Arash Memarzadeh feels that the council just doesn’t understand the reality of Deep Cove. “To me it sucks to live here. We don’t feel like we have any ownership in the place where my parents raised three boys.”
A year after the District of North Vancouver brought in new rules to control the volume of visitor traffic into Deep Cove, some businesses feel as if little has changed. New parking restrictions and a ban on commercial tour busses were supposed to rein in the crowds that visit Deep Cove and Quarry Rock on sunny summer weekends but there is doubt how effective the changes were.
As the sunny weather arrives, the district says that only minor changes are planned for 2019, and that they can’t provide data to measure the effectiveness of last year’s changes.
Memarzadeh, who is part of the family-owned ‘Pomegranate Grillhouse & Cafe’, complains, “In the summer, you don’t have any personal connection with customers. Local residents just say ‘I’ll see you in September’.” Memarzadeh says that a cafe where friends and neighbours used to hang out is now overwhelmed by visitors. “I wish someone would propose a big solution so that people here can get back their quality of life,” he says.
Memarzadeh is especially frustrated by the lack of law enforcement in Deep Cove. He feels that the RCMP have little interest in dealing with local issues, and believes that the district has failed to provide people on the ground to enforce parking and other rules. “I’ve had three tour buses come all the way down here during spring break. What good is a ban on busses if no one enforces it?”
He points out his door to the corner of Gallant Avenue and Panorama Drive as a particular problem. “One day one of the kids who’s living here is going to be hit by some idiot in a sports car speeding through the four-way stop.”
Kristina Egyed agrees that “young men in speedy cars” are a problem, and asks why the RCMP and the district don’t seem to have people managing traffic at the Panorama intersection.
After twenty years, she says, her business ‘LaLa’s in the Cove’ is “definitely missing our local customers”. She says that changing LaLa’s into a tourist-focused business would be difficult because they have always been very locally oriented. With both customers and suppliers drawn from the Lower Mainland, she feels that it’s important to keep dollars local.
Egyed feels that Deep Cove is not getting the level of support that it needs to handle the rise in tourist numbers. “The district doesn’t realize what a jewel they have here,” she says. She sees Deep Cove as a beautiful place, but not just for people who live here. “We’re not a village any more; we’re an international destination.”
When asked about the impact of the district’s changes in 2018, she says, “I don’t feel much change. It’s the cars that are the issue, not busses, and the congestion that we’re seeing is creating an unsafe environment.” She says Deep Cove needs transportation options and probably a limit on the number of cars that are allowed. “If we can limit the number of people hiking up Quarry Rock, why can’t we limit cars?”
Ellena Hung works across the street at ‘Paper Label’ clothing boutique. She agrees that local residents are avoiding Deep Cove. “I get locals in here all the time that say ‘I didn’t know you were here because I don’t come here any more’.” Hung commutes to work from Mt. Pleasant in Vancouver, and says that you really do need to drive if you work in Deep Cove because transit would take too long.
The lack of alternatives is why it seems that everyone drives to Deep Cove, and Hung feels that only residents within easy walking distance shop there during the summer. Hung still believes that Deep Cove is a place for local people to shop, just not on weekends. Her message to them: “Come down on Tuesday and Wednesday when the crowds aren’t here. There’s lots of parking, and it’s easy to shop.”
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