Vancouver Sun, Page B1, 10-Aug-2000:

Protesters shut down Skytrain construction

By Kevin Griffin.

A group of about 25 east Vancouver residents angry about the Skytrain extension going through the Grandview Cut shut down the mult-billion dollar construction project early Wednesday by blocking acess by dump trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles.

Although the blockadge was over by noon, when protesters voluntarily left the site, it is unclear what will happen today; the Friends of the Grandview cut wouldn't say if they will resume their protest, and Rapid Transit Project 2000 Ltd. wouldn't say whether it will seek an injunction against further disruption of the work.

"It was a sucess in the sense that we stopped them" protest coordinator Robert Sarti said. "But they're still destroying the cut with their clearcutting. We've moved into the next phase of surprise tactics."

Janis Hanen, a homeowner who lives at McLean and East Seventh Avenue said she got involved the protest because she thinks cutting down tress and removing bushes along the Cut for Skytrain will reduce the air quality in Greater Vancouver.

She said the Grandview cut is the second largest greenspace in Vancouver next to Stanley Park. Hanen said it doesn't make sense to remove green space in east Vancouver when that side of the city has much les park land per capita than the west side of Vancouver.

Hanen and other community protesters want an in-depth public review and enviromental assessment of the project before work continues.

Teresa Watts, director of systems design for the Rapid Transit Project, said no work will occur if protesters were present. "We're not going to work where it may endanger people's lives," Watts said. She pointed out that the RTP has already engaged in extensive public consultations with area residents. However, numerous community groups have come out against SkyTrain construction in the Cut, including the Strathcona Residents Association and the Mount Pleasant Community Center Association.

more pictures from the protest below:

(photographs by Simcoe, EYA) 1
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