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Carmanah's Profile Photo

The changing face of Steveston

by Carmanah Online Now Nov 9, 2006 at 12:21 PM

I just discovered that the south-west corner of Moncton Street and No 1 Rd in Steveston village is slated for demolition in a few months. This is the block with British Home, the Diplomat Bakery, Steveston Barber, etc.

What for?

For more condos. Mind you, they'll have stores on the lower floors, but it will no doubt start a trend that the rest of Steveston village will likely undergo.

Any thoughts?

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6 Answers
  • spitball's Profile Photo

    RE: The changing face of Steveston

    by spitball Online Now Nov 9, 2006 at 1:56 PM

    Hmmmn, well we can't stop "progress"; remember Expo 86, when many East-end hotel tenants were displaced? 2010 is causing many changes around here, what to do, what to do? We can either fight it (hopeless) or leave it.

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  • Carmanah's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: The changing face of Steveston

    by Carmanah Online Now Nov 9, 2006 at 2:09 PM

    I wouldn't call it hopeless. Unlikely, sure, but hopeless? Not really.

    But is it truly progress? I think a lot of people are still stuck un really old fashioned ideas of progress. A lot of people's idea of progress isn't really progressive at all.

    I'm taking these courses on social history, and I'm at a point in two of my courses where we're looking at the social effects of the industrial revolution, and this idea of "progress", and that nothing should stand in its way. Railroads, mines, factories, all in the name of progress. At least this was the popular discourse at the time.

    I've always figured that in our contemporary times that our views on progress have evolved, and that progress no longer means paving agriculture and parkland for shopping centres and suburbia. Yet, the reality is that people are still entrenched in these views of progress. It's actually quite astounding, and perhaps, not very surprising.

    My sister and I had a conversation the other week about a situation in Richmond. They demolished a forested campground, a river estuary and a public community garden to develop the 2010 Winter Olympics skating oval. Originally this skating oval was to be built at SFU where it would be used by the sports teams of that campus - a campus that currently lacks those types of facilities. But instead, Richmond counsellors bought the rights to build it on top of a plot of land overlooking the river. The problem is, they're literally building it on the river, on top of a make-shift land jetty which, according to surveyors, won't ever settle properly due to the nature of the land's instability. As a result, the skating oval's foundations are already predicted to shift in such ways that it will need continual renovations and construction (putting the budget way over what it had ever been intended - but that's not my point). And Richmond already has skating ovals.

    But my sister asked a question. Is destroying the river estuary and a public community garden really progress? Is it? Progressive Construction Co, the company building the oval believes so. So do most people.

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  • Carmanah's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: The changing face of Steveston

    by Carmanah Online Now Nov 9, 2006 at 2:12 PM

    ... I also think there's a limit. When development starts to take away the very aspects of what made a place attractive, I think it's worth fighting for.

    Look at Chinatown and Commercial Drive. They were slated to be demolished in the name of progress (ie: a highway). The neighbourhoods pulled together, fought, and won.

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  • spitball's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: The changing face of Steveston

    by spitball Online Now Nov 9, 2006 at 2:55 PM

    Robyn, I was actually not completely serious with my remark. I'm in agreement with you, change is sometimes hard. And when we witness what are perfectly solid, classic buildings falling in the name of, well it makes me scratch my head. As far as park-land, that's always a ***-off. I've seen so many go, it would make your head spin.

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  • aqazi's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: The changing face of Steveston

    by aqazi Online Now Dec 12, 2006 at 9:37 PM

    Well I'm boycotting the Starbucks much to the dissapointment of the mrs. The British Store is ace, where else can you get pork pies and cornish pasties. I was in the bakery at the w/e too. I heard something about a public consultation that was supposed to take place this week but I think this was for the patch of land on the water front which Onni own.

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  • steveston78's Profile Photo

    Re: The changing face of Steveston

    by steveston78 Online Now May 25, 2007 at 4:56 PM

    I was recently involved in something called a "design charrette" put together by the City, intended to define "Steveston's built heritage", and determine ways to save it. What came out of it was that many of the buildings which determine the 'heritage' of Steveston are not really "heritage buildings" in the traditional sense. For example, the block at No. 1 and Moncton, with British Home and Steveston Barbers, is a late-1950s/early 1960s concrete block building; with little intrinsic heritage value. People may feel sad about the British Home or the barbershop, but I can remember when Joe Shiho had the Fraser Mart at the very spot the British Home is today! One could be more nostalgic about the fact that in the 1960s there were 3 Japanese grocery stores in Steveston, and now there are none! In the case of No. 1 & Moncton, it's not necessarily the building structure which creates the heritage, but the small, independent shops owned by locals. I'm heartened to hear that Ian (Steveston Barbers) has found a new location within the village for his shop, so at least I won't have to travel far to get my hair cut (in fact, it's even closer to my house).

    The question becomes: how do you define heritage, and how do you encourage private property owners (who, by definition, have the right to redevelop their land)to retain buildings with heritage character (like the Cannery Cafe, aka River Radio aka the Lighthouse Cannery's cookhouse). Density transfers and property tax relief are two great ways; which I believe are being considered by Richmond as ways to ensure that Steveston's heritage is retained.

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