VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A Vancouver city councillor is tabling a proposal today aimed at improving the safety and vibrancy of the Granville Entertainment District, including the addition of video surveillance.
The downtown strip is the epicentre of the city’s nightlife, but it is also frequently the scene of rowdy brawls and other acts of violence. Late last month, 23-year-old bar worker Kalwinder Thind was stabbed while trying to break up a street fight on Granville, and later died in the hospital.
Among the stakeholders consulted by NPA Councillor George Affleck is Curtis Robinson, a former Vancouver Police officer and chair of BarWatch. Robinson strongly supports the reactivation of CCTV cameras installed for the 2010 Olympics.
“People behave themselves better when they know they’re on camera,” he argues.
“It’s not a monitoring from Big Brother, it is… a safety measure, and if you’re that one or two per cent that are down to cause problems, to fight, then this is just another piece of evidence.”
Robinson adds that most public areas are already equipped with security cameras, including the entrances and interiors of most clubs and bars on Granville Street.
He’s also in favour of stiffening the penalties for so-called “bad actors” — banning them from bars and clubs for up to a year, and tripling the fine for fighting to $1,500.
But Robinson says the most useful change would be for TransLink to extend bus and Skytrain hours to 3:30 a.m. on the weekends.
“We’ll clear the street, take the pressure off the police, and make a huge difference from people hanging around until 5 a.m., driving drunk, or trying to wait for a cab.”
Affleck’s proposal is also aimed at improving business on Granville by cultivating more of a festival atmosphere. This could mean encouraging sidewalk patios and live music, or removing car and bus traffic.