So, about Vancouver’s bridges…

Are our bridges safe? Plus, will the government’s recent bill of rights actually help people?

Good morning,

Going to a concert in Vancouver is a good reminder about the city’s potential. I hadn’t been to The Commodore Ballroom in ages. It feels like Granville is on the cusp of transformation, of becoming something better than it currently is. Hopefully the revitalization plans can achieve that.

In today’s newsletter, we’re looking at whether Vancouver’s bridges are safe from ships, plus if the federal government’s bill of renters rights is actually going to help renters.

Let’s get to it!

— Geoff Sharpe, Vancity Lookout editor


Friday: 9 🌡️ 3 | 🌧️

Saturday: 11 🌡️ 3 | ☁️

Sunday: 12 🌡️ 5 | 🌤️

Monday: 12 🌡️ 6 | 🌤️


So, about Vancouver’s bridges…

By now you’ve probably seen the video now of the ferry hitting the bridge in Baltimore. Now, it’s got people wondering, just how safe are bridges in other cities? With so many in Vancouver, is the city at risk of a similar situation?

Key spots: Here in Vancouver, there are multiple bridges in and around the city. The two biggest and most important, from the standpoint of potential impact if they were to be damaged, are the Lions Gate and Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.

Breaking it down: Well, maybe breaking is the wrong word to use… But that’s basically what would happen — the Lions Gate and Memorial bridges would not survive a direct impact on their support piers, according to Global News. The Port of Vancouver would no longer be able to be serviced, nor would cruise ships be able to travel through the area. One, or both of these bridges being knocked down would have huge economic impacts for the North Shore and communities along the Sea to Sky Highway. 

The numbers: The Vancouver Harbour sees around 250 large commercial ships per month travel through the area, with over $300 billion worth of goods travelling through the Port of Vancouver facilities. Last year 239 cruise ships docked in Vancouver, according to Urbanized. 

  • Ships travelling near the bridges are required to limit their speed, and have certain time periods they can enter and exit based on tidal periods. Large ships are not allowed in False Creek, so those bridges are not in much danger. 

Looking ahead: The good news is that the province is in the midst of addressing these vulnerabilities with barriers to protect the piers. The idea would be for ships to run aground on rock berms before hitting the supporting piers, according to Global. 

  • These types of barriers are going to be especially important since the tanker traffic underneath the Ironworkers memorial bridge will double once oil begins to flow from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in the coming months, according to the Vancouver Sun.

Yes, but: As noted by Urbanized after reaching out to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, there is no timeline for the proposed work. 

Replacement? The provincial government started a study to look at possibly replacing the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, though there are still decades of years left on its lifespan.

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🏒 109: The number of years since Vancouver won the Stanley Cup. The last time was the Vancouver Millionaires who won it in 1915 at the Denman Area. [CityNew]

🍺 6.9%: The decline in BC’s food service and drinking industry in January compared to December, which experts say is because of BC’s high cost of living. [Business in Vancouver]

🏠 $7 million: No that’s not the price of this home, it’s the drop in price, from an original listing of $26.8 million down to $19.8 million. The place is located in Shaughnessy. [Vancouver is Awesome]

🧑‍🚒 $31,000: How much the Parkland refinery in Burnaby is paying to cover the firefighting costs of the incident that caused that bad smell earlier this year. [CTV]

🚢 $490 million: How much North Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards will get to build multi-purpose vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard. [CityNews]


Breaking down the renters’ bill of rights

What happened: The federal government is promising to enact a “renters bill of rights” and other measures to help people who don’t own their homes get ahead. The announcement comes as part of a tour of pre-budget announcements ahead of the tabling of the federal fiscal plan next month.

The plan comes in three main prongs

  • A $15-million fund to support legal aid for tenants, and tenant rights’ groups.

  • The proposed bill of rights would require landlords to disclose what they charged previous tenants; “crack down on renovictions” (where a landlord forces out current tenants to make upgrades and allow them to charge higher rent); and create a national standard lease agreement.

  • Asking banks to consider rent payment history as part of credit scores aimed at renters looking to buy their first home.

The problem of provinces: Much of what the federal government is proposing requires buy-in and cooperation from the provinces. One housing advocate from Quebec told CTV he expected any implementation to be a “battle” and wasn’t sure what is being proposed is even within federal jurisdiction. Likewise, the government is asking banks — not mandating — to take rental payments into account when deciding whether someone qualifies for a mortgage.

  • As we’ve seen with the difficult and uneven roll out of the subsidized daycare program, there’s a lot that can go wrong when multiple levels of government — often with different political constituencies — are pushed into running a program by the feds. The federal government has vast ability to spend money, but the on-the-ground-work is left to others to sort out.

Unintended consequences: While rent counting toward a credit score could have positive effects for some renters, those who fall behind on rent could find themselves facing further financial obstacles. 

