News Local

Campaign to preserve Gastown cobblestone road

By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver

A patch of concrete covers the cobblestone street at an intersection in historic Gastown Wednesday. Gastown, one of Vancouver's oldest districts, may lose its historic cobblestone-paved streets.  (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)

A patch of concrete covers the cobblestone street at an intersection in historic Gastown Wednesday. Gastown, one of Vancouver's oldest districts, may lose its historic cobblestone-paved streets. (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)

The prospect of losing one of Gastown's signature features doesn't sit well with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, as the cobblestones lining Water Street near the end of their life span.

"I'm definitely concerned about the character of Gastown," Robertson told reporters Wednesday.

The cobblestones were last replaced more than a decade ago, but as many as 13,000 cars pass over the brick streets each day leading to inevitable wear and tear.

"Water Street was never designed and never meant to be a freeway," said Leanore Sali, executive director of the Gastown Business Improvement Society.

Her organization has been engaged in early talks with the city about finding a long-term solution to fixing the increasingly bumpy roads while preserving the district's distinct cobblestone esthetic.

"It's who we are. It's part of the character of the neighbourhood," she said, adding covering the roads with asphalt or concrete is out of the question.

Peter Judd, the city's chief engineer, said one of the possible solutions is changing traffic patterns in the area to reduce the number of vehicles passing through.

He emphasized whatever decision the city arrives at will be made in consultation with the GBIS to "make sure it fits their needs as well as the city's."


Email: tyler.orton@sunmedia.ca