what makes it so great? What can we, as residents, do to ensure a livable future for the neighbourhood in the midst of change?

This interactive forum will explore intersections and tensions between affordability, sustainability, and livability in the West End, with a focus on optimizing change and encouraging progressive, inclusive dialogue on the community’s future.

Join us!

This forum is the continuation of WERA’s campaign for community-based planning and a comprehensive community vision for the West End. It will include a planning workshop for residents and a presentation by Brent Toderian, Director of Planning City of Vancouver.

WERA garden plot a finalist in national garden contest

A plot in the Mole Hill Community Garden (which was built and jointly managed by the West End Residents Association) is a finalist in the “David Suzuki Digs My Garden” organic garden contest. The plot belongs to former WERA directors Terry and Sharon.

The Mole Hill Community Garden was created in the winter of 2001-2002 by volunteers from WERA and the Mole Hill Community Housing Society. It consists of more than 60 3×6 feet plots in the Mole Hill laneway, occupying land reclaimed from parking spaces.

Terry and Sharon’s  plot is entry 6D in the “Starting Over” category. If it wins, the publicity for the Mole Hill Community Garden and for activists reclaiming streets for green spaces would be great.

You can enter the contest here

WERA Speaks Out About Dumpsters and Laneways

The following letter was sent to the Vancouver Courier in response to the article last week regarding dumpsters and laneways:

Editor, the Courier:

Re “Davie Village BIA Sick of Getting Dumpstered On”, Dec. 8.

The West End Residents Association agrees that we need to make our laneways more pleasant and livable and we would welcome a discussion with the City of Vancouver and the Davie Village Business Improvement Association on this issue. However, we believe that merely removing dumpsters and replacing them with pick-up of garbage bags without other measures would not be the best solution.

First of all, to blame garbage problems on binners is over-simplistic. Binners wouldn't exist if we as a society didn't throw away materials that should be recycled or re-used. If we remove the dumpsters and replace them with garbage bags, we will be increasing the amount of material that goes into landfills, unless an alternative way to encourage recycling and re-using is put into place. Binners provide a valuable social service by taking materials out of the landfill. Somehow, if dumpsters are removed, a way must be found to continue this service.

At the very least, a way to put out returnable bottles for pickup by binners (in a way that doesn't put their health and safety at risk and that puts pedestrian friendly uses of laneways as a priority) and a West End bottle recycling depot would be needed.

Second, if we are removing dumpsters merely to provide more parking spaces and easier access for deliveries, as the article states, then we won't have achieved much. Currently, West End laneways are used by automobiles trying to circumvent traffic calming measures. Removing the dumpsters without countervailing traffic calming in the laneways will just make it easier for cars to use our neighbourhood as a shortcut between the bridges and downtown.

Third, currently garbage and recycling pickup in the West End and downtown is uncoordinated and carried out by a number of different private companies operating on different schedules. If we institute multiple pick-ups of garbage bags without rationalizing this hodgepodge of a system, we will be decreasing our quality of life through increased vehicular traffic and air and noise pollution and making our laneways even less inviting for alternate uses. We need to repurpose our laneways as pedestrian-friendly environs. Outdoor cafes, community gardens, shade trees, benches are all possibilities.

For an example of what our West End laneways could become, just take a look at the Mole Hill laneway between Bute and Thurlow. A collaboration between the community, the Mole Hill Community Housing Society, the West End Residents Association, the City of Vancouver and others, it is a peaceful, green, laneway where children at play, community gardeners and service vehicles all peacefully coexist.

Terry Lavender
Director, West End Residents Association

Mole Hill lane closure from Thurlow to be made permanent

We've learned from City engineer Jim Hall that the temporary closure of traffic from Thurlow onto the Mole Hill laneway will be made permanent.

Jim has been instructed to come up with plans and budget for a permanent boulevard-like design to replace the current temporary structure. He has asked the Mole Hill Community Housing Society for its input on design and planting for the boulevard.

The current temporary structure that restricts traffic from Thurlow onto the Mole Hill laneway.

Mole Hill Lane diverter installed


The diverter on the east side of the Mole Hill laneway was installed this afternoon and seems to be working fine. Though the current diverter will be replaced by a new one in a couple of weeks (apparently it is a little shorter than it should be), it already is doing its job. According to one observer, not one vehicle has tried to get past it this afternoon.

Thanks to all those who worked to get the laneway blocked, and to City council for supporting the diverter.