In Vancouver: If this policy were to have teeth, it would be a big deal for a city like Vancouver and Metro Vancouver. The region has the infamous title as the eviction capital of Canada, with the highest rate of evictions in the country at 10.5 percent from 2013 to 2018, compared to Greater Toronto at 5.8 percent, according to CBC. BC more widely has serious problems, with the highest rate of no-fault evictions, where the landlord renovates, tears down or take up living in a unit.


🏠 Could it soon be a little cheaper to buy a home? A settlement in the US is changing how real estate commissions function and it could impact Canada as well. The successful lawsuit alleged prices were inflated due to collusion. A class action lawsuit in Canada is in the early stages, and has not yet been certified by the courts. [Vancouver Sun]

💊 Community members are alleging that pharmacies in the Downtown Eastside are participating in kickback schemes, where patients prescribed drugs receive a payment from the share of money that the pharmacy receives from BC’s PharmaCare program. It’s quite lucrative — a patient with a daily fee for refills, with pharmacies billing back over $1,000 a month for each patient. [CBC]

👮 Police a recommending a charge of indecent exposure for a man who was spotted masturbating near an East Vancouver school playground on Wednesday. The man is known to police and has had many interactions with them. [CTV]

🚍 TransLink will be raising fares by five to ten cents in July as part of their plan to deal with bus overcrowding, but they say it is only a short-term solution to the problem. [CTV]

⚠️ A drug alert was issued on Wednesday by Vancouver Coastal Health about counterfeit hydromorphone tablets circulating that contain synthetic opioids, with a potential danger for overdoses. The drugs cannot be detected by fentanyl test strips. [CityNews]

🧒 As part of the Liberal's pre-budget announcements, the federal government will provide an additional $1 billion in loans and grants to childcare providers, to increase the number of spaces and keep costs low, focusing on non-profit and public childcare spaces. [Vancouver Sun]

🏒The Canucks have put starting goalie Thatcher Demko on the long-term injury list. But don’t stress too much, his injury situation is still the same, it was done just for salary cap relief. He could be back as early as April 6. [CTV]


Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival | Throughout Vancouver | Now until April 25 | There are numerous events across the city in celebration of the cherry blossoms | Learn more

Easter Events at Vancouver Community Centres | Various locations | Check your local community centre for events times and dates, most are doing something!

Dusk Pro Wrestling — Adoration | BMO Theatre Centre | March 29, 6:30 pm | Come see a kickass night of pro wrestling | Tickets $22

Hello Spring Art Fair & Egg Hunt | Pacific Arts Market | March 30, 1 pm-5 pm | Discover unique art and crafts, along with an Easter egg hunt for kids | Tickets free

9th Annual Big Easter Run | Jericho Beach | March 30, 12 pm | Come by with your kids, includes 5 km, 10 km and 1 km-3 km runs | Register

The Big Picnic | David Lam Park | March 30, 9:30 am-4 pm | Come picnic and celebrate the start of spring with a big picnic, events, origami and more | Free

Napoleon Dynamite | Rio Theatre | March 30, 9:30 pm | The cult classic returns this weekend, if you remember, you remember it! | Tickets $12

Easter Egg Hunt | Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden | March 31, 11 am | Come by for a magic show and the easter egg hunt, for children 12 and under | Tickets $7

Juice Bar Wine Fair and Opening Par | The American | March 31, 2 pm-12 am | Come try wines from around the globe | Tickets $25-$40

BC Distilled | Italian Cultural Centre | April 13, 6 pm | The main festival event, come try some drinks and sample delicious food, plus many other events | Tickets $180

The Science of Cocktails | Science World | April 11, 8 pm | More than 30 cocktail creations organized by local chefs | Tickets $185


Sometimes it’s good to be reminded how great the city is!

  • Rabbits may be cute, but the ones near Jericho Beach are feral and you should not pet them! [CTV]

  • Elevate your wine game with Third Place Wine, a tailored newsletter for wine enthusiasts. Discover your new favorite wine today — sign up for free! [Sponsored]

  • Parking meter prices vary substantially throughout Vancouver. Here’s where you can find the cheapest. [Vancouver is Awesome]

  • Get out those umbrellas because it’s going to be a rainy weekend! [Vancouver is Awesome]

  • This is a fun Reddit thread on the weirdest places people have visited in Metro Vancouver. Top spots include Lougheed Underground Village and Kingsgate Mall. [Reddit]

  • If you’re looking for different baked goods then just croissants, then be sure to visit Kozak Ukrainian Restaurant Cafe in Gastown.

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Learn how here.


Congrats to Wes, Barry, Karis, Jacquie, Anna, Bev, Deborah, Karen and Tessa who all guessed the correct answer to yesterday’s Vancouver Guesser was Boundary and Hastings.

Today’s Vancouver Wordle might be a little easy… But that shouldn't stop you from playing. You can guess it here.

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