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Moncton Street closures still under discussion

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 4:06 PDT, Wed July 22, 2020

Steveston’s summer popularity poses a challenge to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements. And after multiple discussions on potential street closures, Richmond city councillors again debated closing Moncton Street at Monday’s general purposes committee meeting.

One of the factors discussed was the merchant response to proposed closures. City staff surveyed all 102 businesses fronting Bayview and Moncton streets last week to ask how they felt about extending closures beyond the BC Day long weekend. Forty-three per cent of the the 82 merchants who replied back were in favour of extending the road changes, but 49 per cent were opposed. 

“I was disappointed, but it didn’t surprise me,” said Coun. Bill McNulty of the survey results.

Further discussion ensued on a compromised plan which would see Moncton Street open only to eastbound vehicle traffic, increasing space for physical distancing while allowing for on-street parallel parking on the north side of the street. Bayview Street would be open to westbound vehicle traffic.

While most councillors were satisfied with this plan, Coun. Kelly Greene felt it was a letdown.

“Those roads don’t belong to the businesses, they actually belong to the whole city. While we do want to consider (the businesses), get their feedback and mitigate any issues, we also want to know that we are looking after everybody,” she said.

“We’re in a pandemic. The whole reason we’re talking about this is because we need to give people space, and we need to give them space all the time.”

Coun. Greene was a vocal supporter of continuing the BC Day closures in order to provide the maximum possible space for pedestrians to physically distance.

“People have things that they’re doing, and they’re not all going to go in the direction that you tell them to go,” she says. “You need to have room on both sides of the road because there are businesses and things to do on both sides of the road, not just one.”

Greene was the only councillor opposed to the motion at this week’s committee meeting. The issue will come before council Monday for a final vote, and if passed, the restrictions will be implemented from Aug. 4 until Labour Day.

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